by PAT MURPHY
When Sarah Palin praised Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for enacting the controversial immigration bill and blithely accused President Obama of lacking "cojones" to deal with immigration, another step was taken by a public figure to reduce the language to a level appealing to gutter mentalities that prefer the uncouth to the civil and are easily incited by words and slogans more suited to toilet stall walls.
"Cojones," regarded in Spanish as a vulgarity, means male testicles. In the vernacular, Obama is thus regarded by Palin as lacking in courage.
Putting aside her own lack of will to complete her term as Alaska governor or to take media questions from any other than fawning Fox News toadies, Sarah Palin is not the person to judge the president on any level—intellectual, political or personal.
The president is juggling man-killing crises with grace, courage and intellect—wars, a Republican-triggered economic meltdown, a disastrous oil spill, congressional demagogues refusing to do the public's business, Mideast tensions—while Ms. Palin traipses around the country peddling a ghost-written book, reciting spoon-fed rightwing speeches for unwarranted thousands of dollars to shallow IQ audiences and anointing "grizzly mom" political candidates.
As she continues to reveal her painful failings in language and in elementary facts about the federal government, not to mention the world at large, and her eagerness to bond with demonstrably loony ne'er-do-wells, Ms. Palin apparently doesn't know her persona gradually erodes into that of flibbertigibbet.
Shallowness and debasing of the English language are not wholly reserved for Sarah Palin. Speech as an art form is deteriorating throughout the American culture. "You know" and "I mean" are indispensables scattered in everyday public and private discourse for lack of organized and disciplined thinking.
Foul language, especially the ubiquitous "F" word, is required in popular films, preferred by TV comics and even handy sleaze for then-Vice President Cheney, who used it on the U.S. Senate floor in a smug curse to Sen. Patrick Leahy—"F- - - yourself."
Poor grammar and skimpy vocabularies, kindred language handicaps in today's culture, afflict even some on-camera TV professionals who are adrift without a script.
New York Times columnist and author David Brooks, fastidious in his use of words, has a name for today's America—"the squabble culture."
Listen closely. On TV and on soapboxes and on the floor of Congress, elegant language of the great debaters and conversationalists has vanished, replaced by screeching, debasing vulgarities, insults and threats.
Can a return to the grunt and groan language of cavemen be far off?
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