Obama Deploys Radical Linguistic Coherence Strategy

November 21st, 2008

I don't usually offer up whole posts from others, but Andy Borowitz pones this one. I can't improve on it.

Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy
Stunning Break with Last Eight Years

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.
 
Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.
 
But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.
 
According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a president who speaks English as if it were his first language.
 
"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist." The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate — we get it, stop showing off."
 
The president-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. "Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.

Okay, I can't resist:

President-elect Obama's radical linguistic policy hasn't gone unnoticed by current White House occupants. At a meeting of world leaders this week, President Bush sought out a hotel waitperson who seemed willing to shake hands, and commented, "Looking into your eyes, I can perceive your heartstrings and discernate that you know the difference between elocutionariness, that type of big-brow word stuff, and what real American people elected me and other presidents like Ronald Reagan here for."

Hat tip: Kitty (thanks!)

Comments are closed.