Friday, October 24, 2008

Of Dead Cats & Dog Whistles

Because of the ongoing McCain-Palin campaign crash and burn, the term dead cat bounce is in the news. What, pray tell, is a dead cat bounce?
It is a figurative term first used by traders in the financial industry in the mid-1980s to describe a pattern where a stock price plummets and then is followed by a moderate and temporary rise before resuming its free fall. It is derived from the notion that even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height.
More here.

Then there is another divine turn of phrase, dog whistle politics.
Dog whistles are built in such a way that humans cannot hear them due to their high frequency, but dogs can. Similarly, dog-whistle politics uses coded language that appears to mean one thing to most people but has a more specific meaning for targeted subgroups, in McCain's case racists and Evangelicals, among others.
More here.

Editors note: The cat in the photograph is not dead.

2 comments:

jen said...

Cute live cat picture!

Thank you for explaining the dead cat bounce, and dog whistle politics!

Yesterday was the first time I heard of this bounce, and I meant to get around to looking it up. Huzzah, now I have learned something new!

ludovic said...

Nice definition. We have a great definition at stopdogwhistleracism.com, where we're tracking the good, bad and ugly from the left, right and center.