Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gahhd Bless Ya, Serra PAY-lin



RAWR, Courtesy of Ina, www.tiedyeina.com/

I experienced the Vice Presidential debate a day late through NPR, so I didn’t hear about Sarah Palin’s winks until a week later. I did, however, fall in love with her Alaskan accent. What can I say, it’s charming. Others, however, would rather dislocate their eardrums than listen to her voice for the next 4-8 years.

Mostly, the voice helps the Republican Camp.

Jason George writes that the Alaskan accent is attractive because it sounds "untrained" http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/09/sarah_palins_accent_explained.html. Compare this to Hillary Clinton’s voice, which could have been mistaken for a Northeastern news anchor, possibly a male one.

Palin didn’t have to reference soccer moms or mainstreet construction workers during the debate. Her voice expresses enough of a caring PTA persona already.

And the cute rhyming phrases--“I say it ain’t so, Joe… near and dear to my heart..” – speak directly to the average American citizen, fulfilling his need to see an authentic member of the middle class present in a high political position.

If desired, Palin could loose the accent with the help of a speech therapist as Stephen Colbert did. But why? Republicans don’t want robotic personalities, no Al Gores and no more Hillary Clintons.

2 comments:

Cindy Yeung said...

Your html is malfunctioning and you need to fix it : )

M. Dery said...

Truly interesting idea, but a few yards wide of our bull's-eye: PRESS criticism, not pop linguistics. Wish you had talked about the media commentary swirling around her accent, the various readings of it (some of which you reprise in your own analysis) as folksy, authentically Middle American, hayseed-y, or the Voice of Ingrown Yokel Stupidity. The idea, here, is to discuss the media's role in our cultural conversation, not to dissect the object of that conversation itself (unless, of course, the object IS the media). You're on target when you quote the swamppolitics analysis, but drop that line of mediacrit inquiry almost as soon as you pick it up. A lost opportunity.

Also, some drive-by comments:


"Compare this to Hillary Clinton’s voice, which could have been mistaken for a Northeastern news anchor, possibly a male one."

Says who? Where's your evidence? To my ear, Hillary adjusts her accent for the crowd, adopting a twangy, blue-collar Scranton accent in certain settings and a CHIK-ah-go accent in others. And she's a notorious g-dropper. Is that really how a nightly news Voice of Authority would talk? And how/why does she sound male?

"And the cute rhyming phrases--“I say it ain’t so, Joe… near and dear to my heart..” – speak directly to the average American citizen, fulfilling his need to see an authentic member of the middle class present in a high political position."

This a highly arguable assertion. Where's your supporting evidence? How do we know what Joe Six-Pack's needs are? Show me the money. And who says the Democrats have cornered the market on robots? Have you ever seen footage of Steve Forbes's stump speeches? Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln looks positively animated by comparison. Sounds to me like you're speaking from the political gut, not arguing based on the facts. If you've got some supporting evidence for these highly ideological statements, show us.
And Cindy's right: your HTML's showing, and it's broken.