News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pigs have grown wings

The McCain-Palin campaign has made history for its level of verbal deterioration and, possibly, stupidity. It is not clear, as of now, if the campaign is so stupid as to think that Sen. Obama's "lipstick on a pig" remark was directed at Sarah Palin, or whether they are so stupid as to think that many people will fall for their corrupt attempt to portray Obama as someone as mean and bereft of decency as they are. Anyone who has listenedto the remark knows it was made in reference to putting a cosmetic gloss on an old idea, and was used in the way that McCain himself has used the quip.

No mention was made or implied to Sarah Palin. While some Republican women operatives were trotted to put on a display of phony indignation on the basis that Obama's lipstick remark was a deliberate allusion to Palin on the basis of her lipstick punchline, there is simply no grammatical or logical way that case can be made. The effort does call into question the intellectual and moral fitness of those who try to make the claim that Obama's remark was directed at Palin.

Megan Carter in the Columbia Journalism Review makes the case that the charge was made against Obama as a crass ploy to lure the press into a dog-pack-like frenzy to do what Obama said the whole business was intended to do. The press did, indeed, act like a cat going bonkers on catnip and thrown the campaign into a distracted attack on personality rather than deal with issues.

Up to this time, McCain has been a credible candidate. But it is clear now that his campaign is based on the exploitation of Palin's personality and the phenomenon she is as the hockey mama from Alaska. Nothing is more dangerous to their campaign than to deal with her actual history and the issues that confront the nation. The constant repeating of the disproven claim that she said no thanks to the bridge to nowhere and has been against lobbyists and earmarks calls into question the mental and moral qualities needed to serve our democracy. They portend more the further erosion of our freedoms and Constitutional rights.

The process the McCain-Palin campaign has adopted is described in this passage from Orwell's 1984:

'We're getting the language into its final shape -- the shape it's going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we've finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We're destroying words -- scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to the bone.

... it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connexion with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connexion that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States