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 'Incurious George' - Bush's new title?

    April 17 2004 at 10:24AM

Los Angeles - "Incurious", a rarely used word, is making a curious comeback as pundits dust it off to describe President George Bush's alleged lack of curiosity about intelligence reports prior to September 11, 2001, according to a California language expert.

Paul JJ Payack, founder of the Global Language Monitor, which tracks word usage on the web and elsewhere, said that since he first spotted it used in a March Time Magazine report, it had appeared 5 000 times, jumping about 1 000 uses after the New York Times lead editorial on Thursday was headlined "The Price of Incuriosity".

"Americans knew George Bush was an incurious man when they elected him, but the hearings of the 9/11 commission, which turned (on Wednesday) from the FBI's fecklessness to the CIA's blurred vision, have brought that fact home in a startling way," the Times said.


The Times then went on to criticise the president for not seeming to show enough curiosity about a CIA briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US".

Other newspapers and several columnists have also used "incurious", a word Payack says made its first appearance in the 16th century, to describe the president.

Part of the reason may lie in its having a punning quality - calling the president "Incurious George" in headlines, as some web articles have, conjures up visions of the popular children's book monkey "Curious George".

Payack said the term "incuriosity' has rocketed to the top of the Global Language Monitor's PQ (Political-sensitivity Quotient) Index, which is an algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the media and on the Internet.

"Incuriosity" is followed by "Quagmire", "Two Americas", "Global Outsourcing" and 'War for Oil" on the Global Monitor list of most popular current political phrases, he said.

He added that "Quagmire", which came into vogue to describe the Vietnam war, now is being applied almost to Iraq in hundreds of thousands of uses.

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