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

Monday, August 20, 2012

By their fucked-up language, ye shall know them.

Rep. Todd Akin's use of the term "legitimate rape" was not merely a verbal slip-up; it was a definitive expression of Akin's thinking, and of that of a segment of the population to which he appeals .  In my teaching days, I would have had to prepare for some smart-mouth kid to ask me to define legitimate rape which would seem to be when the act is sanctioned by law.  And that would lead to a discussion of whether one needs a license.  There are those out there who think that the act of rape is generally committed against women who are provoking it, and it is a bit surprising that the creative caucus has not proposed a law dealing with it..  One could apply for a rape license at the same time one applies for a concealed-carry gun permit.  Such a provision would cover motive and means and make the license-holder ready for any opportunity, 

Check out Akin's response in The Onion
 The term occurred when Akin said, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."  The context provides the definitive evidence that Akin's politics are formed by Internet fictions and that he  does not function intellectually.  The term is expressive of the muddle in his brain.   

Society once operated on the assumption that what people said and the way they said it revealed their state of mind,  People who said stupid, uninformed things were considered to have proved that they were stupid and  uninformed.  The 21st century has introduced a new need for U.S. presidents.  Rather than giving a state of the union address, they now need to give an annual state of the president's mind address.

At least three books and a host of websites were devoted to recording the wit and wisdom of George W. Bush and what became known as Bushisms.  And he hasn't let the end of his term in office stopped the flow of Bushisms, as in this example:

"This is my maiden voyage. My first speech since I was the president of the United States and I couldn't think of a better place to give it than Calgary, Canada." --George W. Bush, as reported by the Associated Press, Calgary, Canada, March 17, 2009
During W.'s term in office, the Republicans were infuriated by those who cited Bush's verbal production as evidence of him being a dummy.  They raged that Democrats were devoted to ad hominem attacks.  They challenged the old rule that what a person says is how and what he thinks.  And we survived George W. Bush.  I think. At least he informed us that the severe economic downturn wasn't his fault and he did everything he could to stop it:  

"In terms of the economy, look, I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession." 

"One of the very difficult parts of the decision I made on the financial crisis was to use hardworking people's money to help prevent there to be a crisis." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009
 I trust that is clear to everybody. 

However, he has been overshadowed by a roster of Republican candidates for president who all have vowed not to be outdone by W. in the verbal absurdity department.  They had Sarah Palin to prepare the way.   And the best verbal fuck-up won the nomination.  Mitt Romney has contributed many new kinks to the language, including these gems:  

"I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said, whatever it was." —Mitt Romney (May 17, 2012)

"I love this state. The trees are the right height." —Mitt Romney, campaigning in Michigan (February 2012)
"I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love." –Mitt Romney (January 2012)

"It's hard to know just how well [the 2012 London Olympics] will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging." –Mitt Romney, on the eve of the Olympics, NBC News interview, July 25, 2012 

On the horizon of America's future looms a gigantic verbal cluster fuck.

The American people, especially those who have benefited from the deterioration of education as the movement to run it like a business has swept across the country, love the verbally incompetent and clumsy.  They feel equal.

The future looks booming,  Except for those who respect and admire the skilled use of language.  But that is a dying breed.  

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States