Meanings: “Follow-up”

October 18, 2012

On ESPN’s Sports Center this morning I watched a several minute interview (portions of it here) between Alex Rodriguez and several reporters.  The questions concerned his being benched for Game 4 of the ALCS series, and  the future of his relationship with the Yankees.  In the interview, Rodriguez is surrounded by the reporters and they ask many follow-up questions.  A-Rod is really pressed to say something candid about the Yankee’s manager (Joe Girardi) or their general manager (Brian Cashman).

“Follow up” apparently dates from 1923, and arises in personnel management circles: presumably “following up” on issues raised in a performance review.  (Side question: why follow up? why not follow on, follow down, follow through — which, as a sports term and now general metaphor is more recent.)

A follow-up comment: could we imagine a presidential candidate beting surrounded by reporters, being asked a series of closely related questions trying to pin down (is that from butterfly collecting?) the candidates position on something?  I can’t really imagine that, but I wish I could.

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About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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