“You have to be wired / In a way of being”: Hart Seely Takes Sarah Palin’s Opaque, Syntax-Strained Statements, Gives Them Line Breaks, and Turns Them Into “Poetry”

Slate.com’s Hart Seely debases the English language (or rather, Sarah Palin does):

“On Good and Evil”

It is obvious to me
Who the good guys are in this one
And who the bad guys are.
The bad guys are the ones
Who say Israel is a stinking corpse,
And should be wiped off
The face of the earth.

That’s not a good guy.

(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)

“You Can’t Blink”

You can’t blink.
You have to be wired
In a way of being
So committed to the mission,

The mission that we’re on,
Reform of this country,
And victory in the war,
You can’t blink.

So I didn’t blink.

(To C. Gibson, ABC News, Sept. 11, 2008)


“Haiku”

These corporations.
Today it was AIG,
Important call, there.

(To
S. Hannity, Fox News, Sept. 18, 2008)
“Befoulers of the Verbiage”

It was an unfair attack on the verbiage
That Senator McCain chose to use,
Because the fundamentals,
As he was having to explain afterwards,
He means our workforce.
He means the ingenuity of the American.
And of course that is strong,
And that is the foundation of our economy.
So that was an unfair attack there,
Again based on verbiage.

(To S. Hannity, Fox News, Sept. 18, 2008)


“Secret Conversation”

I asked President Karzai:

“Is that what you are seeking, also?
“That strategy that has worked in Iraq?
“That John McCain had pushed for?
“More troops?
“A counterinsurgency strategy?”

And he said, “Yes.”

(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)


“Outside”

I am a Washington outsider.
I mean,
Look at where you are.
I’m a Washington outsider.

I do not have those allegiances
To the power brokers,
To the lobbyists.
We need someone like that.

(To C. Gibson, ABC News, Sept. 11, 2008)

“On the Bailout”

Ultimately,
What the bailout does
Is help those who are concerned
About the health care reform
That is needed
To help shore up our economy,
Helping the—
It’s got to be all about job creation, too.

Shoring up our economy
And putting it back on the right track.
So health care reform
And reducing taxes
And reining in spending
Has got to accompany tax reductions
And tax relief for Americans.
And trade.

We’ve got to see trade
As opportunity
Not as a competitive, scary thing.
But one in five jobs
Being created in the trade sector today,
We’ve got to look at that
As more opportunity.
All those things.

(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)

“Challenge to a Cynic”

You are a cynic.
Because show me where
I have ever said
That there’s absolute proof
That nothing that man
Has ever conducted
Or engaged in,
Has had any effect,
Or no effect,
On climate change.

(To C. Gibson, ABC News, Sept. 11, 2008)

“On Reporters”

It’s funny that
A comment like that
Was kinda made to,
I don’t know,
You know …

Reporters.

(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)

“Small Mayors”

You know,
Small mayors,
Mayors of small towns—
Quote, unquote—
They’re on the front lines.

(To S. Hannity, Fox News, Sept. 19, 2008)

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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