Yakkety Yak

OK, so Caribou Barbie didn’t fall flat on her face. I have to admit after seeing her “performance” (and that’s really the right word for it), that I dislike her a little less. Only a little, though. She didn’t come off like a blithering idiot, as she did with both Charles (“Charlie, Charlie, Charlie”) Gibson and Katy Couric. (A little aside:  who would have thought Katy Couric would become a pit bull with lipstick herself. She may not be a good anchor, but she seems to be demonstrating that she does have a decent place in broadcast journalism).

I was kind of endearing (I will admit) that Palin asked Joe Biden before the debate started if she could call him Joe. But after a while all those “aw shucks” and “Joe Sixpacks” started to really grate on me. All the pundits are saying, “she had to do what she did:  show that she could hold her own in the debate.” Excuse me????? Hold her own. I think not. “Holding your own” in a debate means being able to thrust and your opponent and parry when he strikes you. What she actually did was mostly duck the questions, even going so far as to admit she was not going to answer the question. This isn’t “holding your own;” this is “cutting and running” (to use one of the Republicans’ now-seemingly-retired phrases). The talking Palin doll has increased her repository of talking-point phrases, but that was about all. While Joe Biden reeled off facts and figures, Palin talking in hick generalities punctuated with cliches right and left. Like her running mate, she kept repeating the same tag lines over and over, regardless of whether they were true, or had any relevance to the question at hand. Am I the only one who noticed that she was frequently reading the talking points off her notecards?

On the surface, she seemed self-assured and reasonably informed. But did you listen to her talk? Much like Dubya’s famous mangling of the English language, Palin’s mouth frequently got ahead of whatever it is that passes for a brain in there. Yes, there were nouns and verbs and conjunctions and the occasional adverb. But a great many of her sentences just made absolutely no sense. They sounded like they were English, but they were really just a series of partial bullet points strung together in random order, sort of like the “Military Intelligence” game where you randomly pick works from three different columns to construct a seamingly meaningful but ultimate nonsensicle phrase.

When, oh when, did education, verbal ability and mental agility become negative qualities? John Kennedy famously searched out the “best and the brightest.” We seem now to have entered an era where lack of intellectual curiosity and lack of education are deemed good qualities. Perhaps this is another indication of how low the bar is being set. But then what would one expect after 8 years of George Bush?

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