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failure to communicate


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  • WORD: failure to communicate

    DEFINITION: A failure to communicate occurs when the lines-of-communication are so broken down that you might as well be attempting to convey information, not by means of the spoken word, but rather by some obscure and arcane non-verbal dialect comprised solely of "farts and tap dancing". (See Vonnegut example below).


    (1) ' Luke is determined to escape. After an initial escape attempt . . . he is recaptured by local police and fitted with leg irons. Upon his return, the Captain played by the actor Strother Martin delivers a warning speech to the other inmates, beginning with the famous line, "What we've got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men." '

    -- Wikipedia article on the 1967 American prison drama film Cool Hand Luke.

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    (2) ' Dragline enters the church and tells Luke that he made a deal with the bosses and that they won't hurt them if they surrender peacefully. Luke, knowing better, moves to an open window and mimics the Captain's famous line, "What we've got here is a failure to communicate." Luke is immediately shot in the neck by Boss Godfrey.

    -- Wikipedia article on the 1967 American prison drama film Cool Hand Luke. '

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    (3) 'The story . . . was entitled "The Dancing Fool." Like so many Kilgore Trout stories, it was about a tragic failure to communicate.

    'Here was the plot: A flying saucer creature named Zog arrived on Earth to explain how wars could be prevented and how cancer could be cured. He brought the information from Margo, a planet where the natives conversed by means of farts and tap dancing.

    'Zog landed at night in Connecticut. He had no sooner touched down than he saw a house on fire. He rushed into the house, farting and tap dancing, warning the people about the terrible danger they were in. The head of the house brained Zog with a golfclub.'

    1973 KURT VONNEGUT, JR. Breakfast of Champions, or, Goodbye Blue Monday -- Chapter 5 (page 58)..

    September 3, 2013