Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Getting over it, whatever "it" is . . .

If  "refudiate" wasn't considered a word yesterday, it probably is today. After all, it most likely saw more print and Twitter space over the last couple of days than any word over five letters. As Peter Grief put it yesterday in the Christian Science Monitor, "Never 'misunderestimate' the beauty and adaptability of the English language."

Unless you've been living in total seclusion, you already know that the redoubtable Sarah Palin (love her, hate her, she does give us something to tweet about) stated Sunday that Muslims should "refudiate" the current plan to build a mosque close to the World Trade Center site. (Photograph by: Brian Snyder, Reuters).
And then, when the Tweet-o-sphere (new term possibly?) went wild, she calmly shot back that, "Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Get over it!"

The blogosphere (is this still considered a non-word?) has gone wild over Sarah P. comparing herself to Shakespeare. Ken Rudin, NPR's Political Junkie, weighed in. As did ABC news, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Vancouver Sun, etc, etc, etc.

I ask you, could Sarah P. have come up with a better way to get herself out there, yet again? I, personally, don't think so.

Carolyn Kellogg, writing in the LA Times did some serious (?) research on Ms. Palin's comparison of her writing (tweeting?) with the Bard's:
So is Sarah Palin like Shakespeare?
According to the I Write Like tool, Palin's 2008 speech to the Republication National Convention, in which she said, "I was just your average hockey mom," is like Dan Brown. Her keynote speech at the inaugural Tea Party Convention in February 2010 reads like -- wait for it -- Cory Doctorow.
But those are speeches, which of course read a little differently than what appears on the page. Could Sarah Palin's book "Going Rogue" be written like Shakespeare?
Alas, alack: no. The first several hundred words of Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" read like H.P. Lovecraft. . .
So much copy, all generated by one little word and one reactive comparison. Wow, Sarah P's got the People Magazine crowd beaten by a mile in the race for self-promotion.

As to "refudiate," the non-word generating such scrutiny, I rather like it. It suggests repudiation done with an extra stamp of the foot. I plan on using it in the future (along with most of America?).  I hope I will have the guts not to disrespect (a real word - dating back to early 17th C.) Sarah Palin's attempt to communicate her thoughts by delivering "refudiate" in verbal quotation marks. I must confess that we Woodroofs have a non-word of our own, "repozzled," that is firmly entrenched in Woodroofian speak.  It was generated by a mistake Charlie made in a crossword puzzle, and we use it to describe a state of puzzled wonderment.

Back to Sarah P, though, because that's where my focus belongs, right?

Many of us do tend to take Ms. Palin soooooooo seriously. What I can never tell is whether Sarah P. takes herself seriously. Or if she just winks to herself about how she's somehow gotten herself this really good, fun gig that can make her enough money to keep her and her amorphous brood in guns and hockey sticks and jet skis for a long, long, looooooong time.


  1. What fascinates us most about Sarah Palin is that she is us: mistake prone, foot-in-mouth-at-times, able to laugh at herself, gutsy and opinionated, but also fiercely devoted to what she believes and especially to those things she holds most dear, her family and her country. Whether one likes her politics or loathes them, we are all like her.

  2. A very long discussion could be had on whether Palin's behavior demonstrates that she is "fiercely devoted" to her country. (Re previous comment.) I am more inclined to believe she is laughing all the way to the bank. I am seldom this cynical, but the fierce devotion that I see being demonstrated by Palin and others like her leave me less than hopeful about our country's ability to face the tough challenges ahead.

  3. MG -- I think there are few people with as much confidence as Sarah Palin appears to have, given her ignorance. Who dares to put themselves in the public eye with so little armor? It strikes me that most people are more self aware and more cautious about the limitations of their abilities, regardless of how strongly they hold their views. Her personality may explain why she's a politician, but in my view, it doesn't make her particularly like the people whose hearts she is trying to capture. Unless maybe you mean that she is very easy to pity?