Friday, September 11, 2009

Hey Harry, your sentences are a total mess!

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said in ”remarks prepared for delivery” to note the passing Senator Edward Kennedy:

"The impact he etched into our history will long endure. The liberal lion's mighty roar may now fall on deaf ears, but his dream shall never die."

Hey Harry, these sentences are a total mess! I think I am beginning to see why health care reform is getting so jumbled in the Senate debate. You guys can’t think straight.

I hate to be a nitpicker—no that’s a lie—I enjoy it more than you can imagine. I have a pet theory, hatched in the Geo W Bush years: totally mashed up semantics, weird modifiers and misdirected metaphors that paint a dreadful picture reflect mashed up, weird, misdirected and dreadful thinking. QED.

Here we go. Not to leave poor Geo way ahead in the war of malapropisms, the Democrats, with Harry at bat, have scored some whopping points!

"The impact he etched into our history will long endure.” Harry gets off to a slow start. Though “etching an impact” is a bit hard for me to get visually, “to etch in memory” is a common way to say “unforgettable.” Etching is a process in the visual arts that requires the application of acid, mordant or abrasive of some sort to the unprotected areas on a metal to create the negative of an image for reproduction. Doesn’t he just mean that it will be hard to forget Teddy and that his legacy will be equally hard to erase. The use of the word “history” might be trying to sound the sad note that Teddy is no longer with us, but his body is barely cold. But I will give “etched impact” 4 points, but take 2 away for the introduction of Teddy’s death with an weak nuance for “history”–if that is even his meaning.

“The liberal lion's mighty roar may now fall on deaf ears, but his dream shall never die." But here’s where the real fun begins, and Harry racks up real points. These are two great images, the roaring lion and the “I have a dream” rhetoric of any visionary. But in the same sentence? Both images are diminished plus it makes no sense. Minus 10 points for each infraction. The middle phrase, “deaf ears,” must mean that the Republicans in the Senate, those in power, those in the opposition, are so stupid that they cannot hear or understand his strong cogent, articulate arguments. But did this just happen now that Teddy is dead—now that he is no longer around to twist arms in the Senate cloakroom? Hardly. They were deaf long before. So I am going to deduct 40 points for nonsense. I have also heard that one can dream with all the organs, but the ears are not usually regarded as the instrument of dreams in ordinary speech, but then again, people who dream do hear voices, usually ominous warnings of danger. But if this is the meaning, it is very obtuse. I will deduct another 30 points. That leaves Harry with a score of 8 out of a possible 100. George scored 0 on multiple occasions. Keep it up Harry, you can still give him a run for his money.

"Give up. The War is lost!"