Monday, May 04, 2009

Mom's Home Cooking

There's a passage in a Raymond Chandler novel where Philip Marlowe stakes out a diner called "Mom's Home Cooking" & amuses himself by trying to figure out how many lies are contained in those three words. He stops before he's done counting, but it's a literary moment that stops the reader. In four years of high school English, I had only one teacher who cautioned us about the manipulative uses of language, & what I call "Sayin' makes it so" language. I wonder if secondary school teaching has improved any since then.
Sen. Lindsay Graham: "And I know this; our party's politics is closer to America ideologically than President Obama, but he's connected with young people. We lost ground with the Hispanics, we got to repair the damage there."
A glib, nothing statement we expect of politicians, went by me at first. Then I backed up.
Do Americans have an ideology? What is it? Is connecting with young people significant or insignificant? Do young people have an ideology? Why have the Repugs "lost ground with the Hispanics"? How do Repugs "repair the damage" if they advocate mass deportations? What is the "damage"? This is chatter, the background noise political culture churns out 24/7 now. Newspapers used to filter the language, & the job of reporters was to pick it apart. Page space was limited. But TV time is abundant. Go ahead & blab & when time is up we'll change the graphic on the screen & someone else blabs. James Carville blabbing. Chris Dodd blabbing. Tim Pawlenty blabbing. Columnists A, B, C, & D blabbing together. "Out of time. That has to be the last word, B. Next up, former invisible undersecretaries of the Interior from the Clinton & Bush adminstrations discuss the Obama vegetable garden in the segment, Are the Obamas ignoring the health threat of doggy doo doo?"


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