She came, she saw, she mangled | india | Hindustan Times
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She came, she saw, she mangled

Sarah Palin’s recent media blitz felt more like an assault on the English language, writes Dick Cavett.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2008 23:58 IST

I suppose it will be recorded as among political history’s ironies that Sarah Palin was brought in to help John McCain. What will politicos learn from this? That frayed syntax, bungled grammar and run-on sentences that ramble on long after thought has given out completely are a candidate’s valuable traits?

What on earth are teachers supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the serial syntax-killer from Wasilla High: “My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent....” And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”

It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any.

I worry about just what it is her hollering fans see in her that makes her the ideal choice to deal with the world’s problems: collapsed economies, global warming and our twin battlefronts, either of which may prove to be the world’s second “Thirty Years’ War”. I’d love to hear what you think has caused such an alarming number of our fellow Americans to fall into the Sarah Swoon.

Could the willingness to crown one who seems to have no first language have anything to do with the lamented fact that we seem to be alone among nations in having made the word ‘intellectual’ an insult?

I do not wish Palin ill. But I also don’t wish us ill. I hope she continues to find happiness in Alaska. May I confess that upon first seeing her, I liked her looks? With the sound off, she presents a not uncomely frontal appearance. But now, as the Brits say, “I’ll be glad to see the back of her.”

(The New York Times)