by Robert Schlesinger
The annals of political rhetoric are full of forgettable phrases and more than the average amount of vacuous rhetoric. H.L. Mencken once wrote of Warren Harding that his inaugural address was "so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it," that it drug itself out of the "dark abysm ... of pish, and crawls insanely up to the topmost pinnacle of posh."
Few high-profile pols plumb that particular abysm these days, but Rudy Giuliani's ad-writers seem intent on exploring those lost lingual lands. His latest ad, running in Florida (of which he is running for president), asserts that on -- wait for it -- 9/11, "When the world wavered, and history hesitated, he never did."
Ignore for a moment the Rudy-was-stronger-than-the-rest-of-the-world rhetoric. History hesitated? What in heaven's name does that mean? Time was in danger of grinding to a halt until History's Mayor sprang into action? This is what's commonly known as ... gibberish. Gold-plated nonsense.
The rest after the click ...
My comment: Maybe it's the times. I don't know but, I often find myself yelling at the television. The phrase most often heard? "WTF did THAT mean?!?!?!
Sometimes I think that I am one of the last people on the planet who has an honest love of words and their power to convey real meaning. I admire the Winston Churchills and Abraham Lincolns of the world who have been able to rally whole nations in their darkest hours with a speech ... and to phrase some of the most worthy wit in just a few simple words. Words are powerful things and they should be treated with respect.
Winston Churchill, in describing a particularly pompous opponent, once quipped, "There but for the grace of God ... goes God."
Are you listening, Rudy?