Wednesday, February 18, 2009

At last! A president whose sentences might be diagrammed....

From Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post...

Something that most people - even his political opponents - agree on is that President Barack Obama is a fairly gifted orator. On those occasions when he speaks extemporaneously, he still struggles with vocalized pauses - those lengthy "Uhhmmms" and "Errrrrs" - but in general, he can compose articulate sentences and typically does fine work with a prepared speech.

But is GRAMMAR, itself, in the tank for Obama? Apparently so, and all it takes to reveal this truth is a trip back to the most hated part of your middle school education: sentence diagramming. [At left], blogger Garth Risk Hallberg diagrammed a sentence from Obama's recent press conference - coincidentally, his response to the question put to him by our own Sam Stein:

My view is also that nobody's above the law, and, if there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any ordinary citizen, but that, generally speaking, I'm more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards.

You can read the rest of Linkin's post here, including some of Hallberg's analysis... the rest of Hallberg's post may be found here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

a new GOP-specific form of aphasia?

The inimitable Bob Cesa, at the Huffington Post, has published a litany of examples of how the Republican Party is losing its mind, its logic, sense of syntax, etc. Of course, this should not be a surprise, given the past eight years, when their party's leader was one of the most linguistically challenged politicians within memory.

After giving dozens of examples of plain lunacy-- including a very strange Bushism that was completely new to me and I thought I'd heard them all-- Cesca concludes with the following:

They have indeed totally lost their shpadoinkle and despite purely involuntary spikes in my blood pressure, it's so much fun to watch. By successfully debunking their lies, rising above their bait and merely presenting a contrast of character, President Obama is making the Republican A-listers appear small, petty and absolutely befuddled. They're frantically struggling to figure out how to counterpunch, so they're grabbing, borrowing or downright plagiarizing ideas from anywhere, irrespective of the general quality of the idea. And if the Republicans are at all interested in continued survival, someone they respect should probably smack their hands and scold: Drop that filthy Limbaugh quote! You don't know where it's been! [emphasis is mine]

But if this is their "voice" and they're satisfied with it, I for one welcome the new Republican "voice" and wish them a hearty and very sincere: Good luck with that.