Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wasilla Wordsmith(?)

Dick Cavett has another priceless column in the New York Times on what he terms "the wild wordsmith of Wasilla." Until I read through it, I had nearly forgotten what an unmitigated disaster Sarah Palin was just in terms of how she expressed herself. Every single utterance became a chance for a verbal 20-car pileup on the Beltway at rush hour, as Cavett laments:

"What on earth are our underpaid teachers, laboring in the vineyards of education, supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the serial syntax-killer from Wasilla High and gleaned by my colleague Maureen Dowd for preservation for those who ask, “How was it she talked?”

'My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.'

And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”

It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any.

(A cynic might wonder if Wasilla High School’s English and geography departments are draped in black.)"

As Popessa says, there's our Sarah, in all her glory. Cavett ends his Palin riffs with the old Britishism, "I'm glad to see the back of her." I bet everyone who values the English language, to say nothing of general competence, salutes him!


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