It's Official: NOAD Demeans Self for PR Gold (UNCLASSIFIED)

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 17 02:18:19 UTC 2010

Two points. First, in response to Bill's query, yes, I did have more
than a mere political point to make. I know who started the reference
to "former half-term governor" and it was an explicit social
experiment to see how widely it would get picked up. I followed the
pattern for a while, but, to the best of my knowledge, the terminology
never penetrated the traditional media, even though it was used rather
widely (mostly, of course, by people who regard Palin an intellectual
lightweight, at best, but that actually is good data for the

Second, in response to Bush/Obama distinction, the point would have
been well taken had your comment referred to the same people applying
different standards. But this was not the case--and both responses are
interesting from a language analysis perspective. For example, rather
than just objecting to the Bushism industry, one could ask the
question as to why--aside from pure politics--do it has such
persistence? On the other hand, the claims of "Obama sending coded
ebonics messages" never rose to the same level--which may well appear
odd in light of all the conspiracy theories on the right regarding

I suppose, both questions are more sociology than linguistics...


On Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 10:36 AM, Ronald Butters <ronbutters at> wrote:
> I agree with Bill about this, and I am responding to the whole list rather than just to him because I think he makes an important point about list etiquette. I'd go a step further, having already suggested that all the liberal hand-wringing about the promotion of Ms. Palin's putative solecism to putative brilliant neologism is at the very least amusingly slightly hypocritical. (And of course when Bush blundered, it showed how stupid he was; when Obama blundered, it maybe showed how clever he was to be able to speak the language of the people. Heck, maybe he is even speaking Ebonics!)

The American Dialect Society -

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