Is Sarah Palin the heir to Shakespeare?
Liberal America’s arch-nemesis in chief is an eager tweeter to say the least: if she’s not spouting madcap invective about healthcare or liberty, she’s talking about huntin’ and fishin’ and other good ol’ American outdoor pursuits.
Yesterday though, she added a new string to her already considerable bow – inventing new words, just like that Shakespeare guy from the TV.
In a now sadly deleted post on Twitter, which referred to some unpleasant right-wing campaign to stop a mosque being built in New York, Palin asked all peaceful Muslims to ‘refudiate’:
Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate
Not entirely sure what it means, but it sounds important. I suspect it’s intransitive, and that she is making a general call for action of some sort, but beyond that it’s a mystery. Lucky for us, some enterprising soul took a screengrab of the original tweet.
Her new-found linguistic ability evidently caught someone’s eye, however, as that tweet soon disappeared, to be replaced by a similar one:
Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real
The word ‘refute’, you’ll note, means ‘disprove’ or ‘rebut’ rather than the clearly intended ‘refuse’; she got that bit wrong too. Duly, she had another go:
Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing
At last, English as it is conventionally spoken, and only at the third time of asking. Of course, for all its lexical accuracy, it’s still a nasty sentiment. The so-called Ground Zero Mosque is two blocks from Ground Zero, and it’s designed as a community centre with a swimming pool and an auditorium as well as the mosque. I’m not even sure why I’m typing out a justification for its existence. Wasn’t America founded on a principle of religious freedom?
I digress: having made her succession of pronouncements, our heroine finally came clean with a humble apology:
“Refudiate,” “misunderestimate,” “wee-wee’d up.” English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!
What she’s done there, of course, is both to compare herself to Shakespeare, and to compare Shakespeare with that other well known savant George W Bush. Scholars and linguists will no doubt spend decades unpicking these suggestions to find out which of them is the most egregiously offensive.
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