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Back to the Bushisms industry?

That's what David Donnell wondered about this article: Jack Shafer, "Donald Trump Talks Like a Third-Grader", Politico 8/13/2015: Donald Trump isn’t a simpleton, he just talks like one. If you were to market Donald Trump’s vocabulary as a toy, it would resemble a small box of Lincoln Logs. Trump resists multisyllabic words and complex, writerly […]

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From Bushisms to la langue François

Remember the Bushisms industry? Something similar, mutatis mutandis, seems to be springing up in France. Stéphane Ratti, "De la langue française à la langue François", Le Figaro 2/14/2015: Pourquoi François Hollande s'acharne-t-il à massacrer ainsi la langue française dans toutes ses interventions? Plusieurs analystes se sont à juste titre posé la question après avoir, avec […]

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The last Bushism?

The "Bushisms" industry, mined so thoroughly by Slate's Jacob Weisberg for eight long years, is now a thing of the past. But Weisberg's colleague at Slate, Christopher Beam, got an exclusive scoop on a behind-the-scenes eleventh-hour Bushism when he managed to get into a farewell party for the outgoing administration on Sunday night. Here's what […]

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Bushisms fewer than expected?

We've spent a lot of electrons attacking the Bushisms industry — but we've never tried to make the argument that John Hinderaker put forward a couple of days ago, apparently in earnest ("The importance of being careful", 11/9/2008): In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. […]

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The last Bushism?

Count me among those who will not be at all sad to see the last of the Bushisms industry.  In the end, it's a bit like making wheelchair jokes about FDR, except that all of us commit infelicities of verbal expression from time to time. I guess that W gets tangled up a bit more […]

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Namibia, Nambia, whatever

It's hard to keep all those African countries straight, as President Trump demonstrated in a speech to African leaders at the U.N.: Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Mr. Trump continues to create jobs in broadcast comedy, even for workers normally employed in other industries:

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More political text analytics

I spent a few minutes this morning getting transcripts for all 12 Republican and all 9 Democratic debates, and over the next few days I'll do some additional Breakfast Experiments™ on the results. One trivial thing is a complete type-token plot, from texts constructed by concatenating all the transcript pieces attributed to each remaining candidate […]

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Comparative diglossia

In the comments on "From Bushisms to la langue François", there was some discussion of whether French is more diglossic than English — that is, whether the differences between (formal) writing and (informal) speech are greater in French than in English. As I mentioned, it's not clear how and what to count — informal words and expressions, […]

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It's not in the OED yet, but it's in Wikipedia, and in Ross Douthat's most recent blog post, "A Teachable Moment", NYT 10/16/2013:

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Billionaires, janitors, … and Jews?

Andrew Malcolm, "New gaffe: Obama confuses Jews with janitors", LA Times 9/26/2011: Here is what the president actually said, catching himself almost in time but not quite: If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew, uh, as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that […]

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Repetition disfluency

Modern mass media expose us to a lot of political speech, and therefore to a lot of journalistic commentary on politicians' individual speaking styles. Regular readers know that I don't generally have a lot of sympathy for attempts to tag Politician X with his or her allegedly characteristic X-isms, whether it's the collections of Bushisms […]

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Recommended reading

Fev at headsup: the blog on "I"-wash. Seriously — how long did you figure it would take for the "narcissist" theme to surface in (ahem) some commentary on the recent events in Pakistan? […]

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Here we go again

Jacob Weisberg, who turned the Bushisms industry into a nice source of income for six years or so, must be even more excited than Rupert Murdoch about the possibility that Sarah Palin will make a serious run for president in 2012.  Weisberg's Palinisms feature at Slate has already notched 71 little items, and the first […]

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