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Featured Literal thinking and the news

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by ASD_Geek, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. ASD_Geek

    ASD_Geek Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I don't follow sports news too much, but for the past few days, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox were in the news for stealing signs. For the past week, whenever I've heard this headline, I thought that they took actual signs (like signage or LED ad signs) from the stadium. I wondered why this was national news and not just prosecuted locally. I also wondered why they would risk fines and jail time by taking a sign from a stadium.

    Today, I heard someone explain that they meant "hand signals" that teams use to communicate. I feel a little stupid for this, but am glad that I had a chance to mention it here rather than mentioning it to someone who may have thought that I was stupid.
     
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  2. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    For a long time I used to think money laundering literally involved shoving money into a washing machine and I thought it made sense because bills are covered in bacteria and drug residue. I just couldn’t figure out why it was illegal to sanitize these dirty bits of paper.
     
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  3. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I would have assumed the exact same thing. So, does this mean that one team is copying the hand signals of another team, in effect stealing their personal signals to one another? To cause confusion/chaos?
     
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  4. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    I don't think that's literal thinking - I think it's just not being familiar with sports. I heard a commentator on Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me (a weekly NPR News quiz) say the same thing.
     
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  5. Juliettaa

    Juliettaa Black Sheep. Society of One. V.I.P Member

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    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    I thought exactly the same, that money laundering meant taking money to a laundrette :D:D:D
     
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  6. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Not only Aspies but also immigrants new to the language can be confused by unfamilar figures of speech. I always wondered what they thought in their new workplace the first time they heard 'the poop is really going to hit the fan'.

    ;)
     
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  7. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    My literal thinking seems to manifest most in the topics of art and fashion.

    My wife would watch Project Runway and they would talk about a design being bold, or fierce. And I would think, "It's not fierce. It's red." Or "I guess 'bold' just means really low cut."

    I used to comment out loud, "Why do they have to use such weird language? Why can't they just say what they mean?" Now I don't say anything - I recognize that they're talking about something beyond my perception.
     
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  8. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    There is an assumption in sports that everybody knows the terms and rules. I have heard many sports reports over the years where the reporter used a continuous barrage of sports terms that made it sound like another language. Which, in a sense, it was. I found it totally meaningless. It can be entertaining; look up videos of "John Clarke farnarkeling" sometime.

    When I was about 6 or 7, I was encouraged to sign up for Little League baseball. I thought it might be a good thing, as I would learn the rules of the game and develop athletic skills. Problem was, they ASSUMED you already knew the rules and how to play. There was absolutely no training, teaching, or development. You can probably guess how that went. I ended up being the worst player on the last place team in the crud (they had a fancy name for it) division. I suppose now days I would have gotten a trophy for that.
     
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  9. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Chaotic Neutral

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    I remember seeing that as gag in comics couple of times, like police charging into room where some guy is literally washing bills in a laundry machine and hanging them on a clothesline to dry.
     
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  10. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    The New England Patriots got into trouble for that as well a while back I believe as well.
     
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  11. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    I have a similar story. I was talked into going out for basketball in junior high. During our first game, after the break halfway through the game, I got the ball and ran it toward the basket. The opposing team just stood there and watched me. I made a basket completely unopposed.

    Nobody told me that we switch baskets at the half.

    Because everyone in America just lives and breathes sports and already knew all this at age 4, right?

    I tell people that I was absent the day they lined up all the boys and passed out Interest In Sports. I came back the next day and they looked in the bottom of the box and said, "Sorry, Rex, we're all out of Sports. All we have left is Math."
     
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  12. ASD_Geek

    ASD_Geek Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    From what I read, they used a combination of cameras and people to decode the signals so they knew what the other team was doing.
     
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  13. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    @ASD_Geek I would have thought the same way.
    I don't have an interest in sports either, but, this happens to me all the time about all types of things.
     
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  14. stringer

    stringer Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I puzzled over exactly the same thing, until someone explained it to me.

    It seems a bit strange to call it "stealing" the signs, in fact. Normally I would expect that if someone steals something from you, it would mean you don't have it any more. In this case, it is more like copying the signs, rather than stealing them, I should have thought.

    Another example that puzzled me for a while when I first moved to the US from the UK, where I grew up. I would hear on the news about a "tractor-trailer" being involved in an accident, and the image in conjured up in my mind was of some sort of old Farmer Giles kind of character, with straws in his hair, pottering along a country lane on his tractor pulling a trailer loaded with hay behind it, maybe with a country yokel sitting in the hay swigging from a bottle of cider. It was a long time before I realised they were talking about articulated lorries.
     
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  15. ASD_Geek

    ASD_Geek Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @stringer, Exactly! I also have some trouble with some sayings like, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." It took me many, many years to figure that out. I always thought that was was the sense of having your cake if you can't eat it? ... lol
     
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  16. ASD_Geek

    ASD_Geek Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That's funny, although I'm sure that it wasn't at the time. I can remember in Gym class the teacher was running us through some exercise drills. The one that sticks out in my mind is a passing drill. The teacher lined us up, with me at the front. He blew his whistle and I took off running. I then saw a football whiz right by my head.

    He yelled something at me that I don't remember. Apparently I was supposed to turn around to catch the ball. Not being a sports kid, I didn't know and just thought that it would somehow go over my head and I would put my hands out to catch it.
     
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  17. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    One of the early versions of the phrase was, "You can't eat your cake and have it, too." It makes a bit more sense that way - do you want to eat your cake or keep it?
     
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  18. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I wouldn't have understood this, either.

    I remember that when I was a child, I saw a sign at a garage (gas station) that read "no naked lights." THat puzzled me for ages - lights don't wear clothes, so how can they be naked?

    Another expression is really puzzling me. "I couldn't care less" means "I don't care at all," and this is logical. But recently I've heard people, including on this forum, saying "I could care less," in exactly the same context. This makes no sense: it's logical meaning is the opposite to what they mean - so why say it? Confusing.
     
  19. stringer

    stringer Well-Known Member

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    Agreed about that one. I first noticed the replacement of "I couldn't care less" by "I could care less" when I moved to the US from the UK, and I put it down to a cultural thing. But presumably the expression began life as "I couldn't care less" in the US also. Maybe some sort of laziness (extreme laziness!) caused people to start dropping the " 'nt ". But it is odd, because the meaning is then lost.

    I get irritated also by the laziness of people who, instead of saying "As far as X is concerned, I think we should do Y," say "As far as X, I think we should do Y."
     
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  20. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Probably academic if one doesn't realize in real time that "cake" in this instance is just a metaphor.

    Though in colloquial conversations or media presentations, I can't recall ever hearing one use much of any metaphor where they actually explain it prior to actually saying it.

    Just another one of those communication dynamics that can potentially hamper us in real time. Where prior knowledge of metaphors is taken for granted. I suppose I was lucky in having two parents who used metaphors quite a lot, and didn't mind explaining what they meant to me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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