Friday, September 19, 2008

My 736th Rant About How Words Are Important!

Or maybe it’s not that many. But sweet Jesus Christ, you’d think if you were going to use a word on national television, you’d make sure it was the right word! Unless of course you were an empty sock-puppet of a VP candidate, the political equivalent of a pin-up girl on a Rigid Tool calendar, who’s been spoon-fed sound bites by party handlers and who regurgitates them on command. Like, say, Sarah Palin.

I’m really trying not to bore everyone with my obsession (and subsequent ranting) with the political/economic situation right now. I just bore my close friends with it. The rest of ya’ll don’t come here for that and I know it.

But. This is a farce. This a travesty. I have never felt so insulted in all my life as I do by the campaign the Republicans are running. I've done lap-dances for drunken frat boys who were more respectful of my intelligence than this.

Look, I liked John McCain all right two years ago. And while I do like Obama, I don’t consider him the Second Coming or anything. (Biden’s all right, too – even his habit of putting his foot in his mouth on a regular basis I find oddly endearing somehow. He cops to it, he’s humble about it, so, okay.)

And as I have said before, I take a fairly moderate, centrist position on most political issues. So when it became clear that it would be Obama vs. McCain, I thought, “Okay, well, there’s upsides and downsides there whichever way it goes, but I can live with either one of those options.”

I was wrong.

McCain sold his soul to devil – that’s the only way I can account for his complete metamorphosis from reasonable-if-conservative-guy to the mendacious, quavering, hollow-eyed maître d' to Dick Cheney’s hunting buddies. And having, I suspect, bought and paid for McCain, those king-makers now shake him like a Magic Eight-Ball that’s loaded with meaningless platitudes, sleazy insinuations, and outright lies. The McCain/Palin campaign thinks we are idiots, and that’s how they are treating us.

Now, there are a lot of idiots in the world, I’ll grant you. But I am not one, and I know a number of other non-idiotic people. So the arrogance and the hubris of this enrages me. It’s like they think they can just say anything they like, truth or lies, or not answer questions at all, and it won’t really matter, because “the voters don’t care about petty details like that.”

I care. I care very much. And I’m watching.

Other writers are covering the campaign far better than I can, because I’m not a political journalist. So I’m not going to go on about all the things the McCain and Palin have said that make me crazy. I swear I'm not. But here’s one thing that makes me literally howl with outrage: Sarah Palin can’t even say her lines properly.

Take the interview about foreign policy she did with Charlie Gibson. Now, there was a lot wrong with that interview. (Including Charlie Gibson. Long ago, I used to have a client who’d adopt that professorial, looking-over-the-glasses manner with me, and I hated it. Mr. Gibson should have taken a different tack.)

Anyway – she said “nuclear” just like George Bush says it. The word is pronounced noo-clee-ar. Not nu-cue-lur. That’s wrong. And if you’re campaigning for a position with your finger on the button, you should at least be able to say the fucking word.

And then yesterday, she’s defending McCain’s “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” flub by saying people were picking on his “verbage”.

There is no such word. So, not content to merely continue GWB’s political policies, she is now also carrying on his well-documented assault on the English language. I’m sorry, was it too much trouble to learn how to properly express the sentiments your Martian leaders taught you, Ms. Palin? Let me help. There is no such word as “verbage”. And you did not say “Thanks but no thanks” to Congress, either. Stop saying both those things.

Oh, there’s the word "verbiage"- verb-bi-age. But that’s not what she said. She said "verbage". And she clearly doesn't even know what that word means, because to call someone’s speech verbiage is not a flattering or even neutral choice of words. The first definition of verbiage is: a profusion of words usually of little or obscure content.

Huh. Well, when I think about applying that word to the McCain campaign – maybe I’m being too rough on Sarah. I think that’s about the truest thing either one of them has said so far.

Edit: Yes, I know there’s a slang term, but it’s not widely used and accepted, much less in the dictionary, and I don’t think Ms. Palin was trying to show her hipster street cred in the interview with Faux News. Plus, it means "garbage." So, same difference. She fails.

One More Edit: Oh, yeah, I wrote a column. It's not about politics, but I hope you like it anyway. Congratulations again, Lochai, I'm sure you'll do a great job. Now pardon me while I go fume some more.

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