Thursday, September 04, 2008

"The difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom is...

Sorry I've been gone so long. I've been pressure-washing the house and doing yardwork, followed by mugfuls of the usual draughts of European origin. (My favorite mug of late is the one acquired at the U.S. Women's Open in Massachussets a few years ago, the first one Bern qualified for.) So if this post seems a little disjointed, you'll know why.

Speaking of which, a note to Dylan: I visited the golfer last weekend and we took her out to dinner at Outback the first night. Guess what was on the menu: Newcastle Brown Ale. It was two for one night so I did the smart thing. "This is good," I said to Bern, "wanna taste?" She hefted it up and when she put it down the mug was half empty. "Don't you have a margarita to work on?" I asked, peeved. But it gave me an excuse to order another one. And maybe one more. I can't remember. It went well with the brown bread and bloomin' onion.

Last night, for the first time since the 1984 Reagan campaign, I watched a convention speech, the one delivered by Sarah Palin, you know, the woman who is completely unqualified to be vice-president because she's so inexperienced and has a large family which includes a pregnant teenage daughter and a Down syndrome child.

But before I get to that, let me tell you about my trip to the Huffington Post the other day. Like the email to Frum, such visits are exceedingly rare. I think it was the day after Mrs. Palin had been nominated, and I wanted to watch the leftwingnuts come unscrewed. Something in my gut told me that this woman was the worst thing that could ever happen to them. Here are some of the article titles that greeted me:

"2 Top Alaska Newspapers Question
Palin's Fitness"

"Most People Would Acknowledge...Palin Is Not Ready For The Top Job"

"It's Stunning That Someone With So Little National And International Experience Might Be Heartbeat Away From The Presidency"

"Do You Feel Ready To Be A Heartbeat Away From The Presidency?"
Palin: "Absolutely. Yup, Yup..."

"Forget Dan Quayle. Palin is more Harriet Miers -- chosen for all the wrong reasons, and glaringly not up to the task. Maybe an anxious nation can offer John McCain a do-over." - Arianna Huffington [Why? Would she vote for him if we did?]

"The VP Choice that Lost the Presidency..."

"What Sarah Palin shows is that once again, the right wing is adept at turning the women's movement upside down and offering us a woman who reinforces patriarchal power rather than challenges it."

"Palin: You're no Hillary Clinton"

"GOP Alaska State Senator: Palin 'Not Prepared To Be Governor. How Can She Be Prepared To Be Vice President Or President?' "

"Scholars: Palin Least Experienced Person On Major-Party Ticket In Modern Era"

"A Feminist Appalled by Palin":
'It's no rare thing for the right wing to use prominent women to keep the rest of us down. But just because Sarah Palin is a woman doesn't mean she's good for women. And female voters know that.' [I want readers to know that the sentence previous to the last is grammatically illiterate, but don't wish to take the time explaining why. I see so much of it in so-called professional writing that it exhausts me; plus, I'll get plenty of practice now that school's started.]

"Sarah Palin Vs. Polar Bears"

"Palin: From TV sports anchor to vice-presidential running mate"

"Sarah Palin: A Woman Who Forces Every American To Ask 'Why Aren't I Running For President?' "

That should do it. I'm not doing an analysis of the VP candidate or of her speech. I'll let others. Most, uh, pointed correspondence from a reader of this blog who was too shy to put it in comments:

I'd love to be a fly on the wall at that first Cabinet meeting when Vice-President Palin whips out the breast and starts nursing Trig...Pax Christi, Bob.

Now, it's not entirely his fault. I have a history on this subject which probably provoked it.

Another correspondent:

hey dad, i just read the comments in your latest post - very entertaining...I love watching you work people with your reasoning skills...[That's my kid]. So, i was under the impression that McCain was pro-life - i heard him on tv the other day saying that he believed life began at conception...Why are you unsure if you will vote for mccain/palin? if they are both pro-life isn't it kinda a no-brainer?

i seriously fear for what would happen to this place should o'bama take over. Like Curly Bill once said, "Lord have mercy if Ringo ever gets ahold of this outfit!"

The problem with that analogy, kid, is that Obama, unlike Ringo, doesn't actually want to kill anybody. He just wants to protect the right of others to kill somebody. I wrote back, explaining McCain's position on ESCR, but left it up to her to do the weighing of evils.

As for analysis of Palin's speech, I'll leave it to the same correspondent (who is unusually excited about this woman). No sooner had the speech begun than the text-messages started beeping in. I was outside exercising when the first one came, so my wife answered:

Bern: U watchin the convention?

Mom: Just got home. Dad's outside.

Bern: Palin is fixin to speak in 6 minutes. Tell Dad to get his head out of his (snip).

Mom: He will be in his chair.

Bern: Her hair is awesome!

Me: No answer.

Bern: She's pretty, graceful, passionate, classy, genuine, intelligent, and a mom - why isn't she running for president?

Me: You sound like Lydia and Zippy.

Bern: Should I be flattered?

Bern: It's funny how true compassion is so easily seen on the face of a mom.

Me: I'm going to use that on my blog.

Bern: Wish she had talked about her pro-life beliefs a little more.

Me: Ditto.

On the other hand, there's something about that family that might render its articulation redundant. Mrs. McCain spent a lot of time holding Trig. So did the pregnant daughter, who seems genuinely to love him. Even the littlest daughter (whose name I don't know and who is adorability personified) paid him a lot of attention. And when the speech was over, the family came onstage and Mrs. Palin took him in her arms. Other candidates have hugged their kids in public, but this was different.


Thomas D said...

Glad you liked the Newc.

In re Gov. Palin : I still harbor some fears about the VP debate. But last night was a home run with the bases loaded. Tweaking Obama on the Greek columns, etc. Very good stuff.

Andrew Sullivan apparently has never seen a political convention before, or perhaps not one where the divinity he worships is taken down a peg or two. "They're mocking him! How dare they!"

You mangled the URL of my odd little blog! It's darkoctober618 etc.

Elena LaVictoire said...

Cindy McCain has a background in special ed, so when she took baby Trig and gave him a little snuggle, my heart melted towards her quite a bit!

On my blog I have the Youtube of Piper Palin styling her baby brother's hair as only a 7 year old sister could do!

Sarah... was awesome. She's Ronald Regan in a skirt - sharp, funny, nailed her opponents, but with a smile. She rocked and I am so TOTALLY into this campaign now!

Lydia McGrew said...

My husband laughed till he nearly cried over this Red Neck You Tube video about Palin. I don't have the links. Maybe I'll get it to you later. I think there's a little language in them. After all, they _are_ playing rednecks. The part that cracked me up is where the one guy is saying how attractive (only he used another word) Palin is, and shows a picture. The old guy in the beard is only semi-impressed. So the young guy says, "Oh, I guess I didn't show you the right picture." So he shows a picture of her aiming a gun right at the camera. And the old guy says something like, "Good Lord! You'd better not leave that one up too long. I'm a married man." It's hysterical.

TS said...

there's something about that family that might render its articulation redundant.

I was just going to say that but you beat me to it.

TS said...

I trust Bern more than the lib media on these matters:

Lydia McGrew said...

Tim has a great line for her to use in the VP debate. Suppose Biden starts on the business about inexperience, etc.:

"I'm proud of my biography. I have no need to borrow anyone else's."

Sizzle. The backstory would be all over the blogosphere in minutes.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I had to work all day yesterday.

Dylan, I warned you that the post might have problems. But I fixed your blog. I mean the link to it.

Dale Price most neatly disposed of Sullivan over at W4: "Sullivan's transformation into a Kos diarist is now complete."

Elena, I missed the video bio they did of Mrs. McCain, but I hear she's done some amazing works of charity of some kind, mostly under the MSM radar. As to Palin, you breastfeeding moms sort of stick together, don't you?

I was just going to say that but you beat me to it.

That's why I got it down real fast. It sounded like something you'd try to come up with just to make my post obsolete. Re that link, the writer says: "Palin looks one humid day away from fronting a Kiss cover band...some argue Palin might be a little too long in the tooth for such tresses, sparking another squabble: to cut or not to cut after hitting 40. Yes, long hair evokes youth, but long hair after 40 can flirt with desperation." The less-than-zero importance of all this aside, I think if you look at the writer's picture, you'll see whose really desperate. We're going to hear a lot of nastiness born of female envy over the next two months. You can't imagine what a powerfully evil force it is, almost as bad as male ego. I'm amazed on a daily basis that people like this writer are paid to put their words on paper.

Lydia, stop teasing and give me the link.

That line of Tim's is funny and powerful, but wickedly so. It'll have to be used only in last resort. (And Biden just might be able to provoke it.)

But I need Tim to come up with another riposte to a scenario I fear more. At the debate, Chris Mathews or some other smug, self-satisfied, highly evolved smartass asks the following question: "Governor Palin. There's a rumor going about that your Christian faith is of a rather enthusiastic, hand-waving, fundamentalist variety which compels you to desire that creationist, young-earth theology be taught, if not instead of, at least alongside the prevailing scientific consensus that Darwinian evolutionary theory adequately accounts for the origen of man and all other creatures on the planet. How do you respond to this accusation?"

What should she say?

Anonymous said...

My spelling of "origin" was sort of a Freudian slip, the fathers of the church being always so close in mind.

Lydia McGrew said...

I'll have to get the link from Tim. But now he says he thinks the two guys playing rednecks aren't conservatives being funny but liberals being funny, which takes some of the fun out of it.

As I understoos it, she wasn't saying that YEC per se shd. be taught alongside Darwinism. She could always clarify to some form of more general ID without reference to the age of the earth or the days of creation. I know you despise even that anyway, but I'd rather not argue with you about it again. And if we're talking about strategy, my impression is that Palin has faced questions about Darwinism before and has come across to the masses fairly well with her "look at both sides of the issue" approach. People like that. It looks fair. I think she knows how to say what will play well with an audience on that issue, and Chris Matthews's own opinions of course are not what we're concerned about.

John Fraser said...

"Teach the controversy, baby!"

That's what she should say. It'd be immortalized. Of course, they'd eat for breakfast, lunch, and supper if she did.

Or she could take the more lukewarm approach and say, "I think both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory should be taught. Science is not about indoctrination, it's about teaching students to think for themselves." Ooh, that's good. The Darwinian establishment would still jump up and down on her head, but they'd have to do a lot more contortions to do it.

TS said...

Regarding Sullivan, the amazing thing is how quickly he's fallen. I mean he was saying smart things not all that long ago but now is completely unreadable:

RE: "Lydia, stop teasing and give me the link."

Now that sounds like gender reversal.

John Fraser said...

Oh, that was supposed to say "they'd eat HER for" all of those meals listed. But everyone probably figured that out on their own. Just wanted to register the fact that I caught it myself eventually.

Anonymous said...

liberals being funny

Is this even possible?

I know you despise even that anyway

It depends on what's being proposed. Where there's talk of miraculous interference in the natual world, I like to see either evidence for it, or a philosphically compelling argument that it must have occurred (e.g., the origin of the universe, of mankind). Now I like yours and John's advice to her, but I'd like the assurance that she's as prepared as you are. You must know that that they are going to ridicule her (and her religion), to make her appear the adherent of some antique, superstitious form of Chistianity suitable to the weak of mind. This hasn't even started yet, but it will, and when it comes it will be relentless, ruthless, and terrible. They don't care that she's a nice lady. They will reach for destruction and nothing less. (You can already see this with the condemnation - coming even from some conservatives - that she is the mother of a pregnant teenager.) She will be up against the liberal religion in its entirety, which believes dogmatically that there is no "weakness of Darwinian theory", let alone that it's a theory at all. I'd like to see her adopt some simple core defense (sort of like you and John) in which she says, "Look. Darwinism as taught to our children in public schools leaves the undeniable implication that man is no different in his origin and destiny than any other animal. It is purely materialistic and therefore a means of teaching atheism by proxy. If its proponents believe that the process is in fact a tool of the Creator, his means of crafting the story of life, they can not demonstrate it. If they can, then they should teach it. But they don't. My desire to have students exposed to 'both sides' of the argument is not a matter religion encroaching upon the domain of science, but of religion and philosophy trying to reclaim the territory this branch of so-called science has stolen from them." Or something like that.

Btw, if a man had to choose between young earth creationism and Darwinism, I'd rather he chose the former, since the latter is literal poison to any Christian understanding of human nature.

TS, I'll take your word that he used to say smart things. I haven't followed him that closely. Unlike many others, I never considered him conservative except by convenience. My suspicion was always that anyone who must bend his religion to justify his sexual behavior is going to end up finding another. I could be wrong, course, because as I say, I just don't keep up.

Anonymous said...

That should be "is not a matter of religion"...

Anonymous said...

John, if you were looking for a blog where evidence of conscientious proofreading is admired, you've come to the right place.

John Fraser said...

I kind of thought that was the case since I still can't figure out what's "grammatically illiterate" with the sentence "But just because Sarah Palin is a woman doesn't mean she's good for women."

Kind of makes me a little more self-conscious.

Anonymous said...

The verb "does (not) mean" has no subject. "Just because" is trying to be that subject, but an adverb cannot function as a noun. You can see this if I re-word: "But the fact that Sarah Palin is a woman doesn't mean (that) she's good for women." You can hear the difference. "Fact", which is a noun, now supplies what was missing.

Anonymous said...

Even more efficient: "That Sarah Palin is a woman doesn't mean (that) she's good for women." I inserted the second "that" because it's another frequent failing of casual writing that too many of them are left out. In this case, including it is necessary for what's called parallel structure. Notice that the entire claus - "that Sarah Palin is a woman" - is now subject to the verb - and the second clause serves as subject complement. In other words, two clauses functioning as single parts of speech: nouns.

Anonymous said...

Or how about "Sarah Palin's being a woman doesn't mean, etc."

Sarah Palin's good for women for all kinds of reasons. And Bern is 100% right about her hair. I want my hair to look like Sarah Palin's hair.

John Fraser said...

I feel like such a grammatical slob. :(

Anonymous said...

That'll work, Peony.

Yeah, I didn't get the hair thing.

Aw, come on, John. Don't feel bad. Look at this way: you've got a majority on your side.

Beth Impson said...

What I like, Bill, is that you have both a claus and a clause in that analysis . . . :)

Has school started again or what! I'm already seeing comma splices and pronoun disagreements in my sleep . . .


TS said...

Let the record show that I like Sarah's hair.

And my comment about Sullivan saying smart things was a stretch. I meant he didn't say dumb things.

John Fraser said...

Yeah, it's just that most of those other slobs don't have two master's degrees! *blush*

Lydia McGrew said...

I recommend Eugene Moutoux's books of sentence diagraming, btw. Available by sending him a check. You can Google him. It's not his fault he's a liberal and has occasional sentences about Rosa Parks. Or maybe it is. But the diagraming books are still good, and most of the sentences are totally apolitical.

Lydia McGrew said...

Here's a tiny url version of that link for the redneck video. It really is rather funny:

Anonymous said...

You could have overlooked that, Beth. Proofreading the proofreader. English teachers. (I haven't made them turn in anything in yet, so I'm sleeping well. Putting if off for as long as possible.)

I think she has beautiful hair, TS. Anyone who thinks it's from the 80's was born yesterday.

Two masters degrees, John? Isn't that too much education for a man to put to use?

I remember diagramming, Lydia. Blackboard's full of it, like architectural blueprints. There's probably something wrong with me because I actually enjoyed it. If I recall, Wariner's Grammar and Composition was the bible back then. If I've misspelled Wariner's, don't point it out.

Beth Impson said...

Bill, I loved diagramming, too, and still do, in fact; that's probably why we ended up English teachers . . . :) As to proofreading the proofreader, it's a compulsion, like Monk having to straighten the pictures on the wall (or anything else not perfectly in line!). My husband tries to distract from reading signs in public . . .

Beth Impson said...

Oops. "distract *me*" -- compulsions don't always have perfect results . . .

John Fraser said...

"Isn't that too much education for a man to put to use?"

Gosh, I don't know. I never really thought about it like that. I just liked school, and it seemed easier than working for a living. Doesn't pay quite so well though . . .

Anonymous said...

Sentence diagramming, like coffee, fresh tomatoes, and anchovies, was something I didn't appreciate until I was an adult.

Thomas D said...

Hey! I used Wariner's! And Mr W in seventh grade (1980-81) made us diagram!

Anonymous said...

Warm greetings, Bill. It's a refreshment to visit your place and to see you still fighting the good philosophical and grammatical fight. About the Palin family, their mutual support and their glowing love for the infant Trig, I thought: THAT'S the village that it takes to raise a child. I hope that the Feast of our Lady's Nativity is rich in blessing for you, your family and your readers. Peace, Francis

Anonymous said...

Beth, you ever watch those news bulletins that scroll across the bottom of the screen on the cable news channels? I writhe in my chair.

Dylan was in the 7th grade in 1980. Now I feel old.

Francis! Xavier+. That line of yours is going into tomorrow's post.

Beth Impson said...

Oh, yes -- that's another awful trial for me! Thankfully, we don't have cable so I only have to endure it in motels and airports. If I could keep my eyes off the words, I'd be fine, but I am so verbally oriented that if words are there I must read them . . .

For several weeks on the way to church we passed a yard sign that said "Puppy's for Sale." My whole family tried to distract me before we got there because I'd spend the rest of the way demanding to know what it was that family was going to sell that belonged to the poor puppy . . .

And I still say it matters, despite all evidence continually brought up to refute me!

Lydia McGrew said...

Across the street from the store at which I always shop, a new store has opened up. It's called (I promise this is true) "Hall's, Closets, and More." This is printed, presumably at some cost, on the store window. I tried to convince myself that the owner of the store is Mr. Hall and that the name is a pun. My husband tells me I'm reaching. It's just a mistake.

My daughter says if she can't find another job when she grows up she should try to start a proof-reading business and call it "Apostrophes Unlimited."

The trouble is, I don't think anyone would care enough to hire her.

John Fraser said...

"My daughter says if she can't find another job when she grows up she should try to start a proof-reading business and call it "Apostrophes Unlimited.""

Was that Bethel? That's a scream!

Anonymous said...

Easy Beth. Let's give the benefit of the doubt. It's just a contraction meaning "puppy is for sale".

she should try to start a proof-reading business...I don't think anyone would care enough to hire her.

That's right. My wife makes extra change tutoring math. She has more requests than she can accommodate. No one has ever offered me money to proofread something, or to instruct them in grammar. It is assumed that such assistance ought to be free.

John, that kid of hers often says arresting things (assuming that Lydia does not embellish). She's clearly headed for greatness. At the least, whatever man marries her had better not have too much of an ego in the battle of wits to follow.

Unknown said...

What a great thread. I'm in generally agreement with the points made:

Sarah Palin is wonderful.

Andrew Sullivan has very rapidly plunged into the madness that his obsessions prepared for him.

Grammar is cool.

What else?

Oh, beer is good and McGrew children are dynamite.

-- Paul Cella

Anonymous said...

p.j.? Are you kidding me?