Speak like a ThrowbackPosted: October 20, 2012
So, I’m uploading my Mozy backup files–estimated time hours and hours and hours–because my computer suffered a case of blue screen of death. Windows 7 totally choked and I had to return it to the factory image. So, I’m throwing up a retro speak open thread since I have an alien computer until Mozy does its thing. This thread is actually related to this NYT’s article: “Gosh, Who Talks Like That Now? Romney Does”. RomneySpeak is a throwback to the good ol’ days when blacks had to pay poll taxes, count marbles in jars, and take long tests to vote. It’s a time when it was hard to get birth control and abortion was one of those back alley things. Yes, folks with Mittens, it’s like a throw back to that good old time when White Men were White Men and the rest of us were under their thumb. Probably why they appear to be his main supporters.
At a campaign stop in Rockford, Ill., not long ago, Mitt Romney sought to convey his feelings for his wife, Ann. “Smitten,” he said.
Not merely in love.
“Yeah, smitten,” he said. “Mitt was smitten.”
It was a classic Mittism, as friends and advisers call the verbal quirks of the Republican presidential candidate. In Romneyspeak, passengers do not get off airplanes, they “disembark.” People do not laugh, they “guffaw.” Criminals do not go to jail, they land in the “big house.” Insults are not hurled, “brickbats” are.
As he seeks the office of commander in chief, Mr. Romney can sometimes seem like an editor in chief, employing a language all his own. It is polite, formal and at times anachronistic, linguistically setting apart a man who frequently struggles to sell himself to the American electorate.
Romney evidently hides out a lot in his little corners of the world where modernity alludes him.
Mr. Romney, 65, has spent four decades inside the corridors of high finance and state politics, where indecorous diction and vulgarisms abound. But he has emerged as if in a rhetorical time capsule from a well-mannered era of soda fountains and AMC Ramblers, someone whose idea of swearing is to let loose with the phrase “H-E-double hockey sticks.”
“He actually said that,” recalled Thomas Finneran, the speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives when Mr. Romney was governor. “As in, go to ‘H-E-double hockey sticks.’ I would think to myself, ‘Who talks like that?’ ”
Mr. Romney, quite proudly. In fact, he seems puzzled by the fascination with something as instinctive (and immutable) as how he talks, as if somebody were asking how he breathes
You can tell he’s stuck there by the way he thinks the Soviet Union is still our biggest threat? Kruscheve any one?
Those around him are so accustomed to his verbal tics that they describe them in shorthand. “Old-timey,” said one aide. “His 1950s language,” explained another. “The Gomer Pyle routine,” said a third.
Asked about his boss’s word preferences, Eric Fehrnstrom, a veteran Romney adviser, responded knowingly: “You mean like ‘gosh, golly, darn’?”
For Democratic strategists, Mr. Romney’s throwback vocabulary feeds into their portrayal of a man ill-equipped for the mores and challenges of the modern age. David Axelrod, a top adviser for an Obama campaign that has adopted “Forward” as its slogan, once quipped that Mr. Romney “must watch ‘Mad Men,’ ” the hit television show set in Manhattan in the 1960s, “and think it’s the evening news.”
His exclamations can sound jarring to the contemporary ear — or charming, depending on whom you ask. Midway into a critique of Mr. Obama’s economic policies a few months ago in Charlotte, N.C., Mr. Romney declared: “They’ve scared the dickens out of banks,” he said. “They’ve scared the dickens out of insurance companies.”
Frankly, the idea of a President Romney and a Vice President Ryan scares the dickens out of me! Talk about revenge of the zombies!
I have to admit to being in Nursery School in 1960 so you’ll have to excuse me if most of what I remember has to do with Captain Kangaroo. I do know that when I was growing up as the 60s rolled on that I saw the Vietnam War on TV and heard nightly body count and black people in the south being hosed down with fire hoses just for trying to vote. I remember that I couldn’t even wear pants to school in the middle of a midwestern winter. I sure as hell don’t want to go back to that.