Jason and the Graph

I can't stop thinking about congressman Jason Chaffetz.

Up until last week, I had never spent time thinking about him - and I have to say - I rather liked it much better before.

I first started thinking seriously about Jason last Tuesday, when he presented an amazingly awful graph at the Planned Parenthood hearing - a hearing which he headed up.

The graph showed that Planned Parenthood were liars who were giving away lots of abortions - so many abortions that they were too busy to do much of the other stuff that they say they do.

While the graph had all the hallmarks of a real graph - numbers, lines - it happened to omit the y-axis. Which, technically speaking, is one of the most important part of a graph - because it helps the lines go the right direction.

It seemed like a lot of people were actually okay with Jason and his graph. I mean, really, what is the point of the y-axis? There's so many constraining stylistic rules about how one ought to fashion a graph - let us not rule out a great piece of evidence on a technicality.

But I couldn't stop asking myself:
- Just who is Jason Chaffetz, and was he ever privy to elementary school education?
- How does someone with no apparent grasp of basic arithmetic, come to preside over a congressional hearing?

Since then, other people have asked Jason about his graph, and he's told us:
- In data visualization, it doesn't actually matter how the data is visualized, just that there is at least some data
- You can't make me say I'm sorry, because I'm not sorry

Yes, Jason and his graph had me in all kinds of bother. But by the weekend, I had almost managed to push the whole thing out of my head, with Prosecco.

But then on Sunday, I woke up to the news that Jason was running for the role of House speaker. Admittedly for me - an Australian still learning the many wonders of Congress - I didn't know a lot about the role of speaker. But I knew that if it required him to speak - this surely couldn't be a good thing.

This news then sent me into a spiral of thinking too much about Jason all over again. Much later, I was alarmed to find myself weeks-deep into his Instagram feed (@JasonInTheHouse), without any recollection of how long I'd been there, or how I got there.

I hope I stop thinking about Jason soon. I just don't know if he'll let me.