“Annoying” by Definition

Everyone’s noting Sarah Palin’s hypocrisy in screaming for Rahm Emanuel’s firing over the word “retarded” while giving Rush Limbaugh a pass for repeating the term over and over on a broadcast.

Indeed, she couldn’t bring herself to criticize somebody on her own team, while she makes hay over a mistake on the Administration side. Double standard, for sure. Self-serving, besides. (Now, to reduce the political damage, she’s apparently backtracking, asserting that no one should use “crude and demeaning” language.)

Funnily enough, what I find especially annoying is Palin’s use of the word “satire” to excuse Limbaugh. He is trying to be funny, and one could characterize his rant as “comedy.” (Emphasis on the quotation marks.)

But she didn’t use those words for a reason. David Letterman, for example, could defend his recent jokes about the Palin family with words like “funny” and “comedy.”  But Palin doesn’t want to let comics off the hook. Making an ordinary joke is, in her view, no excuse. Particularly when it’s about her.

But satire, now, is another thing entirely. Satire serves a purpose. Satire is serious business. So, let’s use the word “satire” to describe Limbaugh’s crude buffoonery. That’s right, Sarah: we have Horace, Juvenal, Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, and Rush Limbaugh.

“Political language,” wrote George Orwell, “…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”  Palin’s gnarled syntax and idiosyncratic diction, including this torturous use of “satire,” are pure wind, designed to deceive.

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