Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dissecting Sarah Palin's sentences: Even the experts are stumped

The Madame wondered what her high school English teacher would make of Kitty Burns Florey's attempts to diagram Sarah Palin's utterances. Even Florey had to throw in the towel on this one:
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.
Palin, in her Charlie Gibson interview
Florey is the author of Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog, a history of diagramming sentences. In an article for, she writes:
"Granted, diagramming usually deals with written English. We don't expect speech to reach the heights of eloquence or even lucidity that the written word is capable of. In our world, politicians don't do much writing: Their preferred communication is the canned speech. But they're also forced, from time to time, to answer questions, and their answers often resemble the rambling nonsense, obfuscation, and grammatical insanity that many of us would produce when put on the spot.

Yet surely, more than most of us, politicians need to be able to think on their feet, to have a brain that works quickly and rationally under pressure. Do we really want to be led by someone who, when asked a straightforward question, flails around like an undergraduate who stayed up all night boozing instead of studying for the exam?"

Uh, yeah, Americans are already being led by someone like that.

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