January 10, 2010

MALAPROPISMS

A good comment over at American Thinker:

I heard Obama use this phrase the other day: "intimately passionate".

Seems strange, as the accepted way to convey that meaning would be to say "deeply passionate", and the adjective deeply would be the proper one required by any copy editor.
And remember when Obama said "...calibrate my words". All the William Safire (RIP) types fell out of their chairs.

So, is Obama the master of malapropisms, the Norm Crosby of national politics?

I remember being completely befuddled by "calibrate my words."  Didn't Bush get an enormous amount of grief for every vocabulary misuse?  And even the invention of the word Bushisms?  Obama's just as bad.

Posted by: Sarah at 08:26 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 114 words, total size 1 kb.

1 Obama's just as bad.

Silly Sarah!!  Everyone knows that Bush was an idiot and Obama is a genius.  Now be a good girl and drink your Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Lissa at January 10, 2010 12:42 PM (mgjM7)

2 I don't think those words mean what he thinks they mean.

Posted by: airforcewife at January 10, 2010 01:38 PM (uE3SA)

3 Found the following gaffes elsewhere.  It's amazing that he's allowed outside without a helmet.

"UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? It's the Post Office that's always having problems." –attempting to make the case for government-run healthcare, while simultaneously undercutting his own argument, Portsmouth, N.H., Aug. 11, 2009

"The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system." --in remarks after a health care roundtable with physicians, nurses and health care providers, Washington, D.C., July 20, 2009

"It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of -- I don't know what the term is in Austrian, wheeling and dealing." --confusing German for "Austrian," Strasbourg, France, April 6, 2009

"Let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel's. It will be a strong friend of Israel's under a McCain...administration. It will be a strong friend of Israel's under an Obama administration. So that policy is not going to change." --Amman, Jordan, July 22, 2008

"How's it going, Sunshine?" --campaigning in Sunrise, Florida


"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong."

"I've now been in 57 states -- I think one left to go." --at a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon

"The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, you know, there's a reaction that's been bred in our experiences that don't go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that's just the nature of race in our society."  (EMPHASIS ADDED)

"In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed." --on a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people

“There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.” (Obama was born in 1961 and the Selma march was in 1965)

“If they [his daughters] make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

“My father served in World War II, and when he came home, he got the services that he needed.” (At the end of WWII, Obama’s father was 10 years old.)

New T-Shirt Ideas:
"Punished with a baby" maternity shirt
"Typical White Person"
"I don't speak Austrian"

Posted by: Chuck Z at January 10, 2010 08:07 PM (bMH2g)

4 Thanks to Chuck Z for the list. Obama is just being honest in the first two!

I think even "deeply passionate" isn't a good choice of words because it's redundant. Is anyone shallowly passionate?

I understood "calibrate my words" without any problems. Merriam-Webster lists one definition of "calibrate" as "to adjust precisely for a particular function".

We forgive or even embrace the word choices of our friends and reflexively reject those of our foes. If a Republican had said those words, they might have been lauded as a fresh metaphor. But Obama said them, so they are forever tainted.

Who wants to sound like Obama?

John T. Reed analyzed Obama's speaking techniques:

As an erstwhile professional speaker, who has often been at conventions where I was one of many speakers and I listened to them as well, I know many of the tricks of the speaking trade. Obama’s reputation as a great speaker actually stems mainly from his use of several cheap speaker tricks.

[...]

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the book The Wit of Obama.

[...]

JFK, FDR, Lincoln, and Reagan are highly regarded as great orators. They said many memorable things. Even with the best available speech writers and now five years as a U.S. Senator and President, Obama has said nothing memorable.

I disagree. Obama has said a few things that are memorable ... for the wrong reasons.

Posted by: Amritas at January 15, 2010 04:03 PM (+nV09)

5 Of course I *understood* the phrase; I meant I didn't understand where it came from.  It's not a real expression.  I still don't think I'd accept "calibrate" when applied to words/speech from a Republican.  Maybe from a nonnative speaker.

Posted by: Sarah at January 15, 2010 07:23 PM (gWUle)

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