Cavett Vs. Palin

4 comments November 16th, 2008at 11:58am Posted by Eli

It is just so much fun to watch Dick Cavett take someone apart in that genteel, musing, half-baffled way of his…

What will ambitious politicos learn from this? That frayed syntax, bungled grammar and run-on sentences that ramble on long after thought has given out completely are a candidate’s valuable traits?

And how much more of all that lies in our future if God points her to those open-a-crack doors she refers to? The ones she resolves to splinter and bulldoze her way through upon glimpsing the opportunities, revealed from on high.

What on earth are our underpaid teachers, laboring in the vineyards of education, supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the serial syntax-killer from Wasilla High and gleaned by my colleague Maureen Dowd for preservation for those who ask, “How was it she talked?”

My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.

And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”

It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any.


Matt Lauer asked her about her daughter’s pregnancy and what went into the decision about how to handle it. Her “answer” did not contain the words “daughter,” “pregnancy,” “what to do about it” or, in fact, any two consecutive words related to Lauer’s query.

….If it happens again, Matt, I bequeath you what I heard myself say once to an elusive guest who stiffed me that way: “Were you able to hear any part of my question?”

At the risk of offending, well, you, for example, I worry about just what it is her hollering fans see in her that makes her the ideal choice to deal with the world’s problems: collapsed economies, global warming, hostile enemies and our current and far-flung twin battlefronts, either of which may prove to be the world’s second “30 Years’ War.”


A woman in one of Palin’s crowds praised her for being “a mom like me … who thinks the way I do” and added, for ill measure, “That’s what I want in the White House.” Fine, but in what capacity?

Do this lady’s like-minded folk wonder how, say, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, et al (add your own favorites) managed so well without being soccer moms? Without being whizzes in the kitchen, whipping up moose soufflés? Without executing and wounding wolves from the air and without promoting that sad, threadbare hoax — sexual abstinence — as the answer to the sizzling loins of the young?

(In passing, has anyone observed that hunting animals with high-powered guns could only be defined as sport if both sides were equally armed?)


Could the willingness to crown one who seems to have no first language have anything to do with the oft-lamented fact that we seem to be alone among nations in having made the word “intellectual” an insult?

I can’t really add anything to that, other than to share Dick Cavett’s amazement that Stupid has become the new Smart, and Smart the new Stupid.  I mean, it’s not like Stupid has a very good track record.

Entry Filed under: Media,Palin


  • 1. Spear and Magic  |  November 16th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Fortunately, but probably temporarily, Smart has become the new new Smart, and Stupid the plain old Stooopid. Bush has tarnished the brand, at least for a while.

    It seems that in this election cycle Stupid became something of a boutique flavor, passionately defended by that hard-core Palin minority, and tolerated by the remaining 10-15% who held their nose and voted for her slate and prayed for McCain’s health.

    I yield to no man in my appreciation of the Cavett. One long lost video clip I would love to see again before I die is Rick Moranis’ Cavett impression.

  • 2. Spear and Magic  |  November 16th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Typical Cavettism from the article:

    > May I confess that upon first seeing her, I liked her looks?
    > With the sound off, she presents a not uncomely frontal appearance.

    A sentence that seems like it might have come through Penthouse Letters, filtered through the editors at The New Yorker.

  • 3. Eli  |  November 16th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    One long lost video clip I would love to see again before I die is Rick Moranis’ Cavett impression.


  • 4. Spear and Magic  |  November 16th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    > I would love to see again before I die

    I knew it. You are angling for my death.

    Not that I was fishing for you to locate the clip or anything …. But you are Mr. Multi-Medium, after all!

    Thanks! This is just brilliant.

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