Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Day Before...

It seems to matter little to you, Bush, but I do love to read or hear the English language used with eloquence, easy articulation, and subtle expressiveness. I say this after going to see the newest version of "Pride and Prejudice" last night, and enjoying it partially as a feast of delicious language. In Jane Austen's world, recreated with eminent success in this 21st century movie, I thought, people spoke to each other with respect for the subtleties of social relationships, with a desire for the precision of thought and attitude, and with a certain pleasure in the ability to articulate their communication with greater concern for civility than haste.

What a difference from the world of the United States today, with our emailing and text-messaging, our mumbling speech, our haste to get the minimum said to convey a single, thin idea. How little we concern ourselves with the niceties of speech, or with the way in which language itself can express or refine how we stand in relationship to others. I myself tend to think, Bush, that ideas cannot exist without the language in which they are realized, and that consequently subtle, difficult, carefully modulated thoughts are impossible without the language to express them. Simple language reflects a simple mind, and simple minds--to my mind--are dangerous things because human beings and their relationships are infinitely complex.

Which brings me, Bush, to your language skills, which are frankly lamentably lacking. Oh, you can read a fine speech written by one of your trained speech writers, with only a few flubs and glitches, or echo the phrases that are fed to you by your masters of political spin. But try to say something off the cuff, or genuine, or respond to a reporter's question, and you're lost. You sound like a sixth grader trying to comprehend mysteries far beyond his ken. Worse, Bush, you seem to pride yourself on this deficiency, playing to the yahoo gallery as though it were somehow unmanly, or unAmerican, to use good English. Say what you will about Bill Clinton and his blow job, but he spoke the language with ease and with some obvious relish, and I liked him for that. When you boil things down to their most simplistic level--"good and evil," "it's a hard job," "freedom and democracy" come to mind--you risk sacrificing the complexity of the real world we live in, and acting instead on the basis of your simplifications, with often disastrous results.

You seem to be hot on testing everyone else for their language skills, but my judgment is you're a little "left behind" in this area yourself.

Christmas Eve! I have visions of Uncle Dick coming down the White House chimney with his red suit, his white beard, and his HoHoHo. Put your stocking out, Bush, and hope for some nice surprises.

1 comment:

PK said...

Wouldn't this be a nice suprise:):)? http://news.yahoo.com/edcartoons/billschorr;_ylt=A9FJqYRPxa1DXJQA5AEVvTYC;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl Don't have any Idea if you'll be able to click this out or not, but it's priceless. You and your family have a very, very happy Christmas. If you can't click it up go to Yahoo editorial cartoons, it'll be there.