Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A.I.G. Bonus Gibberish

"[Geithner] argues that lawyers at both AIG and the Treasury concluded that it would be difficult or impossible to legally prevent the payments from being made."

For over half a day, the New York Times' on-line edition has been carrying an article quoting it's own "best and brightest" contract law experts on the subject of the A.I.G. bonus brouhaha. But did you see this gem, near the bottom of the article? Click to enlarge and read the blue text:

So, what is the translation from Latin to English of "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit?”

Turns out, it means nothing. It's a printer's "nonsense filler text." A place holder. Gibberish. Like "jabberwocky," as Cecil Adams explains:
In the graphic design business, nonsense filler like this is known, somewhat incongruously, as "greeking," presumably because "it's Greek to me." It was available for many years on adhesive sheets in different sizes and typefaces from a company called Letraset. In pre-desktop-publishing days, a designer would cut the stuff out with an X-acto knife and stick it on the page. When computers came along, Aldus included lorem ipsum in its PageMaker publishing software, and you now see it wherever designers are at work, including all over the Web.
But don't tell that to the alleged lawyers at the U.S. Treasury Dept. who are advising Tim Geithner. Or, to Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Tell them, instead, that the well-established legal doctrine of "Lorem Ipsit" provides a sure basis for abrogating or modifying those A.I.G. bonus contracts. Apparently, they'll believe anything.

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