Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama and Language or Much ado about....

Oh, wait, that’s been said before; I mean, there’s a tempest in a teapot brewing… No, that’s off limits too. But in all this rush to accusation over Obama’s use of some well worn phrases to express sentiments that rouse the public, where’s the beef? (Sorry little old lady peddling burgers)

If politicians went out of their way to pen speeches with nary a reference to any concept ever before expressed, and all new speeches, who’d know what the bleep they were talking about?)? In all this bloviating about Obama’s use of words that may have been uttered by others, no one is mentioning it’s the use of the familiar that drives campaigns.

Get a grip (full disclosure, not my line) pundits. We’re not talking about turning in someone else’s homework here.

All this media buzz (not my words either, I stole them from 6 or 7 different news papers and blogs, so sue me) over Obama’s rhetoric expressing in some of the very same words, some of the very same sentiments of other candidates or officials has left my head reeling (commercial for something? TV?)

So now he has the audacity to sound like John Edwards, after months of people begging him to pick up some of Edwards ideas and run with them (football term). I know this from the horse’s mouth (Joyce Cary, title of a novel, that I know darn well he didn’t make up. Did anyone sue him for plagiarism?) I was on a conference call with Obama and former Edwards staffers not two weeks ago who were urging him to do just that.

So is Obama just supposed to express these sentiments in different ways? Like, instead of saying, let’s talk unions, would you rather he say, let’s talk about those guys and gals who you know organize other guys and gals into groups of guys and gals to try to get better working conditions? (Oh, yeah, Guys and Gals, maybe too close to Guys and Dolls? Musical based on book by Damon Runyan.)

Is he supposed to ignore the mass culture of drug companies trying to dupe us into thinking we’ll be happier if we’re doped to the gills (whoops, heard that somewhere before too, stop me before I plagiarize again), by using the same imagery Edwards did of happy people cavorting in a field after ingesting some kind of pharmaceutical or other? Good image that. Why not use it? Better than take this pill and you’ll be able to fit through a keyhole, enter the land of Wonderland. (as in Alice in, novel by Lewis Carroll.)

And now they’re going after him for his “Yes we can” slogan. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank needs a history lesson. His article in today’s (Feb. 20) Chronicle attributes the “Yes we can” saying to a kiddie show cartoon character called Builder Bob. (The online version of the original article at least gives a nod to its use by Caesar Chavez) That saying, “si se puede” in Spanish, was first coined as a rallying cry by Dolores Huerta of the United Farmworkers Union in 1972. Its use by a kiddie TV character shows just how far language reaches into popular culture.

In the immortal words of Lewis Carroll:

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch "

from The Jaberwocky

Cutting and running for now (George W. stolen from old nautical term, no attribution or apologies ever offered),

your faithful correspondent Dotty the Green Dog Democrat.