I am going way out on a limb here. Maybe all the craziness has gotten to me, but among other things, these past few days I have been struck by contrasts: Contrasts between strong rhetoric and actual hate speech, contrasts between hope and fear, contrasts between healing and wounding, and contrasts between reason and insanity.
I am not sure what exactly insanity is, but I know an insane action when I see it. I know what it sounds like. We have all been taking a lot about language —language as speech and language as grammar. Can we not propose that a jumbled mind is expressed through incoherent speech? I was taught back in the day when teachers made us diagram sentences. I don’t know if we can diagram the mind, but diagramming a sentence provides insight into the mind of its perpetrator. The more the diagram is forced to wander around the page, loop back on itself, the more it reveals that the mind that created the sentence is either a richly educated one—as shown by the famous Proust sentence diagram—or such an impoverished one that it can produce only twaddle. Or the insanity of a disorganized brain. Which brings me to two people in the news who have both had trouble with language– and grammar.
I am not implying that Sarah Palin had anything to do directly with Jared Loughner’s heinous actions, but I can’t completely dismiss the idea that she “spoke” to him. In some ways, they spoke the same language: Insaniotics. Palin in not insane, but I aver that she is worse than merely inane.
The following is an imagined discussion between Jared Loughner and Sarah Palin, based on their actual quotes on a variety of topics:
Loughner: My hope – is for you to literate! If you’re literate in English grammar, then you comprehend English grammar. The majority of people, who reside in District-8, are illiterate – hilarious. I don’t control your English grammar structure, but you control your English grammar structure.
Palin: Refudiate, misunderestimate, wee-weed up. English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!
Loughner: The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.
Palin: It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where—where do they go?
Loughner: Terrorist: If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon. … If you call me a terrorist, then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem. You call me a terrorist. Thus, the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.
Palin: When we take up arms, we’re talking about our vote. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms, by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.
Loughner: Why don’t we just strap bombs to babies.
Palin: The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Loughner: I planned ahead.
Palin: I didn’t really have a good answer, as so often — is me (…) But then somebody sent me the other day, Isaiah 49:16, and you need to go home and look it up. Before you look it up, I’ll tell you what it says though. It says, hey, if it was good enough for God, scribbling on the palm of his hand, it’s good enough for me, for us. He says, in that passage, ‘I wrote your name on the palm of my hand to remember you,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m in good company.
Loughner: No I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver!
Palin: What I scribbled on the palm of my hand tonight too — it was the dollar sign, and I’m — we’re going to talk about the practical needs too for this cause, and this will remind me to — because I didn’t write it in my speech, I have to ad lib that part, so to remind me.
Loughner: Loughner is a United States Military recruit.
Palin: I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.
Loughner: I realize now that this is all a scam. We are examining the torture of students. This is my genocide school. I haven’t forgotten the teacher that gave me a B for freedom of speech.
Palin: You mentioned education and I’m glad you did. I say, too, with education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving.
Loughner: If B.C.E. years are unable to start, then A.D.E. years are unable to begin. B.C.E. years are unable to start. Thus, A.D.E. years are unable to begin.
Palin: I do have a strong belief in God, and I believe that I’m a heck of a lot better off putting my life in God’s hands, and saying hey, you know, guide me. What else do we have but guidance that we would seek from a Creator?
Loughner: In conclusion, reading the second United Sates Constitution, I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.
Palin: I am confident she knew that reading our sacred charter of liberty was more than just “symbolic.” But less than a week after Representative Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that HE would propose a law that would criminalize speech that he found offensive!
There are anarchic and delusional types who think we’re all in cahoots, that it’s all one big conspiracy, and grammar is part of it. They believe we’re part of this elitist attempt to keep the masses down through language.
Margaret Edson, who teaches social studies at a middle school in Atlanta, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play “Wit.” It is a genuinely brilliant piece of art.
Ms. Edson said,“If you don’t have grammar, you don’t have sense. You don’t have one another. You can’t say ‘I love you’ without grammar.”
As we have recently seen though, you can express hate without it.
- Loughner: I can’t trust the government (msnbc.msn.com)
- Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Right Wing Trying To Run From Rhetoric, AZ Shooting (lezgetreal.com)