Thursday, October 16, 2008

Palin-Speak: Mangling the Language

Grassroots folks out here on the southern plains just love Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. She's one of us, they say. She's a mom. We can relate to her. She even talks like us.

Or maybe not. In fact, Palin's use of the English language is, well, troubling. No, it's worse than that. Like the verbally challenged George W. Bush, Palin has a difficult time working out a simple, clear and coherent sentence when she's not reading a script.

As writer James Wood notes in this week's New Yorker, Palin has a "peculiar habit of speaking only a half sentence and then moving on to another for spoliation, that strange, ghostly drifting through the haziest phrases, as if she were cruelly condemned to search endlessly for her linguistic home."

An example cited by Wood from her debate with Sen. Joe Biden: "I do take issue with some of the principle there with that redistribution of wealth principle that seems to be espoused by you."

And we're supposed to take this person as a serious candidate for vice president?

But the best example, a classic of Republican no-nothingness, is this gem from Palin's interview with the oh-so-tough (ha!) Sean Hannity. Asked about John McCain's comment that the fundamentals of the economy are sound, Palin said this:
Well, it was an unfair attack on the verbage that Senator McCain chose to use, because the fundamentals, as he was having to explain afterwards, he means our workforce, he means the ingenuity of the American people. And of course that is strong, and that is the foundation of our economy. So that was an unfair attack there, again, based on verbage that John McCain used.
Aside from her non-word, "verbage," what does this mean? And how is it that a public official and nominally educated person (five colleges, was it?) can't think or speak clearly? Or sensibly?

She can read a speech reasonably well on television (and wink), but there's no evidence whatsoever—none!—that she has ever thought seriously about the major issues of the day. She is profoundly ill-informed and undereducated on almost every topic important beyond energy, where she has at least a superficial purchase on one issue.

Grassroots appeal or not, Sarah Palin has no business being anywhere near the White House.

1 comment:

Tulsan said...

Since we were speaking of Sally Bell being in the far-right nut group, the John Birch Society, here is a photo of Sarah Palin with the Birch publication under her nose.

The future's not ours to see. Whatever will be, will be. Que Sarah, Sarah.