October 17, 2020

"'Pre-bunking' — Shouldn’t that mean something like: making false ahead of time?"

Texts Meade this morning, sending me a link to "Pre-bunking falsehoods: How Wisconsin voters can avoid falling for election misinformation" (in the Madison newspaper, The Cap Times). 

You can imagine the dismal path to linguistic error. They know the word "debunking" and "pre-" rhymes amusingly and denotes an earlier point in time, so pre-bunking! 

But "pre-bunk" gets over 58 million hits in a Google search, so it's not a special dumbness of Madisonians.

The word "bunk" means "Humbug, nonsense" and goes back at least to 1900, according to the OED, which provides these historical examples:
1900 G. Ade More Fables 15 He surmised that the Bunk was about to be Handed to him. 
1916 H. Ford in Chicago Tribune 25 May 10/1 History is more or less bunk. 
1919 Rebel Worker (N.Y.) 1 Feb. 3/3 The usual bunk about ‘disloyalty’ is being employed to..blind them to their own interest. 
1921 Glasgow Herald 3 May 3 As an American friend said..‘Tell your people at home it is all bunk the United States intends to keep out of European affairs.’

"Debunk" — which goes back to 1923 — means to remove the bunk. We understand the prefix "de-." If you want to remove the bunk in advance, you're talking about pre-debunking. Without the "de-," you're just "bunking" — adding the nonsense!

But there's no word — not in my dictionary — "bunking" — in the sense of adding bunk... though adding bunk is a common enough activity. Maybe we could get that going. It's less obscure than "obscurantism." For now, "bunking" means sleeping in a not-too-fancy bed around other people. So we do have the option of nodding off. But stay awake, dear friends. We may learn something. 

38 comments:

Duke Dan said...

I work with people in India and some of the idioms are interesting. One time we had a meeting scheduled which they wanted to have at an earlier time. So they requested to prepone the meeting. Took me a second to interpret, but if it’s OK to postpone a meeting, why not prepone?

Matt Barker said...

As a long-time resident of Buncombe County, North Carolina (Asheville is the county seat), I have to add to your history of "bunk" and "bunkum.": The terms have their origin in a stemwinder speech by U.S. Senator Felix Walker, filibustering the Missouri Compromise during debate in Congress in 1820. Saying he was doing it "for Buncombe"—to represent his WNC constituents' interests. "Bunkum" became slang for nonsensical or irrelevant talk. Shortened to "bunk" it has found a place in common usage even today, 200 years later. We are so proud!

tim in vermont said...

“There was mail found outside of Appleton, and that mail did not contain any *Wisconsin* ballots,”

Does carefully couching the truth in order to create a misleading impression count as “bunking”? Survey says: Yes!

The Godfather said...

More to the point, “pre- bunking” means we’ll tell you in advance what information you must ignore.

Xmas said...

I think "bunco squad", meaning the police assigned to scam and fraud investigations may be unvolved here. Bunco or Bunko was term for a fixed card game.

Howard said...

It's like diffusing a bomb before it's built.

Ralph L said...

Let's prenote the next slander the Biden/MSM say about Trump and stay moralized.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Nope sorry, the prebunking has been debunked. It's rebunked. This is a classic example of interbunking with clawback provisions, similar to safeties in tag or stepping on cracks breaking your mommas back.

Only probunking can debunk the prebunk and ensure everlasting rebunking.

Kevin said...

The left makes a big show of not falling for lies.

The real reason is to keep you from coming across the truth.

Jon B. said...

Well, it's no worse than "workaholic," after all.

steve uhr said...

Hard to understand how trumps mask few rallies to his base in hot zones like Wisconsin gets him any votes. Could someone explain?

Craig Howard said...

"Bunk" derived from Buncombe:

Edward Buncombe (1742–1778) was a plantation owner from the Province of North Carolina who served as a colonel in the North Carolina militia and Continental Army (the army of the Patriot side) in the American Revolutionary War. He is the namesake of Buncombe County in western North Carolina. In 1820, his surname (in its status as the name of that county) became the source of the derogatory American slang term, "bunkum" and its shortened form, "bunk" in consequence of the U.S. representative for the county, Felix Walker, invoking the county during a poorly received speech delivered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

daskol said...

Gaslighting?

daskol said...

A similarly unpleasant sounding neologism: presuasion. I learned a lot from Cialdini's first book on the psychology of influence and persuasion, and Scott Adams calls him Godzilla for his skills, but Cialdini titled his second book Presuasion. I guess Meade might have liked it, but I hate even the sound of it, and it's even unpleasant to say.

TJM said...

steve uhr,

Unlike Senile, Corrupt, China Joe, President Trump is an American first. Keep drinking that libtard kool-aid

Mr. Forward said...

Prebunking also known as preboinking.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Republicans


Democratics

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Simple prebunking instructions:

When you hear a conservative say "Hunter Biden" shut your eyes. Stick fingers in ears. Say "Lalalalala I can't heard you!"

There you go!

Chris N said...

Truth, fact checking, language, speech, violence etc. all become co-opted by the people who end up justifying bleak power games and radical destruction. They hold other values higher than truth, fact checking, language, speech, violence etc., or they’ve made their bed with people who have, not realizing it yet...

For now, it’s ‘equality’, ‘democracy’ and ‘social justice’, but it’s about what Howard has already displayed in his comments here.

This is how I understand this view:

‘There’s an injustice in the world, and I will find its cause. Life should and can be made more fair. Man’s lot can be made better with the knowledge I have and political action in the World. The deck has always been stacked and this injustice has probably been made manifest by ‘capitalism’ or greed or existing ‘systems’. Destroy first. Create later. My enemies could be evil, if they weren’t so misguided.’

Lurker21 said...

Whenever I travel by Pullman carriage, I always take care to pre-Bunk.

rehajm said...

WI prolly isn't going to matter this time. Sorry, badgers. Welcome to the group of 'irrelevant' states...

Spiros said...

Part of "debunking" the Hunter Biden story is insisting that the now infamous emails are part of a foreign influence operation. The Russians. Again... Isn't it much more likely that the source is an ex-girlfriend seeking revenge? This sort of thing is actually called "revenge porn" by the kids.

Anyways, I think anti-Russia stuff is starting to look like anti-Semitism? It's hatred but not exactly racism. For example, the Jews were subjected to a systematic policy of degradation and attempted annihilation. Ditto the Soviets who were isolated and destroyed during the Cold War. Plenty of stereotypes and myths target the Jews. How about the one were the Jews are constantly conspiring to run the state? Sound anything like the Russo-phobia we're experiencing right now? Maybe we should give the Russia stuff a rest? Maybe blaming the Russians is not just stupid but something more sinister?

Michael said...

Gee. I thought "pre-bunking" was sex before marriage.

hombre said...

A newspaper article about “prebunking”: “Don’t believe their bullshit, believe ours!”

Susan said...

"The dismal path to linguistic error."

A path well trod indeed.

More of a stampede, really.

Take "the road less traveled", that will make all the difference.

Yancey Ward said...

"Mr. Forward said...
Prebunking also known as preboinking."


I have an extensive "pre-boink" list of women- been collecting the list since about age 12.

khematite said...

Dick Powell's winning Maxford Coffee slogan in Preston Sturges' Christmas in July (1940):

"If you can't sleep at night, it's not the coffee, it's the bunk."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm1vY7HRgSw

DEEBEE said...

Grew up using “bunk” to mean skip a class. Many a times “organizing” a “mass bunk” wherein all students left. Especially if the teacher was 5 minutes Kate.

Bilwick said...

As one might expect, there was a discussion of "bunk" and "debunk" on SEINFELD. I don't remember exactly how it went, but I believe it began when Elaine announced she was dating a doctor, and Jerry says something like,"I thought that whole thing about dating a doctor was debunked." And Elaine says, "No, it's totally bunked." Which opens the ball on what is "bunk."

robother said...

The Bunco squad is now into pre-crime!

tim in vermont said...

"Part of "debunking" the Hunter Biden story is insisting that the now infamous emails are part of a foreign influence operation. “

The only ‘sources’ for that story are *former* intelligence analysts. Clearly it happened just like the shop owner said. He tried to give the laptop to the FBI, he called several Republican Senators who all told him to get lost, and only Rudi Giuliani returned his call. Why is it so unbelievable that a crack head would forget what he did with the laptop he spilled “liquid” all over, probably booze?

Apparently the FBI only got involved when they discovered child porn on a copy that they took of the hard drive. The Chinese Communists were certainly trying to compromise Hunter, the son of the Vice President of the United States, by giving him that stuff.

Plus this kind of family based corruption is kind of a standard model in China. You have the powerful public figure who can’t get his hands dirty, and you pay off his family, and they somehow manage to get the money back to ‘Pop.’

Leora said...

Twitter blocking transmission of links to an article in the NY Post allows the Biden campaign to pre-bunk by claiming the block means the article is not true. I really like the criterion that the news organization mustn't link to the source documents because that makes it harder to pretend it's just made up.

In choosing who is lying between Giuliani and Biden, I choose Biden based on past experience. I can understand why someone's corrupt son might not affect your vote, but denying Hunter made good money off selling his connections, seems deliberately short-sighted.

gbarto said...

Prepone and Presuasian...

Latin pono is to put or place. Prepone is to place something before where it was. Postpone is to put it after.

Latin suadeo is to recommend or exhort. Presuasion is to lay the groundwork before you make your pitch. Persuasion is to see the pitch through to its conclusion. (Perfect, by the way, is per - through - plus factum - done, so completely finished or refined.)

Spiros Pappas said...

https://thejewishvoice.com/2020/10/are-the-photos-in-hunter-bidens-laptop-worse-than-we-are-being-told/

If Hunter Biden is a pedophile, Biden has to drop out. The name "Joshua Wilson" is clearly present on the FBI subpoenas. Mr. Wilson works exclusively on child porn and child abduction cases.

I wonder if Hunter is on suicide watch?

tim in vermont said...

I think that the pictures are the way that the Democrats are going to try to burn up all of the oxygen here, and I think Giuliani, if he is smart, should keep them under private beyond the stuff that established the authenticity of the drive. I don’t doubt at all that the U.S. Attorney in Delaware has given the Biden campaign a copy already, and that they may choose to leak them as a sympathy play and to make it look like is just a sex scandal and really nobody’s business.

It’s hard to imagine what their next move will be. Stonewall the press until the election?

Tinderbox said...

Their most effective "pre"bunking is to disappear opponents from the digital public square.

AllenS said...

Oh, great, another group of Americans we have to put up with... bunkers and bunkettes.

RobinGoodfellow said...

“I wonder if Hunter is on suicide watch?”

Yeah, just like Epstein was.

Hunter Biden probably won’t be given the same choice Frank Pentangeli was given.