The State Of The Union Is... Dumber

Tyler Durden's picture

Since James Madison's 1815 Address, the 'linguistic standard' of the State of the Union speech has plunged. As The Guardian notes, the lowest on record was George H.W. Bush's 1992 address - only just beating Obama's 2011 address for 'dumbest' speech ever. Whether this is representative of the American people as a whole or the lowest common denominator is unclear but one thing in this evening's speech comes to mind; if you were the President, would you invite, as your personal guest, a CEO who 1) has overseen massive wealth destruction in the last six months, 2) refuses to spend his massive cash hoard in the USA, and 3) outsources his manufacturing to china? Dumb and dumber indeed...


Using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test the Guardian has tracked the reading level of every state of the union


and the Top 20 (or Bottom 20 we guess) Lowest average readability test scores for the Presidents...


P.S. in case you didn't know AAPL's CEO Tim Cook is the above-mentioned guest of the President...


Source: The Guardian

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
stant's picture

dont worry the sol  address will come with instuctions on what to think

Kreditanstalt's picture

Is AAPL directly getting taxpayer/Fed/borrowed money? 

IF NOT, they are quite within their rights (and quite sane) to NOT invest in the expensive and overregulated US and to outsource to more efficient suppliers.

joego1's picture

Yeah, The can fuck us in more creative ways somewhere else cuz thats the rulz.

nmewn's picture

I...errr ahhh, would like to thank the NEA for ummm errr ahhh, making all this possible.

Manipuflation's picture

Do I really have to listen to the Choomwagon-in-chief's State of the Disrepair speech?  Meh.

sbenard's picture

I must borrow that lovely sobriquet of affection you used for the Dictator of Debt! I've added it to my list of about 200 titles for Bathhouse Barry.

goldenbuddha454's picture

Here's what he won't say: more freedom, anti-depressants, value of the dollar, GITMO, we are bringing our troops home, shovel-ready projects, jobs council, Green Energy, Keystone Pipeline, michele's bangs, Ted Nugent, Ben Bernanke, German Gold, Drones, Illegals, and anything else you can think of!

Seasmoke's picture

Benghazi, Syria, Senator Menandez and Superstorm Sandy recovery and FEMA Maps

nmewn's picture

Tim Geithner, jobs saved or created, Dodd-Frank, NDAA, Black Panthers, Brian Terry, Constitution, Chris Stevens, Paul Krugman, the Marine Corp Honor Guard having their bolts removed from their guns while walking behind him at inauguration, Beyounce lip sync, Keynesian, socialist, crony, East Anglia.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

...prosecutions for financial crimes, fast and furious, rule of law...

nmewn's picture

I thought him having the Marine Honor Guard "disarmed" was quite telling, more so than Beyounce lip synching, which we pretty much have come to expect, from both ;-)

ZeroAvatar's picture

Taxes, deficit, GDP, Drone, war, wrong on so many levels, police state, solvency, Gold, Audit the Fed, Silver, Birth Certificate.

goldenbuddha454's picture

And... 7.8% unemployment still, Michele's Fat Ass, Navy Seals, Pakistani Doctor we betrayed, no money left to refuel, Chinese enablers, Student loan bubble, jobless students, Detroit, Chicago, Chris Dorner, Tim Geithner, Taxes, my friend Bill Ayers, Uncle George, Mali, Libya, Apple, ...

goldenbuddha454's picture college transcripts, V.A., legalize it, Greece, securitizing rentals, Americans have more money, Chrysler in China, GM Bondholders, Walmart,  cheapest Obamacare family policy 16-20k, California needs doctors, My good friend Rick Perry, Boeing, NLRB, 4 years without a budget, ....

nmewn's picture

Bone crushing statist regulation, DHS firing blanks from helicopters over Miami interstates, 27 million on food stamps, women & black unemployment higher than in 2009, Kai (the surfer hatchet guy...just for laughs), Christine Roemer, Peter Orzag (now with Citigroup).

As an aside, why is there an OMB? They never present an actionable budget. This year they submitted nothing for next year.

We can cut out its funding source right now & save people from more taxation...but I digress.

Fucking Forward!

goldenbuddha454's picture

and.... 17 trillion in debt, America's AAA rating, S&P Moody's, hyperinflation, food stamps, Ray Lewis, Skeet-Shooting, I'm a Lefty, European banks need help .....

e_goldstein's picture

Need moar drinking game.

Manipuflation's picture

Just drink whenever the idiot says "we"; knowing full well that we are not the "we" he is referring to.

machineh's picture

Christ, I thought he was saying 'oui' ... and now the vodka bottle is empty.

Manipuflation's picture

LOL, I have a couple moar bottles if you need one.  Is the ass-in-chief done blubbering yet?  I ignored the fuckrod altogether but I am ready to crack one open after dealing with domain name transfers.  What a bunch of bullshit that all is.  60 days I have to wait because my DNS host is not the same as my hosting service?  I did that for a reason.  I see what they did there.  Pricks.

At least I listed the reason for the site as a "support group" in the "what is this bullshit you are up to" section of the host registration process.  If nothing else at least everyone who has experienced a horrific boating accident has some time to write up an apocryphal and hyperbole ridden short story of how they lost their guns, PMs and anything else valuable.


A Lunatic's picture

You think that's bad, try tracking the comprehension level............

darteaus's picture

Gee, why don't they score Biden?

rustymason's picture

It is politically incorrect to make fun of the mentally challenged. Seriously.

darteaus's picture

"Everybody knows...for a treatable illness like asthma...if you just gave them a breathalyzer..."

syntaxterror's picture

Which one of his accents will this Dickshit speak with tonight?

sbenard's picture

You mean the Teleprompter Tyrant is giving ANOTHER speech?

"Here comes the orator, with his flood of words, and his drop of reason." -- Benjamin Franklin

How did Ben know that Obama was coming?

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

Yeahhhh we may be more kinda you know sorta dumblike than those stupid fuckers 100 fuckin' years ago but we get ta stream more porn than those dumbasses becuzz our internet is lyke way faster than their shit wazz.


So who'z fuckin dumber now you Woody Wilson votin' fucktards?

f16hoser's picture

People actually listen to this lying POS? Amazing.......

Michelle's picture

Personally I've adopted a "balanced approach" to listening to his speeches...I listen to what he says and then wait to see how long it takes for the public to parrot his ideals, timeline is getting way shorter. Free thought is long gone.

logicalman's picture

Based on my observations, few people are equipped for free thought.

We're fucked!

rustymason's picture

Idiocracy was supposed to be set 500 years into the future. My how time flies.

ZeroAvatar's picture

What his voter base will hear:


Gibsme, Obamaphone, keeps in President, swag, free, free 40 oz malt liquor in every pot, free pot, loquacious, shaneequa, eek, ook, ??????,  Gibsme moar, time for a flash mob to celebrate, ohbama is my knockout king, saviour, speech is over time to get the burglar tools rounded up.

401K of Dooom's picture

Before I begin my tirade, let me say that Tylers comment from above regarding the guest that Obama invited to the State of the Union address, I thought he meant someone besides Tim Cook.  When I read the statement "P.S. in case you didn't know AAPL's CEO Tim Cook is the above-mentioned guest of the President...", I thought he was referring to Jeffrey Imelt.


Well I have to thank the English for showing how far we have descended.  From the profile of the people that we see and what their respective grade levels are, our education standards have fallen.  There is also the fact that the grade levels for linguistic standard are also not the same for the Presidents of the late 20 and 21st centuries as compared to the presidents of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Just remember the public education system with all of it's flaws is producing students according to the plans of the education schools at the major universities. 



tony bonn's picture

the top 4 most murderous presidents - 9/11, vietnam, afghanistan, drones, et al, plus the tungsten barron occupy the first 5 spots....crime and complex expression seem to go together like oil and water.

laosuwan's picture

yes, but who actually wrote the speeches? originally these speeches were given to congress, right? but after the invention of radio and tv they were really addressed to the public. you always speak at the level of your audience, right?

gallistic's picture

This article, the accompanying graphic aid, and our subsequent discussion, serve to illustrate a very important point: we as a people have been conditioned in Pavlovian fashion to react to key words and memes in a relatively predictable fashion. The majority of the citizenry is obsessed with trivial matters that are not virtuous, and cannot exercise critical thinking in its basic form. At the core of the issue is distraction and intellectual laziness, coupled with an inability to exercise logic (in the old-world sense of the word), which does not allow us to recognize sophistry when it is presented to us for consideration.

Most of us simply accept massaged "facts" which are presented to us by the gatekeeper intermediaries (media at the service of  whom ???) and form opinions, which we scream at the top of our lungs like a righteous prophet, because we have been conditioned to "express ourselves", even when our opinions are based on a humongous pile of factual excrement, fallacious thinking, and are not worth considering.

The preceding two paragraphs have:

25% passive sentences

19.2% FK reading ease

21 FK grade level (beating Woodrow Wilson's 15.6 by a country mile)


I could have easily gotten the point across just as clearly with a much lower FK grade score.

If you want to be clear, concise, and ensure that your audience understands what the fuck you are saying, you may end up with a relatively lower score. The governing principle for clarity is that one should not make it any more flowery or complex than it has to be.

A state of the Union speech is (should be, anyway) a report and a setting of the agenda going forward. Subsequent debate and discussion hammers out the devilish details.

A low score does not necessarily mean that the content of the message is "dumber", or not effectively communicated to the receiver. It just means that the sentences are shorter and the words used have fewer syllables.

Of course, the flip side to that is that when truly dealing with a complex subject, precise (maybe longer) words are used. Sentences may also be longer in order to effectively and coherently convey the message.

The belief that a high score is good and a low score is bad is incorrect. The key is finding the correct balance, not an arbitrary FK score.  A high or low FK score in itself is not the main factor. It is just another indicator.

If you are still reading this post, I congratulate you. You probably have a longer attention span than the average Joe or Jane. I know I would have probably quit after the second paragraph.

I sincerely apologize for the preachy and pedantic nature of this post. In my defense I will say that if I did not write this, my head would have exploded.

I strongly believe that sloppy thinking and lax intellectual discipline go to the heart of many issues we face as a society. It shares a larger part of the blame than many of the "usual suspects" that are frequently rounded up.

Anyway, 'nuff said about intellectual rigor and critical thinking. We now return you to the scary Dorner, Kardashian's delicious ass, and the political pageantry of the country...


The second half of the post has:

0% passive sentences

64.3% FK reading ease

8.2 FK grade level (spectacularly "dumb" right?)

Know the damned difference!

StychoKiller's picture

Betcha Mrs Lincoln was upset after the play.

Oldrepublic's picture

Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

rustymason's picture

What kind of system would be run by creatures such as Sheila Jackson Leigh, Obanana, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Charlie Rangel, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, GW Bush, Hillary Clinton, et alia? A sewer system -- a system that needed a full flush and a deep scrub to remove the skid marks. The Republic is o-v-e-r.

Manic by Proxy's picture

The tens of millions of Muricans on food stamps is the soup line. A very lengthy soup line. In conjunction with true unemployment likely to be at least 18%, this translates into indicators of a Depression gathering momentum. I don't expect a craven politician to give voice to such truth. But it enrages me that such intellectually decrepit scarecrows expend great energy to convince the servant class that conditions are improving. If justice exists, or will exist, then the political class will be hung with their lies.

kralizec's picture

Lets blo moar on edumacation.


irie1029's picture

I cannot bring myself to watch the delusional idiots ruining this country.  As the assholes parade in smiling, patting each other on the back, thumbs uping and high-fiving like they are winners.... just makes me sick.  The country is in the worst condition ever and they are all congratulating each other....   FUCK Them all.

Rev. Right's picture

The graph drifts downward over time with the expansion of the voting franchise.  The biggest drop is after the passage of the 19th ammendment.

You don't need big words when your job is to promise free birth control, mammograms, and daycare.