The journalingo of Sarah Palin

The Sarah Palin Colouring & Activity Book by Julie Sigwart and political satirist Micheal Stinson

EX-ALASKAN governor and US presidential wannabe Sarah Palin’s recent Twitter gaffe has elicited a whole load of laughs, as well as some more serious debate on the evolution of the English language.
For anyone who hasn’t been following the furore, “the former vice-presidential candidate, who regularly uses the social networking website to communicate her views, made three attempts before writing an error-free Twitter entry, which can only contain 140 characters,” explains The Telegraph.
“In her first effort, she asked ‘peaceful Muslims’ to ‘pls refudiate the mosque’. Having invented a word, in her second attempt she used ‘refute’ incorrectly, calling on ‘peaceful New Yorkers to refute the Ground Zero mosque plan’.
“This misstatement has become an international story,” writes the Guardian’s Sarah Churchwell “because Palin defended it on the basis that English is a living language, and that both George W Bush and Barack Obama have been guilty of similar solecisms, with “misunderestimate” and “wee-wee’d up”, respectively. After putting herself in presidential company, she finished by pointing out that Shakespeare liked to invent words too.”
But then, as Churchwell points out, there’s no sure way of finding out whether Shakespeare really invented them or was simply the first to record them, is there?
And why shouldn’t “refudiate” be a word, asks Slate.
“One of the appeals of Sarah Palin – or one of her infuriating habits, depending on your perspective – is that she absolutely refuses to be embarrassed. She will not admit that her use of this non-word … deserves correction.
Madam Malaprop?
But none of this is new. As long ago as September 2008, Robert S McElvaine  felt the need to “ExPalin” Sarah’s mishaps.
“Whatever else the 2008 presidential campaign may produce, it has given us a new word: ExPalination. Someday it may take its place in our language alongside malapropism and Bushism,” he wrote.
“Every time Gone Old Party vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin opens her mouth in an unscripted moment (those moments have been precious few, of course – which is understandable in light of what happens in them), she utters words in answers to questions that offer insights into both her utter lack of knowledge and John McCain’s utter disinterest in putting ‘country first’, as demonstrated in his selection of this totally unprepared person.”
An Open Letter to Sarah Palin, Politician, Mom, Innovatrix 
Addy Dugdale salutes her “innovatista” ways in his entertaining epistle:
“Case in point, your kids’ names: Trig, Bristol, Pup, Skisledge and Hambone (copy editor: please check spelling on those last two). If that isn’t innovation, I am a banana, albeit a left-handed one. Sure, we can attribute the clever names to your Bachelorette of Arts in Communications (with minor in Journalingo), but the real source of brilliance is your fertile imagina.
“In fact, the closer we examine your life (via Wikipedia entry), the more we realise just how much you and Shakespeare have in common. Perhaps a rogue bit of DNA was carried on the wind from late 16th-centurion England over to America.
“A Shakespore, if you like.” 

 

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This entry was posted by stevieg on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 9:03 am and is filed under General . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Comments

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