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Thursday, 28 March 2013 10:22

The Far Right Swings Language Like a Cudgel

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DerpPalinFINALWhat is it about language that seems to confound conservatives? Why do most of them insist on saying "Democrat" when they should more properly use the adjective "Democratic?" Perhaps it’s because they don’t want their supporters to be confused into thinking that the adjective, rather than simply modifying a word, does in effect define a group politically.


Everyone from Reince Pribus to the lowest of the low - a category that includes Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin - is comfortable in the world of malapropisms, tenses that don’t agree and mispronunciations borne of a tendency to colloquialism. When a president, namely W, repeatedly says "Nooculer" instead of "Nuclear," and even Bob Woodard does the same, what are we to make of such linguistic transgressions? It’s one thing to dismiss a bumbling leader of the free world, but Bob Woodard?


And so we are left with a meaningless jumble of words that rarely clarify a thought process. There are times when, after a particularly arduous path around an impenetrable maze of non-sequiturs and unreliable "facts," one despairs of ever uncovering anything meaningful. There are speakers and experts and anchors willing to expound on every issue if given half a chance. But when they are finished speaking one is no closer to the truth; if anything, it is more elusive than ever. Yet we all keep striving mightily as if we could make a difference, as if some magic formula would suddenly emerge to make sense of the world and sweep the clouds of partisan rancor away.


But that never seems to happen, and when all else fails, critics resort to name-calling whether or not they really understand what the words mean. Commies, Fascists, Socialists: whatever term fits their mental condition of the moment and whatever sounds most insulting to their political opponents. There have even been some who conflate Hitler’s "Social Democrats" with today’s Socialism.


We continue to listen, however, on the chance that an occasional gem may meet us head on. As it is said...hope springs eternal.


(Photo: Gage Skidmore)