Sunday, October 5, 2008

Going For Baroque

Hey, in some parts of the universe, maybe not in contempo-casual, but in some parts, it's considered cool to know what's going on in the world.
-Clueless
Sarah’s Pompom Palaver
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: October 4, 2008

I’ve always hypothesized that the level of Maureen Dowd’s anger can be measured by the number of alliterations she tosses into a column. When she puts one right into the headline (and shouldn't it be "Palin's Pompom Palavar"?), we know we are in for a bumpy ride.
I had hoped I was finally done with acting as an interpreter for politicians whose relationship with the English language was tumultuous.
And then Maureen builds up a head of steam with a rich rash of Alliteration Alerts®.
There’s W.’s gummy grammar, of course, like the classic, “Is our children learning?”

Being mush-mouthed helped give the patrician Bushes the common touch.

Sarah’s running against the Democrat’s highfalutin eloquence by speakin’ in homespun haikus.

Did Joe Biden have to rhetorically rush over to Home Depot before Sarah could once more brandish “a little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street there brought to Washington, D.C.?”

With her pompom patois and sing-songy jingoism, Palin can bridge contradictory ideas that lead nowhere…
That last one alluding to that bridge that leads the same place. And she winds down with a triple Lindy.
Poppy Bush dropped personal pronouns and launched straight into verbs because he was minding his mother’s admonition against “the big I.”
But Dowd also attacks Palin’s speaking style or lack therof.
She dangles gerunds, mangles prepositions, randomly exiles nouns and verbs and also — “also” is her favorite vamping word — uses verbs better left as nouns, as in, “If Americans so bless us and privilege us with the opportunity of serving them,” or how she tried to “progress the agenda.”
Palin also has a strange habit of insisting that “impact” is a noun, and a plural one at that.
Talking at the debate about how she would “positively affect the impacts” of the climate change for which she’s loathe to acknowledge human culpability, she did a dizzying verbal loop-de-loop: “With the impacts of climate change, what we can do about that, as governor, I was the first governor to form a climate change subcabinet to start dealing with the impacts.” That was, miraculously, richer with content than an answer she gave Katie Couric: “You know, there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, with these impacts.”
Dowd calls these folksy-isms for the faux frontierism that they are:
As Alistair Cooke observed, “Americans seem to be more comfortable with Republican presidents because they share the common frailty of muddled syntax and because, when they attempt eloquence, they do tend to spout a kind of Frontier Baroque.”

Darn right. And that, doggone it, brings us to a shout-out for the latest virtuoso of Frontier Baroque, bless her heart, the governor of the Last Frontier.
And behind Palin’s aural abuses are, like totally, VapidVille as Dowd invokes the Movies With Maureen® pick with the title that sums up Palin’s grasp of the big issues.
At another point, she channeled Alicia Silverstone debating in “Clueless,” asserting, “Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet.” (Mostly the end-all.)
This all-out assault on Sarah is severe and sustained. Most of all, Dowd hits on the central mis-aligned metaphor of the self-styled mavericks.
Palin, by contrast, uses a heck of a lot of language to praise herself as a fresh face with new ideas who has “joined this team that is a team of mavericks.” True mavericks don’t brand themselves.
If you have to call yourself a maverick, you aren’t one. Plus, mavericks aren’t known for being team players.

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

Every now and then I'll be watching a movie or TV show and think: I bet this would be really great if I were stoned.

That's how I felt about Palin's performance during the debate. Palin is the Jackson Pollock of syntax. Somehow it would all make sense if I had a good buzz going.

So I've added the debate to my ever growing list of movies and documentaries to watch if I ever get to visit Amsterdam, where I hear that it's perfectly legal and quite convenient to get stoned.