Thursday, October 12, 2006

Worsening and Worsening

Every day I hear about the "worsening" violence in Iraq.

I've heard about it pretty much every day since the invasion.

Now, "worsening" -- to me, means that it was bad yesterday, and today it is (bad + more bad). Presumably if it continued to "worsen", the next day it would be (bad + more bad) + more bad. In all of these cases, today's sum has to be "higher" than the previous day's sum. This is not a linear relationship.

If 20 people a day were killed... that's 20 today, 20 tomorrow, next week -- 20 a day as well... that's not worsening. That's the same. That's a linear increase. No, worsening would be 20 today, 25 tomorrow, 30 the next day, and so on -- so say if we started out at 500 a month three years ago, what must the average be today?

You never hear stories or headlines that say that it ever got better for a period, or for several periods, or that the violence has fluctuated. It is always "worsening". This leaves the impression that the non-linear chart of "badness" must be astronomical by now, unless the "worsening" is measured in a very few people per period... in other words, an extremely slow and stable worsening.

That's certainly not the impression the headlines leave you with.


mkfreeberg said... THAT, my friend, is an astute observation. In the back of my mind I've been noticing the same thing about the President's approval ratings which have been in...oh, what is the correct phrase. "Steep decline" I think is it? From summer of 2004 to today, and every single day in between?

It seems our liberal friends' nurturing of whatever vocabulary they have, and want to use, is in a state of worsening; and it would be in their interests to start picking out some phrases with a little more gravitas.

Phil said...

Yeah, I heard again this morning how it is "increasing". Every day for the last three years, it's been "increasing" and "worsening". I'd expect to just see a big dirt pit by now where Iraq was, it's been "worsening" and "increasing" so long.

Interestingly enough, they also said "with the increasing violence, it's clear that time is short if there is any hope in Iraq".... something I've also been hearing for quite some time now. Like, for a couple of years.