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October 03, 2008

Comments

My male co-worker was completely creeped out by the winking. But the debate did give us two new catchphrases--he's using "You betcha!" all the time and I'm telling him "Don't make me wink at you."

She may very well not know what attribute means. She clearly does not know what "Achilles Heel" means.

I've been propositioned more subtly by prostitutes than I was by Sarah Palin last night.

Rich Lowry needs to get out more.

This morning, as I was about to respond to a lady friend who had just said "doggone it", I got a glare that advised me to not go there. Not that Palin was going to pick up any Clinton votes, but I'm guessing her cutesy act took care of any that were on the fence.

This isn't about Palin, but hopefully Obama will win and so it might be good to spare some attention to odd things that Biden said. This, for instance--

"When we kicked -- along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, "Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don't know -- if you don't, Hezbollah will control it."

Now what's happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel."

Now there's an idea--support sending in foreign troops to help the Lebanese pick their legitimate representatives. Maybe we could do this in other countries too, whenever the wrong group might get into power. I mean, suppose we leave Iraq (someday) and it looks like they might pick some Shiite fundamentalists to...oh, nevermind.

I don't want to hear conservatives making of fun of the thrill going up Chris Matthews' leg anymore. Why doesn't Lowry just say matter of factly, "I want to have sex with Sarah Palin." Because when you put it that way it's clearly irrelevant to debate performance, let alone who should be vice president. Does he really think dressing it up with effusive, flowery language -- "so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen" -- is going to fool anyone into taking him seriously? BTW, I don't get what's supposed to be attractive about her in the first place.

There's a time and a place for winking. Basically, flirting --- and even then, a little goes a long way. Maybe when grandpa tousles your hair and hands you a glass of lemonade, though I'm not looking for quite that level of condescension from a public servant. A wink during a sales pitch is a straight up deal breaker --- three winks has me checking my wallet.

I couldn't get past noo-cue-ler. Kept thinking - they do this on purpose, don't they.

I'm betting that for every male vote that wink picked up, it lost at least one woman.

You know, I've been wondering ever since the GOP convention whether the standard male-female split reaction to beauty queens is a big part of the roller-coaster in her poll numbers. As a very broad generalization subject to tons of exceptions and qualifiers, women on average seem to resent 'bimbos' more than men on average resent 'pretty boys,' and women are a lot better than men at bullying their mates into changing opinions on such people than the other way around. I wouldn't be surprised if some men's initial positive response to Palin, based largely on sex appeal, prompted their SOs to hate her and to hector the men into changing positions.

Now there's an idea--support sending in foreign troops to help the Lebanese pick their legitimate representatives.

I think the point was that Hezbollah's freedom to operate as a terrorist group in southern Lebanon foreseeably gave it the chance to make friends and eliminate enemies so as to become the legitimate representative by the next election. The election was legitimate, but taking pressure off Hezbollah was stupid.

hilzoy ... love that "oh dear God." Could any thought process whatsoever have gone through Rich Lowry's mind before he wrote those sentences about someone who is not, after all, vying in a beauty contest, but running for Vice-President of the United States?

TSW ... I'm with you, I don't get what's supposed to be attractive about her. And that's prior to anything to do with her political positions, such as they are. I can only attribute the fuss to the fact that mileages do vary, even, or especially, in relation to what we each find attractive in other human beings.

Megan McCardle (no liberal she) was pretty funny on this:

I think all three million viewers are supposed to come up to her hotel room with a bottle of champagne after the debate.

That also came towards the end of the debate. I think the strain was getting to her, I noticed her accent creeping back in towards the end. She was obviously told to tone it back a bit.

"so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen"

I guess you have to like her in the first place. Those smiles struck me as fake, inappropriate to the occasion, and painfully aggressive.

Maybe Palin's excessive winking was her way of saying, "You know and I know I'm not qualified. So let's run with it."

Also, in Rich Lowry's defense, he probably doesn't get that many women winking at him.

"noo-cu-ler" is irritating but so common that I have maybe become a little inured to it. The one that really grates on me is Palin's pronouncing "-ing" as something like "-een." I had a close friend a long time ago who did that, but she had compensating intellectual attributes. ;)

she went on to say yet again that McCain is "a maverick."

not just a maverick, that's when she said "John McCain has been the consummate maverick".

ooh la la !

and unlike most mavericks, he travels as part of a team!

Donald: I also wonder what the heck he was talking about wrt France and the US running Hizbullah out of Lebanon - I guess he meant to say "Syria" there, in which case I remember there being another important set of protagonists (viz, the Lebanese themselves). And I'm trying to figure out how a NATO presence geared towards eliminating Hizbullah from elective office would have been anything but a disaster.

I had to turn the damn debate off because I was getting too depressed about having to vote for Obama.

Um. Rich Lowry does know that the people in his television can't see him, right?

(1) I have registered on earlier threads that the wink made me want to vomit.
(2) I agree with TCT about the beauty queen element. I had a hunch early on that Palin would come off as catty. And I don't think either women or men identify with catty.
(3) After a week of financial meltdown followed by a week of political meltdown, I don't think the wink came off right. Just a hunch.

I feel like Palin's handlers are coaching her to run the 2000 or 2004 campaign all over again. The Republicans either haven't realized that that's not going to work or haven't been able to come up with an alternative gameplan yet.

The cause-effect switcheroo drove me nutty, too! I mean, my four year old gets them backwards all the time, i.e., "You're mad at me because I'm sad." For a high office candidate to do the same? Yikes.

Crafty Trilobite--

I think Hezbollah is popular enough among Shiites to make talk of kicking them out and keeping them out of government with an outside force sound silly.

Also, in the link below, someone (I haven't seen this blog before) thinks it was a gaffe---Biden was conflating Syrian forces with Hezbollah itself.

Link

hilzoy: he's so mavericky, he defies the very meaning of mavericky!

Crossposted with Tom Scudder, I see.


On a more trivial issue, I'm with JanieM regarding "nukular". IIRC, Jimmy Carter the nuclear engineer said it that way. So it's sort of like listening to someone with a Long Island accent adding r's to words that don't have them--it sounds funny and it's not the correct pronounciation, but so what?

Not that I mean to sound sympathetic to Palin in general. Just on that one point.

Fledermaus: "Also, in Rich Lowry's defense, he probably doesn't get that many women winking at him."

Let's remember, in Rich Lowry's world Michele Malkin and Greta Van What's-Her-Name are "hot."

The interesting point about "nucular" is that that's how Palin said it when McCain first announced her, but then she switched to "nuclear" for the convention speech, when the handlers spelled it out for her phonetically on the teleprompter. I assumed the change was to distance her from Bush. Now that she's back to "nucular" I wonder whether it's because she's rebelling or because the handlers changed their minds.

Also, her "nucular" may well be genuine, the way she grew up saying it. Dubya, on the other hand, surely wasn't raised to pronounce it that way and instead made a conscious choice to say "nucular" to present a particular image.

and unlike most mavericks, he travels as part of a team!

that's the thing about Mavericks: they can travel in pairs, or alone. but never more than two at a time.

(note, the neutrality of the linked article is disputed!)

In addition to the grate of "nucular" there was the pronunciation of Iran as EYE-RAN. Drives me nuts.

it's sort of like listening to someone with a Long Island accent adding r's to words that don't have them

It's kind of a zero-sum arrangement LI'ers have with folks in Boston. No r's are harmed in the transaction.

The interesting point about "nucular" is that that's how Palin said it when McCain first announced her, but then she switched to "nuclear" for the convention speech

It's a down-home, plain folks signifier.

If you say nuc-u-lar, it's a sure sign you buy your ammo at Wal-Mart, and you don't eat arugula. You betcha!

Thanks -

On which note: since when is Alaska in the f***ing "Heartland"? It's a stupid-ass term to begin with, but goldangit, it's our stupid-ass term!

I used to work in the nuclear industry, and there were plenty of managers in the engineering departments that said "nucular" (like Carter may have according to DJ). It annoyed me then, and it annoys me know. I've actually trained a few people out of it by pointing it out every single time they did it.

At the risk of irritating feminists (and even common-sense-afflicted women) everywhere, the first time I saw the beauty contest video my inner Mickey Spillane blurted out: "nice gams, but she's wearing falsies..."

This isn't really on-topic, but it's still Palinalia, so go see http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/221816.php>this clip of Fox via TPM: "Fair And Balanced" gives Palin a chance to answer the Supreme Court question she flubbed with Couric, and she rattles off some talking points she's memorized since then (complete with "imminent domain" - can't she read her talking points?). The Fox spokesdroid then explains that she couldn't answer softball experiments because she hates Katie Couric so much, but she's working on that.

"...that's the thing about Mavericks: they can travel in pairs, or alone. but never more than two at a time."

No, that's the Sith.

that's the thing about Mavericks: they can travel in pairs, or alone. but never more than two at a time.

I swear I've seen five of them on the court at one time. To little effect, or so we believe.

P.S. Just to pat myself on the back: from the same clip I just linked to, now that she's had time to get her programming updated, Palin is a faithful reader of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and sometimes reads The Economist. Almost exactly what I http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/10/i-take-it-all-b.html#comment-132911079>predicted (comment #3) when her absurd "I Read Everything" answer surfaced - except that she apparently didn't bother to praise her main local newspaper - possibly because http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/alaskans-turn.html>they're not fans of hers.

Good call, Warren!

BTW, I am relieved to hear she does not rely on the local Alaska paper. I have read local papers in many cities, and the non-local coverage was noticeably thinner and more superficial in Anchorage's than in other states' major cities'. I can understand why Alaska tends to focus on itself; it's isolated, and it has an atypical economy and climate. But the effect was startling.

If they are on a team of Mavericks, can someone talk Mark Cuban into firing them?

Let me preface this, in case you think I am a Republican troll, by saying that I think Palin is dumber than my cat and twice as evil (although I think both of them are largely evil-by-accident; that is, they just don't know any better).

But on "nucular":

"I've actually trained a few people out of it by pointing it out every single time they did it."

Wow, you must be a real joy to work with. Man, I can't stand people who think that they are imbued with the authority to judge and criticize other people based on their use of language. Here's news for you: you're being a total elitist [XYZ] [elided for the sensitivities of the ObWi audience] when you do that, and you have zero moral authority behind your annoying behaviour.

And while I can appreciate that certain tics are annoying, I'm dead certain that "nucular" is the pronunciation Palin grew up with. It's one thing to say it irritates you. It's another to say that using it makes her a moron.

I posted a very long rant on this somewhere (not that this is exactly brief either - I need an EDITOR) that sadly is not linkable, but in short it really makes me angry that a bunch of supposedly intelligent and broad-minded liberals are being exactly the kind of elitist snobs who use class markers to prejudge other people. When you call someone ignorant or stupid for saying "nucular", you're making exactly, precisely the same kind of category error as someone who thinks they can't trust Obama because he's black. You're making a judgement of someone based on an entirely superficial and irrelevant characteristic, instead of listening to what they have to say. A moment of self-awareness ought to tell you that what you are saying is ridiculously unfair and illiberal.

That doesn't mean all assessments of someone based on their use of language are invalid. There are any number of real mistakes you can make that impair communication. Someone can make mistakes in grammar by the standards of their regional variation because they are confused or ignorant of their own rules. They can be prone to malapropisms. They can be incapable of forming a sentence that expresses a coherent thought. They can make mistakes by reversing clauses in sentences that make it impossible to judge the meaning of what they're saying. They can be unable to answer some questions at all. They can be trying to use a word but be unable to remember even what it is. They can use regionalisms that make no sense to people outside their area to the point where nobody can understand what they're talking about.

And the REALLY annoying part here is that Palin DOES EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE THINGS ALL THE TIME.

So the insulting and unjustified criticism based on "nucular" obscures and undermines criticism of her intelligence based on her real inability to use language to communicate. So good job, oh elitist haters of variant regional pronunciations, you're not only wrong, you're undermining the very point you'd like to make.

If you say nuc-u-lar, it's a sure sign you buy your ammo at Wal-Mart, and you don't eat arugula.

or aruglea

More off-topic Palinalia: http://www.johnmccain.com/downloads/2007TaxForms_Palin.pdf>her tax forms are now out (PDF). She reports her 2007 income as:
Governor's salary: ~$122,400
Todd's salary: ~$46,600
Interest & dividends: <$1,000
Business income: ~$5,000
Capital gains: ~$2,500
Other gains: ~$2,500
Alaska Permanent Fund: ~$3,000

Now, it was my understanding that as Governor, in 2007 and 2008, she's had hundreds of $300 per-diems, and other travel expenses paid, and $25,000 in gifts. It was my - extremely poorly informed - impression that these were reportable and taxable as income. I don't see those in this tax return; http://sarahpalintruthsquad.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/alaska-governor-sarah-palins-financial-assets-detailed/>as best I can tell, the $125,000 for the Governor was pure salary. I assume we'll get well-informed commentary somewhere, but if those are taxable gains they all happened in 2008, I missed them in the PDFs, or there's a problem.

Democrats will vote for the Democrat. Republicans will vote for the Republican. That’s how it has always been.
John McCain and Joe Biden are politicians. They know their numbers, and they know Washington.
What is different about this election is culture. Where is America going, culturally?
This is where Barack Obama and Sarah Palin come in.
Some say race is a factor against Obama, but I say it is the opposite: Obama has been propelled upwards by his skin color. The positive ‘racism’ (Black-Americans supporting him, White-Americans feeling guilty about the legacy of slavery) far outweighs the few remaining pockets of negative racism (traditional bigotry) that still exist in our country.
Whereas Black-Americans account for 12 percent of America, women number about 51 percent.
This is where America’s reaction to Sarah Palin gets interesting. It is not only sexism at play, but regionalism too. Keep in mind that America’s reaction could be vastly different from the media’s reaction, which tries to intervene in how America thinks and observes for itself.
For the last decade, American women have been trying to become either the fifth ‘Manhattanite’ cast member of ‘Sex and the City’ or a ‘Desperate Housewife’ on Wisteria Lane. The White male executives who created, packaged and marketed these female stereotypes have made plenty of money as women across America spent time and money trying to become ‘Carrie Bradshaw’. But somehow, these wanna-be’s never lived it up as glamorously.
Sarah Palin is all about God, Family, Country and Shot-Guns. She is a completely New American Woman. She was not constructed by a Public Relations agency in either New York City or Los Angeles. She is not a Hollywood creation. Sarah Palin is simply a product of American small-town wholesomeness: happy childhood, hard work, self-discipline and a bright, and almost chirpy, outlook on life.
Sarah is not the high-maintenance, drama-seeking, bulimia-suffering fragile caricature of a working woman as peddled by TV.
Her husband, Todd Palin, is not a neurotic metro-sexual obsessing over the price of organic arugula, or whining about his commitment phobias to his shrink. He is a man’s man, and frankly, a woman’s man: just your regular American guy—wholesome and uncomplicated.
Sarah and Todd are American ‘retro’, but it is retro made cool all over again. They are a brand of Americana that has been tested and true—genuine, confident and mature.
Something happened to the Obama brand on the way to the election. It is as if the fashion gods decided that “Didn’t you know? No one wears Obama after Labour Day.”
Once exotic and different, the Obama brand has been turned into something weird and creepy. “Obama’s Witnesses,” “Obama’s Blue-Shirts,” “The Obama Youth Fraternity League”…Plus, after the initial swooning over him, most people still think that there’s something “off” about Obama; as if he’s hollow, or hiding something.
Today, the Obama brand has become decidedly “uncool”. That’s why people tuned out from watching him debate McCain.
On the other hand, Americans are discovering that they are intrigued by Sarah Palin. The TV pundits may want to spin things their way, but the surest measure of who won the Vice-Presidential Debate is that, at the end, the vast majority of viewers walked away from their TV sets and said to themselves, “I’d like to see more of Sarah Palin—unfiltered and uncut.”
The Obama camp may be celebrating too early. There are still plenty of people out there that haven’t made up their mind, and Obama’s triumphalism may begin to sound like arrogance, and he’s already been accused of that.
This is indeed a culturally interesting time to be an American.

mike: there sure are a lot of generalizations in there. I'm sure that this, for one, is false, being myself a woman who has made no such attempt: "American women have been trying to become either the fifth ‘Manhattanite’ cast member of ‘Sex and the City’ or a ‘Desperate Housewife’ on Wisteria Lane."

mike, I liked that comment better the first two (or more?) times you posted it, you know, over here and here. I'm sure posting copies of a prefab comment at lots of blogs makes you feel better, or maybe get McCain points, but it makes you look dumber than Palin, so please stop wasting our time.

OT, but the fact that the "rescue" (no longer a bailout! pshew!) bill passed the house and Bush signed it and it's now law, seems worth mentioning, by the way.

I'm holding my breath waiting for ken to congratulate Nancy Pelosi profusely.

"I need an EDITOR"

I'll work reasonably cheap.

I also tend to agree; I reserve my grammar points for unleashing on choices that blur clarity; the pronunciation of "nuclear" doesn't matter to that.

On the flip side, we're all entitled to a few pet peeves.

Some say race is a factor against Obama, but I say it is the opposite: Obama has been propelled upwards by his skin color. The positive ‘racism’ (Black-Americans supporting him, White-Americans feeling guilty about the legacy of slavery) far outweighs the few remaining pockets of negative racism (traditional bigotry) that still exist in our country.

Show the math, dimster.

If blacks voted for Kerry at the same rate they're voting for Obama, just how much propulsion is he getting from black Americans?

mike: there sure are a lot of generalizations in there. I'm sure that this, for one, is false, being myself a woman who has made no such attempt: "American women have been trying to become either the fifth ‘Manhattanite’ cast member of ‘Sex and the City’ or a ‘Desperate Housewife’ on Wisteria Lane."

Well, mike may write of what he knows.

He should get out more.

"Sarah Palin is simply a product of American small-town wholesomeness"

I'm the product of American big town wholesomeness, myself.

"That’s why people tuned out from watching him debate McCain."

52.4 million Americans disagree with you.

"...but the surest measure of who won the Vice-Presidential Debate is..." what the polls showed:

CBS News/Knowledge Networks survey of 500 uncommitted voters taken after the debate Thursday night found that 46 percent thought Biden won, while 21 percent gave Republican Sarah Palin the victory. While two-thirds found Palin knowledgeable about important issues, 98 percent said the same about Biden.

A separate CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey found similar views, with 51 percent saying Biden did better, to 36 percent favoring Palin.

Perhaps most significant, the CNN survey found that 87 percent thought the Delaware senator was qualified to be president, while 42 percent saw Palin that way.

Argument by assertion, and making up your own facts, doesn't get you very far.

"Show the math, dimster."

Posting rules.

Now, it was my understanding that as Governor, in 2007 and 2008, she's had hundreds of $300 per-diems, and other travel expenses paid, and $25,000 in gifts. It was my - extremely poorly informed - impression that these were reportable and taxable as income.

Gifts I don't think so, but if you're being paid $300 a night to sleep in your own house (even if it's not your tax home), that's not even remotely arguable as a deductible business expense and is considered income as far as the Feds are concerned. Here are the rules.

mike posted that comment to ten different blogs, actually.

I wouldn't count on responses.

Thanks, ericblair.

it really makes me angry that a bunch of supposedly intelligent and broad-minded liberals are being exactly the kind of elitist snobs who use class markers to prejudge other people.

That's a fair point. I brought the nu-cu-lar thing up, so I'll make a reply.

I really don't care if somebody has a regional accent, or if they pronounce words in an inaccurate way. I speak with a regional accent, and mispronounce a number of words in ways that are probably far less explicable than Palin's version of nuclear.

What I find obnoxious to the point that it makes me want to spit is when little things like this are honed to a fine art to cultivate a folksy, down-home aura.

It's done to appeal to a sense of tribal identity, an "us vs them" dynamic, that is shredding any sense of common will and purpose in this country.

Lamar Alexander's red flannel shirt.
Fred Thompson's stupid truck.
George Bush's ranch.
Etc. etc. etc.

It's all freaking theater, and it's all put on by Republicans trying to be the friend of the little guy, whoever the hell that is.

Alexander is an attorney, not a lumberjack.
Thompson rides in limos, not trucks.
Bush don't ride.

It's pure BS.

I don't give a good god damn if someone hunts, fishes, or owns guns. I don't care if they shop at Wal-Mart. I don't care if they go to the evangelical church on Sunday and speak in tongues. I have friends and family that do all of those things, and it just does not bother me at all.

I don't do any of those things. Who cares?

I'm just sick of the culture war BS.

Maybe Palin grew up saying "nu-cu-lar" and that's just the way she pronounces the word. If so, my apologies.

But what I am quite sure of is that, for the last 40 years, Republicans have been running on the myth of the put-upon, victimized "common man". Palin is just the latest installment in that stupid drama.

I'm a common man, dude. I work, I pay my taxes and bills, and a lot of other people's as well. I'm married to my one and only wife, I go to church, I contribute money and time to charities. I do OK money wise but I'm two generations away from penniless immigrants on my mother's side, and one generation from redneck subsistence farmers on my old man's.

Anything else you want to know about my elitist lifestyle?

I'm a common man, and I'm sick of the cornpone BS.

Thanks -

"But what I am quite sure of is that, for the last 40 years, Republicans have been running on the myth of the put-upon, victimized 'common man'."

Since their ancestors, the Whigs, and the campaign of 1840, actually.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/listen-to-the-a.html>Has she increased her folksiness quotient lately? Andrew Sullivan poses the question with a link to a 2006 video.

Given that she was recently offered protection from a witchdoctor, I'm thinking that cause and effect aren't in her toolbox for understanding the world around her.

"Given that she was recently offered protection from a witchdoctor, I'm thinking that cause and effect aren't in her toolbox for understanding the world around her."

Unless you have a cite saying that she either asked for that, or was aware of it before it would happen, I'm unclear how it speaks to her understanding of the world.

I loved your little rant, Jacob Davies, and agree with it heartily. Of course, I have never been able to avoid being snobbish about such things. Perhaps it's because I pronounced nuclear this way when I was young and then "corrected" myself.

We may grow up with certain low-prestige regional dialects; but if you're intelligent and fairly well educated you quickly are forced to make choices about these things with regard to your public persona. I suspect that those of us who discard low-prestige pronunciations and such have an even lower tolerance for those who do not (relative to those who grew up with higher-prestige dialects).

At any rate, it's important for people to understand that there's no such thing as one, single "correct" way to pronounce a word. There are dialectical variations and each is "correct"; there are so many exceptions to a literal phonetic pronunciations of English words that it's absurd to claim that because a word is spelled a certain way, it must be pronounced a certain way. Go argue with the people who live in Leicester if you disagree.

I do agree with Russel's impatience with phony affectations of the common touch; we can certainly guess that much of Bush's public persona is an example of this. But, like Mr. Davies, I don't doubt that Palin is pronouncing nuclear as she always has—whatever else she might not be, she surely is the sort of person to say nook-u-ler.

The MSM addresses Ayers and Obama! The conspiracy of silence is broken!

[...] In March 1995, Mr. Obama became chairman of the six-member board that oversaw the distribution of grants in Chicago. Some bloggers have recently speculated that Mr. Ayers had engineered that post for him.

In fact, according to several people involved, Mr. Ayers played no role inMr. Obama’s appointment. Instead, it was suggested by Deborah Leff, then president of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, whose board the young lawyer had joined the previous year. At a lunch with two other foundation heads, Patricia A. Graham of the Spencer Foundation and Adele Simmons of the MacArthur Foundation, Ms. Leff suggested that Mr. Obama would make a good board chairman, she said in an interview. Mr. Ayers was not present and had not suggested Mr. Obama, she said.

Ms. Graham said she invited Mr. Obama to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Chicago and was impressed.

“At the end of the dinner I said, ‘I really want you to be chairman.’ He said, ‘I’ll do it if you’ll be vice chairman,”’ Ms. Graham recalled.

Oh, darn.

Even setting aside political considerations, every person in the house was utterly repulsed by the cutesyness, the winking, just recoiling in horror. It really did have nothing to do with her politics, it was the uncomfortable feeling we'd get when /anyone/ goes up in public and embarrasses themselves by acting inappropriately in a formal setting and doesn't even realize it.

It cheapened the whole exercise, it was tawdry. I mean, she does realize the importance of the office she's running for?

That aside, I have to say that ever since the first time I heard her speak, Palin has reminded me strongly of my ex-wife from ten years ago, the one who destroyed almost everything I owned and had me thrown in jail on the strength of her ability to lie convincingly. Finding out about Troopergate didn't exactly do a whole lot to tamp down that impression.

Congratulations, Lowry. You just made Keith Olbermann!

russell: "What I find obnoxious to the point that it makes me want to spit is when little things like this are honed to a fine art to cultivate a folksy, down-home aura."

Absolutely. My point re: Palin/nuclear is just that there's both good reason to suppose (given her background) and actual evidence (the fact that it was phonetically spelt "new-clear" on the teleprompter for the RNC speech) that she naturally says "nucular".

She has no shortage of other folksy affectations one can criticize anyway.

Bush was another matter. Though I don't know enough of his upbringing to truly say whether he could have picked up "nucular" naturally.

I do think that the mockery of "nucular" is unproductive and rude though. Why alienate and annoy a pretty large subsection of the population over the way they pronunce of a word? Does this accomplish anything?

("pronounce a word". I told you I needed an editor.)

Hey! More Sarah Palin dishonesty misinterpretation of events!

Remember her claim, in the debate, about that courageous fight she "led" to divest Alaska's funds from companies doing business in Sudan?

Ummm... well... maybe not leading so much .

Really, does nobody in the GOP campaign think that anyone isn't going to look this stuff up? Or did Gov. Mooseburger just pop this out on her own??

Please read the transcript of Gov. Palin's Fox News debate-follow up interview this morning. It looks like a verbatim, unedited transcript(!) and it is CHOCK FULL of interesting nuggets.

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/03/raw-data-transcript-fox-news-interview-palin/

There is just sooo much to comment on...here are some highlights--

She makes it sound like her debate experience was like a night of speed-dating, and appears to ask for more chances to do so. She gives scary responses regarding the role of the vice president. She answers what she reads (was that so hard?) and weirdly slips into using the royal 'we.' She's done that inexplicably at other times as well. She (finally) answers the judicial cases question including mentioning Exxon...clearly has received tons of notes since Couric destroyed her.

Most surprisingly, she makes it pretty clear that "I look forward to speaking to the media more and more everyday and providing whatever access the media would want. My life is certainly an open book." And later on: "Well, I beg to differ with the notion that I was reined in any way. But, if there was any of that, it's over. And we got to be out there." Sounds to me like the show just got extended!

Jacob, speaking just for myself, I object to "nucular" because

a) I only hear it said that way by rednecks, and I disagree with so much of the mainstream redneck worldview

b) When an educated person says it, it means they can't be bothered to change it, which is slovenly, or that they refuse to change it, which is arrogant. People speaking English in America should at least try to use standard American pronounciation; it indicates that they do not consider themselves more important than the rest of the country. Kind of like not burning flags.

c) Because it is a scientific word, inability or refusal to say it properly seems to me to connote contempt for science, and perhaps for the larger world in general. As in, "I ain't gonna larn how to say yer fancy-pants techienowledgey word, Mr. Smarty-Pants elitist scientist." Well, fine, then please stay out of public discourse. If you want to discuss nuclear technology, learn how to say it. Again, arrogance. If you want to learn a subject, any subject, the very first step is to learn the vocabulary; if you won't learn the vocabulary, that indicates you did not approach it willing to learn.

FWIW, I feel exactly the same about people who "ax" me a question. I always want to hatchet them an answer.

I have no problem with accents as such, btw. Leaving off a "g" at the end of participles, nasalizing vowels (whether in Maine, Brooklyn, Tex-Mex, or Ozark fashion) and so forth are very difficult to shake, and I do not draw adverse inferernces from them.

"I have no problem with accents as such, btw."

And dialects?

"People speaking English in America should at least try to use standard American pronounciation; it indicates that they do not consider themselves more important than the rest of the country" and "I have no problem with accents as such, btw," seem to be in strong contradiction.

Comment and followup.

Really, does nobody in the GOP campaign think that anyone isn't going to look this stuff up?

They think, correctly, that many, many more people saw the debate than will see the corrections by the media (for those points the media bothers to correct). If you have no shame and value honesty at zero, then the cost-benefit analysis swings strongly in the direction of lying.

Wait I just saw tape of her winking on Keith Olbermann's show -- are you telling me that's supposed to be a sexual come-on? It looked horrifying.

Why alienate and annoy a pretty large subsection of the population over the way they pronunce of a word? Does this accomplish anything?

Jacob, to be perfectly honest, from my point of view I've been on the receiving end of an unremitting fountain of culture war BS for the last 8 years.

Quite a bit longer than that, actually.

If you want to talk about "alienation" and "annoyance", dude you have come to the mother lode.

Seriously, I don't think you want to go there.

To be as clear as I can possibly be about this -- I don't care how folks pronounce the word. I just don't care.

I care about whether folks like Palin are milking the resentment of "heartland" Americans for their own electoral advantage.

I'm putting "heartland" in quotes because I'm using it as a kind of shorthand here. In real life, I don't see that anyone has any greater claim to that term than anyone else.

From my point of view, rural Georgia is heartland, and Brooklyn is heartland. North central PA is heartland, and Orange NJ is heartland. I have roots in all of those areas, and nobody's taking any of that away from me.

My people paid as much in sweat, blood, and tears to be in this country as anyone else. They have invested as much of their work, sacrifice, and love into this country as anyone else. Money, and lives, also.

So if folks are going to get hung up because I make a comment about Palin's pronunciation of "nuclear", maybe they need to grow a thicker skin and get over it.

Just a thought.

I'm not putting anyone down but Palin. And I'm not talking about her accent, I'm talking about how, in my opinion, she's a panderer and a fraud.

Just my two cents.

I'm happy to have a frank conversation about any aspect of American public life, with anyone. But if the conversation is going to be about whether I eat arugula or not, I'm not sure what the point is.

I don't care about Palin's accent. I don't care about the moose hunting, I don't care about the Harley, I don't care about the pregnant daughter, I don't care about the Pentacostal church, I don't care about five kids, I don't care about the baby with Down's. It's her life and her business, and I wish her well with all of it.

If she comes by "nu-cu-lar" honestly, fine with me.

But I think if you're honest, you'll recognize that she's milking the down home thing for everything it will bring her.

I'm still waiting for her to show any evidence that she has any appreciation for the gravity and scope of the responsibility she's stepping into. VPOTUS is not the PTA, it's not the mayor of Wassilla, and it's not governor of Alaska.

The impression I have is that, from her point of view, it's the next shiny thing on her resume. I don't want her near the White House.

Thanks -

Amy Holmes somehow thinks "Team Obama", rather than her fellow Cornerite Rich Lowry, is the one talking about the power of Palin's winks.

Good news for Democrats.

No, she's referring to this Byron York piece.

In which York just makes some pointless fun of people paying attention to the winking, and then seques into boilerplate praise of Palin and quotes of people praising her.

So what happens if Sarah Palin someday is on the hot red designer phone to Vladimir Putin during a dicey intercontinental missile situation and she says something along the lines of "Golly, Vlad, I hate to break it to ya (wink) but you've given me no choice but to go all nucular on ya" and Vlad's nuclear advisor leans in close to him and whispers, "When they talk like Slim Pickens, they've launched" and Vlad goes all nucular back at us?

If I'm going to be incinerated, I'd prefer the last words I hear on FUCKS News to be pronounced properly, at the very least.

How is it, though, that the dumbasses in our classy culture seem to be able to pronounce "Apocalypse" correctly every time?

Russell: What I find obnoxious to the point that it makes me want to spit is when little things like this are honed to a fine art to cultivate a folksy, down-home aura.

It's done to appeal to a sense of tribal identity, an "us vs them" dynamic, that is shredding any sense of common will and purpose in this country.

I agree with this, but I'm not clear on whether it's fair to pin it on Palin. And I'm not clear if you're commenting on colloquialisms or the accent.

Re the accent: Palin's accent (to me) is not uncommon in Alaska. It's interesting, because it shares a commonality with Canadian and Minnesotan/North Dakotan/Wisconsin accents. Although I don't think I have the accent even though I was born and reared in Alaska, I found many people spoke this way. I always assumed it was something of scandinavian influence, but that's just a guess.

In Sullivan's link posted above by JanineM she has the same accent. I think Sullivan is looking at colloquialisms and not hte accent but in that case the data sample is much too small. From what I saw of Palin before this race she was prone to be less formal than your average politician, but that's just my recollection.

That being said, I have a pet peeve on nuclear was well. But that is now. Coming out of Alaska I said it wrong as well. I heard it pronounced a la Palin all the time in Alaska (apparently that's how I fell into it). Very common, IMHO.

Now I eat arugula and buy my ammo at the local hardware store.

I also have a pet peeve on "corroborating" (amazing how many people can't say that).

bc, "corroborating" is very counter-intuitive, since it's the only word in English in which all the "r"s are properly pronounced as though they were "b"s. I'd give up and go for common usage, if I were you.

Until now I have watched only the first 10 minutes of the debate. My impression of Not-the-other-Palin is that she is a snake (my apologies to all honest legless reptiles).
The way she talks (apart from what she is saying) rings alarm bells with me. I think that sounds like someone one should never turn one's back to because a dagger has to be feared (that's another reason why I consider the Son of Cain's choice extremly unwise).
In the same 10 minutes Biden sounded a bit weary to me in a "Why do I have to be here instead of doing something useful?" way.

>I also have a pet peeve on "corroborating" (amazing how many people can't say that).

>Posted by: bc | October 04, 2008 at 01:44 AM

>bc, "corroborating" is very counter-intuitive, since it's the only word in English in which all the "r"s are properly pronounced as though they were "b"s. I'd give up and go for common usage, if I were you.

>Posted by: Josh | October 04, 2008 at 05:11 AM

What the hell are you people talking about?

I don't care about mispronunciations. This sort of thing,however, does concern me, especially from a journalism major:


"As we send our young men and women overseas in a war zone to fight for democracy and freedoms, including freedom of the press, we've really got to have a mutually beneficial relationship here with those fighting the freedom of the press, and then the press, though not taking advantage and exploiting a situation, perhaps they would want to capture and abuse the privilege. We just want truth, we want fairness, we want balance."


No wonder she went to five colleges before she graduated. I can imagine the peresepctive of her professors: I'm guessing that they tried to teach her to write coherently but hwere unable to do so because she is unable to think coherently and coherent thinking is a prerequisite for coherent writing. not only is she locked into incoherent thinking patterns, but she is unable to criticize herself, unable to acknowledge falut in herself , and therefore, unable to chagne herself:

"My response to her (Katie Couric), I guess it was kind of flippant. But, I was sort of taken aback, like, the suggestion was, 'You're way up there in a faraway place in Alaska, do you know that there are publications in the rest of the world that are read by many?' And I was taken aback by that because, I don't know, the suggestion just was a little bit of perhaps we're not in tune with the rest of the world."

See? Her inability to name a reading source is all Katie Couric's fault! AS, no doubt, her inability to succeed at each college was all the fault of the prefessors.

I'm not sure that the mispronunciation of a word indicates a sloppy mind, but incoherency in speaking and writing does.

Quotes lifted from Political Animal who got them from Faux.

"People speaking English in America should at least try to use standard American pronounciation; it indicates that they do not consider themselves more important than the rest of the country" and "I have no problem with accents as such, btw," seem to be in strong contradiction.

I'd like to address this properly, but as you didn't say why you see a contradiction, all I can do is elaborate on what I meant when I tried to explain the difference by example.

I do not consider "standard English pronunciation" to include minor vowel variations, voiced or un-voiced final consonants, and so forth, for three reasons:

a) they are hard to shake, so it's unfair to ask. This obviously does not apply to a unique change in one word;

b) there is no standard. People pronounce vowels and diphthongs differently in every county. Again, not true for that odd dyslexism, "nucular." It's not a word everyone has their own special way of saying above and beyond the way they say every individual phoneme in the word. There are no such words.

c) they do not change the 'shape' of the word; which would still be spelled the same way. Pronunciation acts by general rule: substitute (after most consonants), "aw" for "o" (Boston), "ar" for "ah" (Fargo), etc. Learn the rule, and you know the spelling. But there is no rule, substitute "cyul" for "cli." It's a mispronunciation, pure and simple. And for the reasons I discussed above, people who in other ways care about their speech and try to correct it but who cling to this particular mistake strike me as arrogant and anti-intellectual.

As to that last point, I'll make a comparison that may be far-fetched: deliberate mispronunciation of "nuclear" is like flying the Confederate flag. With very, very rare historical exceptions, language is at least as important to national unity as a flag is. This is why some people get incensed about minor points of the so-called 'flag code.' I don't, because most people don't know the code, and 'violations' do not change the flag itself. But it is a very different thing to fly the wrong flag entirely, and especially to fly a flag that, bluntly, acted as a national standard only while that nation was at war with our own and that was flown by men who killed hundreds of thousands of our troops. And yet that flag, like "nucular" and by mostly the same people, is defended as a beloved regional affectation and an assertion of independent thinking, and those who object are called elitist and unfeeling. I suggest that in both cases, the people who reject the national standard so they can cling to an imagined grievance need to get over themselves and join the country.

I suggest that in both cases, the people who reject the national standard so they can cling to an imagined grievance need to get over themselves and join the country.

Thank you.

The title essay in Geoffrey Nunberg's Going Nucular discussed this pronunciation, and I was dithering over trying to summarize his discussion. Now I don't have to, as he's posted on the subject at Language Log.

Russell and Crafty Trilobyte are my new heroes. Particularly the extinct one, since I have a thread of linguist-geek in me as well.

You know, Jimmy Carter, who actually served on nuclear-powered submarines, used to say "nucular," and probably still does. I think the class of people who need to get over things is larger than one might imagine.

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