Monday, September 15, 2008

Sarah Palin, Translated

This is long. This is really long. Also, I apologize to anyone who subscribes to my feed, as I've edited this a ridiculous number of times.

So . . . Sarah Palin. Yes, I'm talking about her again. I'm sorry. But today I'm not going to talk about her self-serving political decisions or, to sort of borrow a phrase from Al Franken, about the fact that she is a lying liar who tells lies. Nay. Let's talk about this: can the lady form a goddamn sentence, please? I'm not even talking about the idiotic content of her interview; I'm talking about form.

I watched a couple of the ABC interview clips and while watching them, I thought, "Is it just me, or is she not speaking English?"

No, it's not just me. I'm reading the transcript of the three interviews right now and holy hell, I don't think anyone ever taught her how sentences are constructed. Here's a choice excerpt below. Keep in mind: this paragraph is made of a mere two sentences.

"But, Charlie, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state ... these last couple of weeks ... it has been overwhelming to me that confirmation of the message that Americans are getting sick and tired of that self-dealing and kind of that closed door, good old boy network that has been the Washington elite."
What the fuck did you just say, woman? Okay . . . here's what she was trying to say:

The desire of the American people is to put an end to the political machine, as it is currently run. No more politics as usual. They don't want another politician with a big, fat Washington resume proving that they're part of the establishment. Sure, those types have had the opportunities to meet heads of state that I have not had. However, these last couple of weeks have shown me that the American people are sick and tired of that type, sick and tired of the self-serving Washington elite and the closed door in the politics; closed to everyone but the network of Good Ol' Boys.
Isn't that a nicer read, the way I put it? Maybe I should be VP. I'm certainly a Washington outsider. And as a bonus, I know how English works.

I get it, Palin. You're nervous. That's fair. This is a nervewracking situation. I wouldn't be able to speak very eloquently if I were being interviewed by Charlie Gibson about American politics. Oh, you know what? That reminds me! You know who I don't want as my Vice President? Someone who gets so nervous by Charlie Gibson that she can't form a proper fucking sentence. She is unprepared, damnit. For all her supposed "un-blinking" stoutheartedness, she is unprepared to be in Washington if she's going to rape the English language in this manner when she's nervous. Why not just take a shovel to E.B. White's grave and then give him a good slap in the face while you're at it, lady? I'm not saying my grammar is perfect. I wish it were. I wish I fully understood dangling modifiers or whatnot. I don't. I'm not saying you need to speak English as though you'd helped author the Oxford English Dictionary. But can you avoid embarrassing me, please? This is embarrassing.

Here's another classic:

"First off, we're going to continue good relations with Saakashvili there. I was able to speak with him the other day and giving him my commitment, as John McCain's running mate, that we will be committed to Georgia."
Can you please stick with a past or present tense? You didn't speak to someone the other day and "giving" him your commitment. You gave him your commitment. You gave him.

"I do believe unprovoked and we have got to keep our eyes on Russia, under the leadership there. I think it was unfortunate. That manifestation that we saw with that invasion of Georgia shows us some steps backwards that Russia has recently taken away from the race toward a more democratic nation with democratic ideals. That's why we have to keep an eye on Russia."
What? Keep your "eyes on" and "under?" You can't do both. Pick one. "Manifestation that we saw with that invasion?" Sure, it was a manifestation. It was a manifestation of power. That was totally unclear from the way you put it. You don't manifest an invasion. The invasion was the manifestation. "Some steps backward that Russia has recently taken away from the race toward [...]?" ***BNFdjyDbfdfsdf####@@@!!! Backwards, away, from, race toward? Is this a square dance?

You know what your speaking style is like, lady? It's like a 15-year-old kid trying to write her first high school English paper. But there's a word count she has to reach, so she's littering words all over the fucking place. Words she thinks sound very grown up and thoughtful, but really they just muddy the whole thing and make her thesis nearly impossible to suss out. Oh, and she probably didn't read the book. I'd just as soon elect my tenth grade paper on Tess of the d'Ubervilles to the Vice Presidency as I would Sarah Palin.

"And, Charlie, you're in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors. We need to have a good relationship with them. They're very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor."
Aggghhhh! What? The United States, the 49th state, Alaska, AND Russia? You named TWO things as though they were FOUR. And then what are you doing saying "they're our next door neighbor" twice in so short a period of time?

"We cannot repeat the Cold War. We are thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War, without a shot fired, also. We've learned lessons from that in our relationship with Russia, previously the Soviet Union. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it's in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along."
Firstly, "Without a shot fired, also?" That . . . that is nonsense. And why are you saying, "previously the Soviet Union?" We know that. Why are you saying that? It's so patently unnecessary. "We must have good relationship with our allies?" Are you a cave person? Throw an A in there! "Pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia [...]?" That . . . that doesn't make any sense. That's not a sentence. And why are you saying "also" so much?

"But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely, at this point and I think that we need to -- especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, we have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members. We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today."
Sworn IN. Sworn IN. FROM either ticket. FROM. "In a very dangerous world today?" As opposed to defending one another from the dangerous world of yesterday? Why tack on "today?" Or at least say, "dangerous world of today." It just sounds so sloppy, tacking it on at the end.
"What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We have got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries. And we have got to be vigilant. We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is what it leads to."
I find your avoidance of using the contraction "we've" to be highly suspect. Again, this goes back to that tenth grader writing an English composition. That's weird. That's a fools attempt to sound eloquent. That's not how you elevate your speech, Palin. You elevate your speech by ELEVATING YOUR SPEECH. No amount of contraction avoidance is going to save you.

"We need to pursue those and we need to implement those. We cannot back off. We cannot just concede that, oh, gee, maybe they're going to have nuclear weapons, what can we do about it. No way, not Americans. We do not have to stand for that."
This segment here isn't great, but it's not particularly bad either. I just can't believe she just said, "No way, not Americans. We do not have to stand for that."

"You know, there is a very small percentage of Islamic believers who are extreme and they are violent and they do not believe in American ideals, and they attacked us and now we are at a point here seven years later, on the anniversary, in this post-9/11 world, where we're able to commit to never again."
Gah. That was one sentence. That whole thing was one sentence. And "commit to never again?" That's not a real thing. What is that? Don't hammer your shitty made up phrase into a sentence like you're at a Whack-A-Mole. You may as well have said, "We're able to commit to never again never forget these colors don't run freedom isn't free."

"I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people."
"[...] families we are blessed with that vote of the American people [...]" FAMILIES WE ARE BLESSED WITH THAT VOTE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? What are you trying to say? What in God's name were you trying to get across just then? This time, honestly, I have no idea. The other sentences, odious as they were, at least I could pare it down and get your meaning. But this . . . this is unbelievable. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? You're like a slot machine, spinning around with crazy talking points and catchphrases and the word "family" and "January 20" and "Islamic extremists." And who knows WHAT is going to come out of your mouth when we pull the sidearm.

I just . . . I know it seems like I can't let go of what an insane choice this was for John McCain to make, but look at this interview. Look at it. Have you ever seen a politician speak with so little mastery of their native language? Even Bush looks good compared to this. He would use wrong words and made up words, but at least sentences came out.

John McCain is out of his gourd.

Transcript here:

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