Political humor in 2008 a study in linguistic awareness
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Political Humor in 2008: A Study in Linguistic Awareness By Alleen Pace Nilsen, and Don L. F. Nilsen Analogies At the Democratic National Convention in August of 2008, Janet Napolitano said: Barry Goldwater ran for President and he lost. Morris Udall ran for President and he lost.

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Political humor in 2008 a study in linguistic awareness l.jpg

Political Humor in 2008:A Study in Linguistic Awareness

By Alleen Pace Nilsen, and

Don L. F. Nilsen

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Analogies l.jpg
Analogies

  • At the Democratic National Convention in August of 2008, Janet Napolitano said:

  • Barry Goldwater ran for President and he lost.

  • Morris Udall ran for President and he lost.

  • Bruce Babbitt ran for President and he lost.

  • I hope that this is an Arizona tradition that will continue.

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Another analogy l.jpg
Another Analogy

  • At the Democratic National Convention in August of 2008, Hillary Clinton said that John McCain and George W. Bush had the same policies…

    • On the economy,

    • On supporting the oil companies,

    • On supporting big business,

    • On the war in Iraq.

  • She added that it’s appropriate that the Republican National Convention will be held in the Twin Cities. We can’t tell them apart either.

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Call and Response

  • During his campaign, Barack Obama used call-and-response, preacher cadences, and other rhetorical devices that are frequently used in Black churches.

  • Hillary Clinton was criticized for using an Arkansas dialect and preacher cadences in her campaign speeches.

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Color Symbolism

  • On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart noted that both the Democratic and the Republic parties have factions and infighting.

  • He proposed that not only do we have red states and blue states, but we also have periwinkle and Navy blue states.

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Larry Craig’s Contributions

  • In January of 2008, the American Dialect Society selected “toe-tapper” to be “the most outrageous word of 2007.”

  • They selected “to have a wide stance” to be “the most likely to succeed word of 2007.”

  • Both of these words were inspired by Larry Craig.

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Exonyms

  • In January of 2008, the American Name Society chose “Betraeus” as the Name of the year.

  • This was based on the fact that moveon.org had renamed General Petraeus as General Betraeus.

  • But ironically, Rush Limbaugh had earlier used the same term to refer to Democrats who did not support the War in Iraq

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New Washington Catch Phrase

  • In the senate hearing of Roger Clements and drug abuse, an emerging expression is “It is what it is.”

  • This is a common phrase in the sports community and also in various political spheres.

  • The term is dismissive, and it is a “stopper.”

  • It continues the tradition of the earlier “Just forget about it,” “Don’t go there,” and “Whatever!”

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John McCain

  • In an attempt to inject humor into the presidential race, John McCain ran a campaign ad mocking Barack Obama with images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

  • Then he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, who appeared on Saturday Night Live as something of a celebrity.

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Joe, the Plumber

  • Joe, the Plumber, is really Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher,

  • so his name isn’t really Joe,

  • and he isn’t a plumber.

  • He’s an entrepeneur who doesn’t even have a plumber’s licence.

  • Barack Obama asks, “How many plumbers do you know who make more that $250,000 a year?”

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Barack Obama

  • “I have a dream,” Just words?

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Just words?

  • “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Just words? Just speeches?

  • This was in response to Hillary Clinton’s claim that Obama was all words and no substance

  • Obama failed to attribute the above words to Deval Patrick, who had used similar wording in one of his speeches. (Chicago Tribune Feb 19, 2008, p. A4)

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Sarah Palin

  • Sarah Palin’s children are named Bristol, Willow, Piper, Track and Twig.

  • Bristol and Willow are cities in Alaska, and Piper is the name of the Alaskan airline because they fly Piper Cub aircraft.

  • Bristol is also a seaport in England. It was one of the major seaports involved in the slave trade along with seaports in West Africa, Charleston, South Carlina, and the Carribbean.

  • Willow, Track and Twig are hippy names.

  • They are all pleasant and natural names that could have come from Walden Pond. Emerson and Thoreau would have loved them.

  • So would Orson Scott Card have loved them. They are a set of names, like the set of names in The Lost Boys.

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  • The name Piper is the name of a profession. The Piper is the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.

  • But these are probably not the connotations that Sarah Palin had in mind.

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Palintology the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.

  • Palintology is the interest in everything related to Sarah Palin,

  • including her talking to Joe Sixpack,

  • and Palin signs saying “Go girl!”

  • and Sarah asking, “what’s the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom?”

  • and answering, “Lipstick.”

  • and the Tina Fey skit,

  • and Sarah Palin’s appearance on Saturday Night Live.

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Political Correctness the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.

  • Huckabee has said that if he became President, he would seek to have a constitutional amendment to have America declared as “a Christian nation.”

  • In contrast the politically correct people are suggesting that instead of saying “Merry Christmas” we should say “Happy Holidays.”

  • In January of 2008, the American Dialect Society selected “Happy Kwanhanamas!” as the “most unnecessary word of 2007.” It is a blend of Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukka, and Happy Christmas.

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!Religious Signifying I the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.

  • National Public Radio noted that Huckabee was using many veiled references from the Bible to appeal to his conservative base.

  • However, when this conservative base was questioned by NPR, only one of all of those polled was able to get all of the references correct.

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Religious signifying ii l.jpg
!Religious Signifying II the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.

  • When Huckabee was told that it was almost a statistical impossibility that he could get the Republican nomination, he replied…

  • I didn’t major in math. I majored in miracles.

  • --National Public Radio 2/10/2008

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! the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.The New Yorker

  • The New Yorker ran a cover satirically depicting Obama as a flag-burning Muslim and Michelle as a gun-toting radical was seen as a joke by the subscribers.

  • But when it was seen by tens of millions of non-subscribers many didn’t see the satire.

  • Newsweek said “You can’t erase a powerful image from someone’s mind any more than you can unring a bell.” (7/28/2008, p. 29)

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!What makes this satire? the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.

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!!Tina Fey as Sarah Palin the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.

  • Time says, “It’s hard to tell where Tina Fey ends and Sarah Palin begins…the updo, the wink, the syntax….”

  • “Where Palin’s campaign projected a smart, tough, folksy reformer, Fey showed a posing, in-over-her-head maverick-bot.”

  • “It is a seamless blending of reality and parody” (Time 10/20/2008, p. 29).

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!!!Tina Fey as Sarah Palin the musician who plays a pipe or flute. To me it is associated with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who is an ironic character—both a protagonist and an antagonist.

  • http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/palin-hillary-open/656281/

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