Friday, September 26, 2008

Couric and Palin and Orwell

[Welcome, Daily Dish readers.]

Another unanswered question:

Couric: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend 700 billion dollars helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas, and groceries, allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy rather than helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

Palin: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh, it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade — we have, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today. We've got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation, this bailout is a part of that.
As George Orwell points out in "Politics and the English Language," one need not take on the responsibility of thinking when composing sentences:
You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connexion between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.
Look at what we have here — ready-made phrases, stray bits of language, as if pulled together from some desperate cramming for an exam: back on the right track, health care reform, job creation, one in five jobs, opportunity, reform that is needed, reducing taxes, reining in spending, shore up our economy, tax reductions, tax relief, the trade sector, the umbrella of job creation.

You know no one's home when we're told that "reducing taxes . . . has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief."

Stop, look, and listen: Katie Couric interviews Sarah Palin (YouTube)

Related posts
George Orwell on historical truth
"Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word."

comments: 26

RHM said...

It's amazing. You can pick any sentence in the transcripts of this interview and never make sense of it.

This implosion is just beginning.

RHM

Anonymous said...

My theory is that they've implanted a microchip into Palin's brain intended to prompt her answers from all the crammed together talking points. The chip, developed for Bush and now inserted into McCain, works OK but is misfiring in her female brain thus accounting for all the utterly nonsensical utterances.

JBW said...

Let me be the first reader linking from the Dish to say, "Well put." www.brainrageblog.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

what bothers me most is the percentage of Americans who actually think she just said SOMETHING

BORC
Blurt Out Random Crap really does work in America

Anonymous said...

Dear Young Jedi Sarah,

About talking points:

You have to talk the points.

Don't let the points talk you

On the other hand, I would like to hear her version of Ecclesiastes in the King James....

UWS guy said...

You nailed it.

Two legs bad, two wheels good said...

Even Orwell never thought it would get this bad.

Philip Thrift said...

The answer is simple:

She's speaking in tongues.

Anthony said...

Orwell was talking about remarks that have been written in advance, rather than someone just flailing around out of their depth. We don't expect drowning men to do a good breaststroke.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, everyone, for reading and commenting.

Anthony, you're right that Orwell is speaking of writing, but one paragraph later, he refers to a speaker and a platform and then to "political speech and writing." These "ready-made phrases" seem to apply in both contexts.

T. said...

Michael, if only I could vote for YOU...

Anonymous said...

If they wanted a Palin in a dress, they should have gone for Michael Palin. He brings in the Christianists with Life of Brian & Meaning of Life (Every sperm is sacred/Every sperm is great/If a sperm gets wasted/God gets quite irate), he opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere" and he's better with the press.

Muser said...

Agreed, she speaks gibberish, at best, but look whom Americans elected twice as president. The abilities and to think and to speak well simply don't seem to matter any more.

Grey Hound said...

Palin and now McCain in tonight's debate make me think of this Lewis Carroll line: "What I tell you three times is true" (from "Hunting of the Snark" ha ha).
Did domebody coach McCain to keep repeating "What Sen. Obama fails to understand is ..."? As if saying it constantly would make us believe it? Snark!

Michael Leddy said...

Great to see so much intelligence and humor in these comments!

What John McCain doesn't yet know is that every time he says "What Senator Obama fails to understand," someone somewhere is adding $5 to a chunk of money about to go to the Obama campaign.

Robert said...

I'm still reserving judgement about her cognitive ability until such time as she is allowed to speak and defend her own mind rather than McCain's.

Anonymous said...

It's a tactic. Set the bar so low that any outcome from the VP debate will not be a failure.

Anonymous said...

Palin is just reciting portions of Lucky's speech from "Waiting for Godot."

Michael Leddy said...

Anon., Beckett (qua qua qua) will never look the same to me now.

Anonymous said...

Bush may lend her his earpiece.

Anonymous said...

The really scary part is that everytime anyone uses the word "trade," she's thinking e-bay. In other words, when everyone in the country is unemployed (which is pretty much the case in Alaska), then they should just go on e-bay and see if they can trade their kids' old shoes for a sack of beans, for example. I'll trade you some old shoes for some food.

The really tragic part is that the country is full of intelligent, educated, capable women, but by selecting the cutsey-folksy beauty-queen with the speech impediment (I've been thinkin', of doin', somethin' ...), the lady who knows absolutely nothing about the country or the world, McCain displays his own arrogant and nasty attitude towards women, and feeds all the anti-female right-winger throughout the country. I think Paulin is incompetent, but I cringe when I hear some of the jokes about her, because they're being made about all women, and could serve to keep women out of the top political spots in the future.

HeyTeach said...

While I think McCain's choice of running mate (read "ruining mate") is laughable at best, I have to offer an alternate prediction of the effects of Palin on the top political spots for women:
Maybe Palin's manifest incompetency will inspire others to get in there and do better. At minimum, we can expect comments such as "Well, at least she's not Palin." That would be high praise, at least for a while.

Then this ocurred to me Wednesday night: McCain/Palin is just like Bush/Cheney, but without the benefit of Cheney's intelligence. *shudder*

Michael said...

There is something fascinating about the way she talks and talks but somehow it is totally devoid of any obvious meaning.
It reminds me of some of William Burroughs experimental writing where he would cut up books pages into phrases and then he would string them together in a sort of dada stream of consciousness prose poem. The structures and components of English were there but the original meaning had been subverted into something mysterious and alien.

Michael Leddy said...

A friend has wondered about word salad.

Jennifer C. said...

All of these non-answers leave me feeling Palin doesn't know the answers. She can't think for herself and she is prepared to be V.P., much less President.

Living in Texas, I'm surrounded my Republicans. A female friend said she loved the part of the VP debate when Palin essentially said she wouldn't be answering questions. Seriously, why would this be a good thing. She obviously doesn't know the answers and can only speak on things she has memorized.

Anonymous said...

You raise a good point, no doubt, about Mrs. Palin. However, the same could be said about the question, that, no matter how prepared, drifts into the exact same realm of ready-made phrases and code words, such as "middle-class families," "groceries," and "big financial institutions."

The critical question is, where are the metrics from either individual accompanying their statement? On Ms. Couric's end, the stimulus has not helped "middle-class" families significantly (whatever middle-class means), nor has it come at the price of not helping "big financial institutions."

On Mrs. Palin's end, well, I don't know where to begin.

In the future, let's call out violators regardless of political affiliation, shall we? That's the problem...It's not Sarah Palin vs. us, or Couric/Media vs. us. It's THEM vs. us. They carry on a most unfortunate symbiotic relationship.