Quotes of the day

“This reminds me of toddlers who speak from inside their own experience in a related way: they will come up to you and comment about something said by a neighbor you’ve never met, or recount to you the plot of an episode of a TV show they have no way of knowing you’ve ever heard of. Palin strings her words together as if she were doing it for herself — meanings float by, and she translates them into syntax in whatever way works, regardless of how other people making public statements do it…

“Palinspeak is a flashlight panning over thoughts, rather than thoughts given light via considered expression…

“The modern American typically relates warmly to the use of English to the extent that it summons the oral — ‘You betcha,’ ‘Yes we can!’ — while passing from indifference to discomfort to the extent that its use leans towards the stringent artifice of written language. As such, Sarah Palin can talk, basically, like a child and be lionized by a robust number of perfectly intelligent people as an avatar of American culture. And linguistically, let’s face it: she is.”

***
“Paglia hits the nail on the head. This attack on Palin is similar to the attacks against the Tea Parties and the working class: We’re average, non-Ivy League, and out of our league to these people. They supposedly know what’s best for us.

“Sure McWhorter makes a fair point that politicians are not the most articulate human beings. However, am I supposed to look for promise by the way some phrases their sentences or uses complicated terminology to evoke a simple message? Or should I look at a pragmatic politician who doesn’t dillydally with pre-written speeches, slogans, and packaged appearances? I’ve had enough of professorial types dictating to me what makes a credible leader.”

***
“What does it mean to use words that suggest that you see abstractions in your mind in a spatial way? If McWhorter were writing about someone he liked, I’ll bet he would posit intelligence. But he concludes that it means that Palin has the mentality of a child…

“A child talking about something he doesn’t realize you don’t know and Palin talking about ideas as if she visualizes them in an abstract place — those 2 things pop up together in your head. Do you see how easy it would be for me to portray you as childish for jumping from something about Palin to something about toddlers that it reminds you of?”