“Pom-pom palaver”: Palin’s patois

Pom-pom: n. a handheld usually brightly colored fluffy ball flourished by cheerleaders

Palaver: n.  idle talk, misleading or beguiling speech

Patois: n.  a dialect other than the standard or literary dialect; uneducated or provincial speech (from the French)

OK. At the moment I’m sorry I bashed Maureen Dowd for being a piranha. She is on fire today over the Palin person’s use of language. Palin comes from a long line of Republican manglers of the English language, but is even worse than GW and Poppy Bush.

With her pompom patois and sing-songy jingoism, Palin can bridge contradictory ideas that lead nowhere: One minute she promises to get “greater oversight” by government; the next, she lectures: “Government, you know, you’re not always a solution. In fact, too often you’re the problem.”Talking at the debate about how she would “positively affect the impacts” of the climate change for which she’s loath 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.”

Hundreds of pithy comments ensued. A selection:

When I listen to her I feel like I put the car radio on SCAN and I am skipping from station to station in 3 second intervals. I believe that the way a person uses language is indicative of their thought and decision-making processes — muddled language, muddled decisions. If her ability to make sound, evidence-based decisions is reflected in her use of language (as I witnessed it last Thursday), God help us if she ever attains a position of real power.

The fact that Palin had to cram for a week just to become (vaguely) familiar with current affairs should automatically disqualify her from the race. Would you hire a doctor or lawyer with such a lack of understanding?

The Rovian minions take advantage of all of this and continue to package ruin in a palatable and unassuming way. Many distracted people seem all too willing to eat it up.

A columnist hardly has to write anything around the actual quotations of Governor Palin. They are comprised of folksy vocabulary strewn in with the absolutely inane stringing together of words in hopes that no one will notice that they really make no sense. But they certainly provide an accurate sense of who she is… It reminds me of what my old social work professor once said: “We don’t demand enough of attractive people. It’s almost enough for us that they are simply attractive.”

Isn’t a “team of mavericks” an oxymoron?

Perhaps this part of the McCain/Palin healthcare plan: why have expensive doctors (who spent years studying) when you can get someone off the street to read up on the surgery the night before.
Governor Palin has already accomplished a seemingly impossible feat by making George W. Bush sound like William F. Buckley.

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.)

Bob Herbert continues in a similar P-word vein: Palin as punctuation to the Bush years:

Sarah Palin is the perfect exclamation point to the Bush years.We’ve lived through nearly two terms of an administration that believed it could create its own reality:  “Deficits don’t matter.” “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.” “Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere.”

Now comes Ms. Palin, a smiling, bubbly vice-presidential candidate who travels in an alternate language universe. For Ms. Palin, such things as context, syntax and the proximity of answers to questions have no meaning.  …

If Governor Palin didn’t like a question, or didn’t know the answer, she responded as though some other question had been asked. She made no bones about this, saying early in the debate: “I may not answer the questions the way that either the moderator or you want to hear.”

The problem with Ms. Palin’s candidacy is that John McCain might actually win this election, and then if something terrible happened, the country could be left with little more than an exclamation point as president.

After Ms. Palin had woven one of her particularly impenetrable linguistic webs, Joe Biden turned to the debate’s moderator, Gwen Ifill, and said: “Gwen, I don’t know where to start.”

Of course he didn’t know where to start because Ms. Palin’s words don’t mean anything. She’s all punctuation.

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