austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Art Fleming gave the answers, oh but I couldn't get the questions right

Although I've complained about this to some of my friends already I feel my petty rage is insufficiently vented. Ideally I'd raise this complaint in, where complaining about defective Jeopardy! answers is a reliable standby topic, but my Usenet feed has decided that stuff to alt groups doesn't need to be propagated, and just try explaining a Usenet problem to an ISP these days.

Anyway, a category on a recent rerun (originally broadcast the 7th of May) was Retronyms, which Alex Trebek introduced as ``words or terms that were retroactively created, like `snail mail','' as an example. For example, the $1200 answer was ``These two building materials are used to describe actual stores, as opposed to online retailers'' (brick and mortar). What's got me upset is the $2000 answer, ``This word is used for television that's sent over the airwaves, in contrast to cable or satellite'', which stumped all three contestants. What they were looking for was ``broadcast''.

That's no retroactively applied name. ``Broadcast television'' has been a standard name for television sent over the airwaves since television started being sent over the airwaves. Inexplicably I don't have a subscription to The New York Times archives, but they find hits for the phrase ``broadcast television'' dating to 1926, and amusing-looking abstracts to articles such as this one from the 20th of May, 1928:

TELEVISION WAVES PASS UNNOTICED; No One Reports Seeing Images Broadcast By WGY --- Sale of Aluminum and Neon Lamps Reveals Great Activity in Boston Experimenters Are Active. WRNY Plans Tests. British are Skeptical.
The first week of television broadcasts from WGY, Schenectady, N.Y., have traveled off into the infinite without the slightest notice, according to a representative of the station.

I'm tempted to buy the article just to find out what the heck the aluminum and neon lamps are doing in there.

I grant I don't see in headlines or abstracts the words ``broadcast television'' right away, but, talk of ``television broadcasts'', or ``broadcasting stations'', or ``visual radio broadcasting'' are easy to find even without paying for access. And the phrases should be closely linked, since broadcast ... well, look at the middle ``B'' of NBC, CBS, and ABC. It's just not right.

Trivia: Thirteen thousand men turned out for active service in Stamboul in May 1811, the last time the Janisaries mustered for a campaign against a foreign enemy. By the time the corps reached Siliviri, 35 miles away, there were sixteen hundred men left, with the remainder deserting. Source: The Decline And Fall of The Ottoman Empire, Alan Palmer.

Currently Reading: Coils, Fred Saberhagen, Roger Zelazny.


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