Derrick Chapman derrickchapman at MINDSPRING.COM
Mon Oct 23 11:37:41 UTC 2000

A provincial note:  here in Columbus GA, a local wag-wannabe wrote a letter
to the editor of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that lambasted Al Gore for not
maintaining a proper "Southern" accent, a sure sign that he doesn't
represent Southern voters.  (!?!)  The writer praised Bush for not hiding
his accent.  The writer supports Bush for this "reason."

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
Of Joe Pickett
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 5:21 PM
Subject: Bushspeak

I apologize if I injected an overly political note into the discussion on
Bush's style of speaking, off or on the cuff.
And I realize now that I shouldn't have posted the text of that article on
this website.  I guess URL's are OK, but not articles. Mea culpa.

I think it is interesting, however, how political candidates try to use
speaking styles to appear as one of the people, someone you can relate to,
etc., and how quickly a misspoken word gets picked up and made much of in
the media as tell-tale evidence of mental slowness. Gail Collins in the
NYTimes today observes how the candidates turn their accents up and down,
according to the occasion.

Erroll Morris (sp?), the biographer of Reagan, said once that people made a
mistake in assuming that Ronald Reagan was unintelligent. In Morris's view,
Reagan was keenly intelligent, "but not curious." That is, he had a
vigorous native intellect but lacked curiosity about the world. I would say
that George W. Bush might fit the same pattern.

To me, curiosity and intelligence go hand in hand. But I could be wrong
about that.


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