The GPS system suffers from Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome, like Jeb Bush. / alex lines
The Baffler,  June 15, 2015

Daily Bafflements

The GPS system suffers from Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome, like Jeb Bush. / alex lines


• Yesterday, pundits commented that Jeb Bush’s new logo (“Jeb!”) downplays his dynastic Bushiness. Maybe so. But with this move, Jeb, whose name is an acronym of “John Ellis Bush,” is also divesting himself of his name’s RAS Syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome), a linguistic mistake whereby, in Bill Bryson’s words, Bush’s surname has become “technically redundant because the second word is already contained in the preceding abbreviation.” This put the pre-logo Jeb in the same camp as the Global Positioning System System, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Virus, Detective Comics Comics, and the Personal Identification Number Number. But Bryson believes that RAS Syndrome bothers “only the ultra-finicky,” and it’s hard to characterise Jeb, whose record of errors was recently documented by Baffler senior editor Chris Lehmann, as such.

• Today in Billionaires: sorting out the problems of the billionaire owners of media corporations is now a beat: “The deal could be structured so that the Ochs-Sulzberger family would not only become much richer,” writes reporter Felix Salmon in Fusion, “but could also credibly claim that they continued to own the New York Times.” Everyone is happy.

• “Raised by helicopter parents, millennials just can’t shake the habit of listening to advice,” worries the Boston Globe. Yet, a little counterintuitively, the article offers some advice of its own: “Ignore the experts.” Any millennial able to take home a lesson from these sphynxish conundrums is doing just fine.

• Today in Billionaires II: “Even at a quiet table overlooking a wisteria-clad patio, his menace is sometimes barely concealed.” (Via the FT Weekend.)

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