Noah the Lexicographer finds Republican candidates' words lack . . . definition

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 5 19:47:57 UTC 2008

White Republicans: "In your heart, you know he's right!"

Black Democrats: "In your heart, you know he's white!"

This parody was widespread in roughly what is now known as
"South-Central." At the time, this part of town was known among blacks
as the "East Side" (not to be confused with East L.A., the main
"Spanish" - the usual L.A. BE term for anyone or anything associated
primarily with the Spanish language - part of town), the "West Side,"
and Watts.


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 11:36 PM, Dennis Baron <debaron at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dennis Baron <debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU>
> Subject:      Noah the Lexicographer finds Republican candidates' words lack .
>              . . definition
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> There's a new post on the Web of Language:
> Noah the Lexicographer finds Republican candidates' words lack . . .
> definition
> The Chicago Tribune is one of several news outlets running stories on
> the words that candidates have been using during the current
> presidential campaign, which is scheduled to end on election day next
> Tuesday, unless, of course, there's another problem with the ballots
> in Florida.
> It turns out that this year's political vocabulary isn't much to write
> home about. We've been treated to arugula, we've palled around with
> terrorists surnamed Sixpack, and we're promising to drill, baby, drill
> our way out of our dependence on foreign oil (at the same time
> speeding the melting of the polar ice cap while the economy tanks).
> None of these are words that would put lipstick on bitterhockey moms
> who cling to their guns and their religion.
> In contrast to this lexical mash-up, past presidential races have
> given us memorable new deals andgreat societies; ringing battle cries
> like "Give 'em hell, Harry," "I like Ike," and "It's the economy
> stupid"; and greeting-card verse like "It's morning again in America"
> and "Building a bridge to the 21st century."
> It's true that not all past campaign rhetoric scored high on the
> Richter scale. Walter Mondale asked,"Where's the beef?" but lost
> anyway. Herbert Hoover called for "A chicken in every pot," and wound
> up with the Depression. Speaking of pot, Bill Clinton, who preferred
> his own definitions to those of Noah Webster, approved of the stuff
> but didn't inhale. George W. Bush promised "No Child Left Behind,"
> then left no mission accomplished. And Conservative Barry Goldwater's
> 1964 slogan, "In your heart, you know he's right," was transmuted by
> the "All the way with LBJ" crowd into, "In his heart, he knows the
> world is flat."
> But 2008 has brought its own version of flat-earth rhetoric: the
> surreal vision of candidate Sarah Palin outfitted by Neiman Marcus
> celebrating Carhartts and steel-toed boots and real America, while her
> running mate John McCain told "My friends" about "my good friend, Joe
> the plumber," who is not a real plumber, isn't really named Joe, and
> hadn't really met McCain.
> ...
> read the rest of this post on the Web of Language
> Dennis Baron
> Professor of English and Linguistics
> Department of English
> University of Illinois
> 608 S. Wright St.
> Urbana, IL 61801
> office: 217-244-0568
> fax: 217-333-4321
> read the Web of Language:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list