Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not Only Unstable Dizzying

Have a look at this bit of verse. I didn’t write this. I’m just passing along the words. I’ll explain where the words come from below. (And a noon update at the bottom!)

so much good

further down

to reach it

we must live

proud and free

resist enslavement

to big crushes

be wary of accepting

it doesn't come often

accepting it

takes away

everything free

melting into

powerful care-taking arms

just suck hard

right out of us

not only unstable


it does make us

less free

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Kind of cool, huh? Sexy jazz romance. Beatnik love. Beatnik sex.

Okay. Here’s the deal. These words are a modern version of two classic traditions, found art and Ken Nordine’s word jazz. For people who don’t remember word jazz, here is a YouTube clip of “Think a thought.”

These words were actually spoken—actually in this order, too!—by Sarah Palin during her goodbye speech from Sunday, July 26. A full transcript of the speech is online here.

The full speech is about 2,300 words long. I read the transcript and, throughout, was struck by the words Sarah Palin picked and the order she put them in. Her old speeches were written by a seasoned, professional speechwriter from the Bush organization. The accepted wisdom is that this speech was written by Sarah Palin herself.

There is something of the Goblin Universe here. I can’t say exactly what it is. But there’s something weird here, something very weird. I can’t say I have any affection for Sarah Palin, but it was fun playing with her words. I strongly suspect I had more fun playing with her words than she did thinking up all of them and writing them down.

To create the “verse” above I took just one paragraph—just one paragraph from the two thousand words—and I edited out some words and I added line breaks. I did not move around anything. The verse words appear in the same sequence in the canonical paragraph.

Here is the canonical paragraph, with the verse words in red:

So much success, and Alaska there is much good in store further down the road, but to reach it we must value and live the optimistic pioneering spirit that made this state proud and free, and we can resist enslavement to big central government that crushes hope and opportunity. Be wary of accepting government largess. It doesn't come free and often, accepting it takes away everything that is free, melting into Washington's powerful care-taking arms will just suck incentive to work hard and chart our own course right out of us, and that not only contributes to an unstable economy and dizzying national debt, but it does make us less free.

Goodbye Sarah Palin. Good luck with the words you think up and write down in the future. You think up and write down some good ones!

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Additional Stuff—7/28, 12:30pm

I guess I’m not the only person knocked out by Palin’s words!

I got a link to this last night just after I wrote my post for today. Gawker has: Sarah Palin's Gradual Descent Into Incoherency

And last night Conan did—I swear to the un-nameable elder gods I didn’t know about this until just seconds ago!—William Shatner reading Palin as poetry to bongo music: North to the Future: A dramatic reading of Sarah Palin's farewell speech/mad triumphant soul-cry

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