Mary DeForest believes in George Orwell's theory that language rooted in Latin and Greek muddies communication and often covers up political agendas. And so she invented the Latinometer, a bullshit detector that analyzes text and determines how many words are rooted in Latin, German, French and Greek, then ranks the writing's pretentiousness on a scale of 0 to 100 percent. If a text scores 20 percent or below, "you see the world in concrete terms," according to the Latinometer. If it's between 20 and 35 percent, "you sound educated." If it's between 35 and 60 percent, "you sound pretentious." And if it's 60 percent or above, "you are probably lying."
With election season ending today, we entered text from the Colorado gubernatorial candidates with navigable websites into Latinometer.com to see how they fared. And the verdict?
Republican Bob Beauprez's "Where We Stand" page scored 46 percent.
Green Party candidate Harry Hempy's About page scored 52 percent.
Governor John Hickenlooper's "Accomplishments" page scored 53 percent.
Independent Mike Dunafon scored 48 percent.
Libertarian Matthew Hess scored 46 percent.
According to Mary DeForest's Latinometer, none of these candidates sounds down-to-earth or smart; they are squarely pretentious -- with our incumbent governor taking the lead.
We also entered the mission statements of several Denver agencies.
The Denver Public Library scored 51 percent.
The Denver Sheriff's Department scored 70 percent.
The Denver District Attorney Office's mission statement scored 73 percent.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
The Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office scored 80 percent.
According to the Latinometer, three of those agencies skyrocket past pretentiousness into outright lies. And the Clerk and Recorder's Office, which administers elections, takes the prize for deception potential.
When we ran the Colorado Constitution through the Latinometer, it crashed the system and brought up Error 524.
Have a tip? Send it to email@example.com.