Urban Meyer’s late Friday Twitter statement introduced rhetoric that would make George Orwell’s 1984 characters nod in recognition. My favorite, in a statement brimming with various pol-speak perversions of language, characterized Meyer’s bald-faced lies at Big 10 media day with the responsibility-sparing euphemism: “I deeply regret if I failed in my words.”
Consider the “if” placed ever so gingerly betwixt deep regret and failed. He was publicly exposed as a liar. Yet still throwing legalistic“ifs” around in the heart of his statement from the heart.
“I failed in my words.” Failed in my words. Not in character or truthfulness. Words. As if calculated lies are the same as stuttering. Or misusing a word. Or a careless descriptor. The implication, amusingly, is that the words somehow failed him. The truthful words just didn’t show up to play. What can a coach do when candor and veracity aren’t ready for game day? He’s gonna have to play his lying words. That’s not his fault.
Inspired by Coach Meyer, let’s try on some rhetorical strategies from the New Urban Dictionary to test their efficacy.
You come home late, your unbuttoned shirt reeking of cheap perfume, collar smeared in lipstick, and are angrily confronted at the front door.
I deeply regret if I failed in my laundry.
The client presentation gives way to an uncomfortable silence as you stumble into the 10:00 am meeting grossly intoxicated, spilling your flask of Jim Beam on the power point projector.
I deeply regret if I failed in the deft use of electronics.
You peel out down the street in a residential neighborhood, narrowly missing a little kid on a bicycle.
I deeply regret if I failed in detecting reckless children seeking to dent my car.
You walk out of the Apple store with merchandise you didn’t pay for. When caught on store cameras and questioned about it, you respond thoughtfully:
I deeply regret if I failed in the proper use of Apple Pay.
You lie nine times during a press conference when queried about your knowledge of an assistant’s history of domestic abuse and criminal trespass after you fire said assistant after his latest accusation for what appears to be self-serving optics, you even ask rhetorically who would possibly “create a story like that” to shame the reporter, watch the reporter expose your rank prevarications, release an unctuous Twitter statement meant to rally fans against the investigation you’ve consented to, wherein rather than directly own up to your falsity, you double down on claiming to uphold righteous moral standards, despite brazenly lying and engaging in disgraceful self-serving calculation, which you attribute to being caught “unprepared.”
I deeply regret if I failed in my words.
Doubleplusgood work there, Coach.
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