What is “You’re wrong, Alex,” or should I call you “Alecks”?

A controversy has arisen recently when Jeopardy clearly, without any doubt, made an incorrect ruling on its Final Jeopardy answer. No big deal there. People make mistakes. The big deal is that they have stubbornly lied to cover up their mistake, even weaving the sainted Alex Trebek into their lies.

A contestant listed her answer as “Barry Gordy” instead of of the correct “Berry Gordy.” By their own rules, this is clearly a correct answer, with no possible other interpretation.

Their rule says:

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Their recent ruling not only contradicts their own rules, but also appears to be inconsistent with all of their past interpretations of those rules.

Nobody can seem to figure out why they have not issued an apology, and that becomes even more mysterious when you realize that the ruling did not determine the daily winner. (I.e., if the contestant had been deemed to have given a correct answer, she still would not have won.)

They (including Trebek) are stubbornly holding to this response: “When a contestant adds incorrect information to an otherwise correct response, they are ruled incorrect.” That is just as ludicrous as their original ruling, in fact even more so, since nothing has been added, so it’s not only incorrect, but also irrelevant. If the contestant had answered “Barrie Gordy,” they might conceivably (but still incorrectly, by their own rule 5) have ruled that the contestant added information in the form of extra letters, but no such thing occurred. Nothing was added. The contestant merely transposed an “a” and an “e.”

Jeopardy has always held its head high as a bastion of reason and intelligence, but we seem to live in a world where nobody can ever admit they were wrong, no matter how obvious their error.

16 thoughts on “What is “You’re wrong, Alex,” or should I call you “Alecks”?

  1. Honestly, game shows always have this history of being assholes for no logical reason.

    Side tangent first: Jeopardy has always annoyed me – probably unreasonably so – for that IBM Watson nonsense years and years ago. A sideshow to make headlines that ‘watch out, computers are taking over the world and beating humans!’ Well no shit, the buzzer was tied directly into the timing of the first available moment to buzz in, so no one else could. Bravo. All that, and my company employed ‘Watson AI’ in our HR system at one point, and a search was a roulette wheel for what it would return. Asking for something as simple paycheck deductions would bring up how to charge work expenses in Puerto Rico. That thing was a gem, I would take the Yahoo search engine’s AI over that POS.

    On the note of game shows, check out how Wheel of Fortune handled a guy who got all the letters opened and solved the puzzle but pronounced ‘Achilles’ wrong – well he lost the game. The Price is Right flipped its shit when someone got the final showdown right on the money, because a person in the crowd studied the exact MSRP’s from past shows and let them know the answer, and banned the guy.

    I’ve never understood the stick up the asses with some of the shows. They’re kind of like Vegas, they really really don’t like to concede anything to someone, even if there was no material loss on it. And if you get one over on them? They get really pissed off. Look at how CBS handled the guy who beat ‘Press Your Luck.’

  2. This is the same guy who tells us the three P’s of insurance are price, price, and price. He then goes to explain it’s a price you can afford, a price that can’t go up and a price that fits your budget. Clearly #1 and #3 are the same even ignoring the fact that the three P’s are all “price”. Sheanigans, I tell you!

  3. Is this the same Alex Trebek who apologized to Cliff Calvin because his response of “Who are three people that have never been in my kitchen?” wasn’t actually incorrect?
    What is this world coming to?

  4. This totally angered me more than it should have. Like the post says, it’s never been a spelling contest. As long as you didn’t make a typo that added an extra syllable you were fine.

    1. You just know the Jeopardy! producers will produce a new rule book which has been amateurishly marked up with a Sharpie.

  5. She’s mostly to blame since she only needed the last name. Top players know you only give the information needed

    1. Why do you say she needed only the last name, Mr. Haney? That does not seem correct to me. Just saying “Gordy” would not be very specific. Did he have a father, or children, of the same last name in the same business? And even though I know next to nothing about pro sports, when I hear “Gordy”, I think Gordy Howe, not Berry Gordy.

      Perhaps they think she actually had Barry Goldwater in mind. I think he was prominent at about the same time as Berry Gordy. People may have often got them mixed up, and you may have needed to be very clear about which one you meant by spelling their first names correctly.

      1. Last names are accepted for all clues unless a distinction needs to be made. Just watch enough episodes and you’ll see. For example, answering “Bush” for a president question would elicit a “Be more specific” from Alex. Answering “Gordy” to that particular question would not need to be distinguished from another surnamed Gordy. And Goldwater? That’s a real stretch to think anybody ever confused the two.

        1. Mr. Haney said: “And Goldwater? That’s a real stretch to think anybody ever confused the two.”

          Quite the contrary, I assure you, since I am old enough to remember that time. All reputable historians accept this confusion as the reason Goldwater lost the 1964 Presidential election. That, and the whole “H-bomb in the men’s room of the Kremlin” thing.

          1. Now that you mention it, I do recall how similar those two were at the time and I recall my dad saying “I’d vote for Goldwater except for that damn music”. And I don’t know how I failed to remember reading about the sharp analyses from those reputable historians in my college poli sci courses. Now I’m not sure which is who

          2. Thanks, Mr. Haney! My associates at the time and I had the same problem, although some might have blamed that on our being seven or eight years old. Perhaps you were the same age when you were in college? I assume you were some kind of prodigy, as are most of us who post here.

            Coincidentally, my father also had a saying about Goldwater: “People told me if I voted for Goldwater, we’d have four years of war, riots, crime, and inflation, and they were right!”

      2. For the same reasons, I always used to confuse Buffalo Bob and Buffy Sainte-Marie. But then again, that’s because I thought they were both names of actual bison – and all of those lumbering beasts look pretty much alike.

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