Social Question

ETpro's avatar

How can you say "Never say never." and never say never when saying it?

Asked by ETpro (34550points) February 4th, 2011

Jeb Bush told CNN’s Candy Crowley that he is categorically not running for president in 2012. But he wouldn’t be so definitive when asked about 2016. “You never say never about anything,” Bush answered. Of course, he did say he’d never run in 2012 and he said “Never” twice in the sentence claiming he would never say it. Good start for a politician? How do you “Never say never.” while never using the word never to say it? Is “Never say never.” as nonsensical as I think, or am I just missing its subtle wisdom?”

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

sliceswiththings's avatar

Republicans are just nonsensical. That’s all.

IHateMusic's avatar

While I hate Bush too..
Getting on his case for using such a common expression is pointless, and kinda weird.
Plenty of people say never say never. It’s an expression.

poisonedantidote's avatar

What I want to know is, how do you ask how to say never say never without never saying never wile never saying never.

zenvelo's avatar

that is part of the trope. it’s like “the exception proves (tests) the rule”

SavoirFaire's avatar

Saying “no” to 2012 is not the same as saying “never.” That’s why he can’t rule out 2016 or any other future run: having made the decision to not run in 2012—a decision he would have needed to make by now if he were to have a reasonable shot at winning—does not inhibit any future choices. Even if he doesn’t think he’s going to run in 2016, he hasn’t yet passed the point of no return (as he has with 2012). As such, he won’t categorically say “no” to a future run.

As for the phrase “never say never,” I agree with the above responses. It’s a way of getting a point across while being mildly humorous about it by doing that against which it recommends. This “wittiness” is probably what led to it becoming an adage.

@zenvelo The word “prove” in “the exception proves the rule” does not mean “tests.” The phrase means that the need to discuss an exception is itself a demonstration that a (contrary) rule exists. So a sign that says “No Parking on Mondays” proves that you can park there Tuesday through Sunday. It is the exception (no Monday parking) that proves the existence of the rule (Tuesday through Sunday parking).

zenvelo's avatar

@SavoirFaire thanks! i learn lots on fluther….

Jeruba's avatar

Logically, you can say “Never say never” once. You haven’t uttered the entire principle or command until you’ve pronounced the last word. Until that point it has not been voiced, and so you’re free to say it. Thereafter, you are violating the policy you’ve already expressed.

So much for tonight’s foray into pedantry. Otherwise I’d simply say it’s a bit of innocuous self-referential humor, not meant to be dissected in search of literal sense.

ETpro's avatar

Thanks for all the excellent answers. @IHateMusic Actually, of all the Bushes in the hedge, I like Jeb more than the other publically known ones. I meant no harm to him. Just having some innocent word fun.

And I believe, as is so often the case, @Jeruba has the last word on that.

Sunny2's avatar

“Wait and see?”

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther