Friday, September 26, 2008

Thrown Under The Bus

I've been accused of "Throwing someone under the bus". And this was before Wright, the clergyman often connected to Senator Barack Obama.

In the "best" sense, this phrase refers to trying to hold someone responsible for something that's not their responsibility. It's to make someone a scapegoat. (Remember, the goat didn't hold any responsibility before the hands were laid-on by the priest.) Newsweek's article says:

In general, "thrown under the bus" is a metaphor for what happens when someone takes a hit for someone else's actions. But unlike its etymological cousins, "scapegoat" and "fall guy," the phrase suggests a degree of intimacy between the blamer and the blamed.

But it bugs me because often I'm just expecting somebody to fulfill their promises. Often that just means expecting them to do their job.

E.g., a vendor says that his equipment has feature X. Then later I ask you how to configure feature X, in front of the customer, because the customer needs feature X. They're depending on Feature X, because the vendor promised feature X. It turns out the vendor didn't even really understand my question in the first place, but he still committed to provide feature X. And I'm guilty of throwing him under the bus.

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