June 2, 2003 - London - Unanimously agreeing to alter their resources to
better correspond to the most precise definition available, the editorial teams
of Webster's, Random House, and Oxford English dictionaries
unveiled plans today to replace the entry "Pyrrhic Victory," with the more
accurate "Bush Victory" in their next editions.
"We were attempting to best define this new type of military 'success' the
Bushes have created," said Random House Dictionary editorial staff member
Steve Carlson. "We discussed the Bushes' 'success' in kicking Russia out of
Afghanistan by arming Osama bin Laden, their 'success' in helping Iraq's Saddam
Hussein beat Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, and now the grand 'success' of Operation
Iraqi Freedom, and the word 'Pyrrhic' came up so many times that we all realized
something had to be changed."
John Smytheton, chief editor of Oxford English Dictionary, explained the
reasoning behind the decision in more detail.
"Pyrrhus had a prestigious place reserved in our world-renowned reference book
for centuries," said Smytheton, "all for just presiding over one military
victory that was more costly than beneficial. Presidents George H. W. Bush
and George W. Bush have combined for so many now that we felt it was only
respectful to turn the mantle over to them. They deserve the well-earned
title of Kings of the Detrimental Victory."
"It all started as a discussion about the word 'success'," said Random House
editor Mary Blakely. "We were unsure how to add a definition to 'success'
that really meant failure. It seemed it would just confuse the whole
thing, and really hurt poor schoolchildren. 'What does success mean,
Johnny?' a teacher might ask, and he could say, 'By definition number six in
Random House Unabridged, it means to make things much, much worse.'
That would have just made the previous five definitions of success all
irrelevant and muddled."
So the editors of the three most important dictionaries of the English language
decided together to give the Bushes a new type of success named for them, rather
than tainting the previous definition. There was only one obstacle.
"That sort of useless... rather, detrimental success was already the namesake of
old King Pyrrhus," said Smytheton.
That led to a long, long bit of tittering over very slowly consumed cups of
tea. In the end, Pyrrhus was out and Bush was in.
"We feel sorry to lose a phrase so deeply embedded in public colloquial usage,"
said Carlson. "But we feel the advantage of being able to accurately
understand and describe the 'successes' and 'victories' associated with Bushes
past, present, and probably future is far more valuable and necessary than
keeping alive the name of some old King who screwed up once way back when."