Posted by Bob on November 01, 2004
In Reply to: Low-bar posted by TheFallen on October 31, 2004
: : : TIME is a wonderful source of neologisms but I wonder if their writers don't sometimes make them up on the fly:
: : : "Hamm, who gew up on a farm...enjoys a low-bar profile. 'He's not going to turn into a marketer....'"
: : : As Hamm is an athlete, I can venture a guess at what was meant, but I don't find much support for it
: : Hamm is a gymnast. Low-bar is some kind of gymnastic equipment. So, instead of just a low profile, he has a low-bar one. *chuckle chuckle*
: I've not heard of the low-bar. I've heard of the high bar and the parallel bars in men's gymnastics and the asymetric bars in women's gymnastics... none of which means of course that the "low bar" does not exist. However, my reading of the above had more to do with track and field - high jump or maybe pole vault - where the bar that one needs to clear can be set to varying degrees of height. Athletes can choose to pass on lower heights if they wish to preserve their strength, or can choose to take them on if they wish to ensure that they've got a good jump in the bag. Needless to say, clearing a "low bar" is not a particularly noteworthy thing. Cf "setting the bar too low".
Mr. Hamm competes on the high bar, so the author is playing on that, contrasting his less exalted fame. (Mr. Hamm has a small, high pitched voice, and is not likely to be a talking head on television.)