The Best of Tooth and Claw with Jack Rufus

Jack Rufus

Cricket season, late 1997, finds RealTime sports columnist Jack Rufus maddened by a strange linguistic condition afflicting Australian cricket captain Mark “Tubby” Taylor.


Tooth and Claw with Jack Rufus

As I said, sportspeople speak their own peculiar version of English. And, like I said, the oddities they use when speaking to the media tend to replicate, until all sports people employ the same strange, mouldy expressions. Language, like a virus? More like a fungus in this case.

For some years now, the leading figure in sport-speak has been Australian cricket captain Mark “Tubby” Taylor. As he holds the most important post in the nation, that’s only natural. Tubby long ago popularised the trick of talking about himself in the third person, then moved on to splitting himself in two. “I have to concentrate on Mark Taylor the captain and Mark Taylor the opening bat,” he is fond of telling interviewers.

Now he regularly inserts “as I said” into his monologues, even when he hasn’t actually said anything. Following his lead, sporting personalities across the land begin their interviews with “Like I said,” with no-one bothering to ask what it is they actually think they’ve said. And frankly, the two Jack Rufuses are getting pretty sick of this nonsense. Like we said, if it doesn’t stop soon, Jack Rufus 1 and 2 might just march over to their TV sets and put their boots, as we didn’t say, straight through their screens.

Tooth and Claw with Jack Rufus, RT 22, December 1997-January 1998, p 43


8 October 2018