SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Them's Fightin Words, I predict



March 10, 2016
Thursday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska - Someone called me a PUNDIT the other day!

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Me, a PUNDIT? Really?? Seriously???

Natch, before I got all offended like, I decided I needed to look up what the word meant.

After all, PUNDIT is one of the those words, like bemused, that every one uses and nobody really knows what it means.

(Regular readers of this column are usually "bemused" - which I would love think means they are "amused." But it actually it means they are "confused." Go figure)

Well, here ya go.

A PUNDIT is: An expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called on to give opinions about it to the public. The original PUNDITS were highly respected teachers and leaders in India. Their title was taken from the Hindi word pandit, a term of respect for a wise person that itself derives from the Sanskrit pandita, meaning "learned."

Cool, but of course one wonders if the word "pander" (and I don't mean bear) also comes from the word "pandit."

At any rate, I guess I should be grateful they didn't borrow the term from the Filipino word "pancit" which would then mean I was a PUNCIT: A person who is called upon to make bad word-play jokes about noodles.

But I digress.

Anyway, I guess that from that description I was being given an honorific. But by his tone of voice, I'm not so sure.

In the the modern world we don't necessarily think so highly of PUNDITS (must always be written in upper case letters, as if shouting). Most people apply the term to television "talking heads" that shout at each other during what used to be called television news programs.

Ooh, that sounded a wee bit pejorative (a fine PUNDIT word). Far be it from me to imply that "shouting" is not "news." Without shouting, we wouldn't have any political debate in this wonderful country of ours.

So being thought a PUNDIT is probably a problematic state because the only thing that all Americans agree upon (other than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Bacon are the ONLY things you eat in Heaven) is that PUNDITS are idiots and wrong 100 percent of the time, even when they are arguing on different sides of the issue.

So instead of taking the gentleman at face value and conceding that I am both an idiot and wrong 100 percent of the time, I started thinking about this PUNDIT thing a little deeper.

Like all American men, I am certainly an expert about whatever I choose to be talking about at any given time.

And that expertise is as broad as the Mighty Mississippi (11 miles at Lake Winnibigoshish near Bena, Minnesota). Simply put, if you are a male, and you are talking, it is essential that you be learned, or at least sound that way.

I plead guilty to that. When I am alone, I am ALWAYS the smartest person in the room.

But since we also generally associate PUNDITS with political intercourse (giggle like a 12-year-old here), I am puzzled as to how the term relates to me.

I studiously avoid politics in my expert opinionizing.

As the former Mayor of Our Delightful Deluginal District, I have found that having any actual opinions on anything can be detrimental to re-election. Pretty much you need to sound like you are running for Congress in order to get elected to anything. Or to quote my old Irish Republican friends: Whatever you say, say nothing.

Politically, that also applies to youth sports volunteering. Never a coach nor an umpire be, if you want to stay in political office.

But I digress, again!!

Still, since I have been accused of being a PUNDIT, I must respond.

I would love to engage in a duel since I take "great umbrage" at being called a "PUNDIT" (Taking "great umbrage" has always been on my bucket list.)

Unfortunately in Ketchikan, the only acceptable form of dueling is to "salmon slap each other silly" from two paces and it is not yet salmon season.

That leaves few options.

I suppose I could say something witty, a ripost or bon mot, perhaps, Unfortunately to "ripost" means something entirely different in these internet-infested days and it's a been long time since I could tell the difference between a "bon mot" and a not so "bon" one.

So left with no responsitory answers of my own creation (another hallmark of successful politicians), I must resort to consulting the highest possible, most expert of all sources for answers and clarification, My Magic Eight Ball!

Oh wise and Magic Eight Ball, am I truly a PUNDIT?

"Reply hazy, try again."

Okay, am I PUNDIT?

"Ask again later."

Seriously, I want to know now.

"Concentrate and ask again."

Am I a freaking PUNDIT?

"Cannot predict now."

Listen, you stupid cue ball wanna be, tell me!

"Better not tell you now."

What, are you running for @#&(@!* Congress?

"Signs point to yes."

And there you have it, this PUNDIT says that Magic Eight Ball is a lock in 2016.

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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