Notably Rare Oddity of the Week

It’s a public statement doubleheader!  Put your thinking caps on and see if you can spot what’s wrong with each of the following statements.

The first statement comes from Alan Greenspan* (hint: the problem is not how an invisible hand can be unredeemably opaque):

Today’s competitive markets, whether we seek to recognise it or not, are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque. With notably rare exceptions (2008, for example), the global “invisible hand” has created relatively stable exchange rates, interest rates, prices, and wage rates.

The second statement comes from Transocean, which awarded six-figure safety bonuses to its executives:

Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate.  As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company’s history.

The answer is behind the cut.

Oh, that’s right, both of those people are actually incredible screw-ups.  Because the “it only happened once!” excuse doesn’t work when the aberrant incident in question killed 11 people and injured 16 more, or plunged the entire world into a depression.

When Crooked Timber got a hold of the Greenspan quote, a meme was born.

With notably rare exceptions, these are not the droids you’re looking for. [waves unredeemably opaque invisible hand]

With notably rare exceptions, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

With notably rare exceptions, threads about memes involving “with notably rare exceptions” are notably rare.

A noticeably rare exception has occurred and Windows needs to shut down.

try {} catch(NotablyRareException e) {}

With notably rare exceptions, I would do anything for love.

With notably rare exceptions, the French like their steaks well done.

Krugman’s readers are on it, too.  If it’s internet immortality that Greenspan was aiming for, then congratulations to him.

*I’ve linked to the Crooked Timber quote because, like a true free-market apologist, the original comment is behind a pay wall.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.


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