Words of the Week

Last week the royal wedding and beatification of Pope John Paul, plus Congress being out of session, brought fewer linguistics feasts than usual. But there were a few, once you got passed the weekend holiday that concerned “spring spheres” as the Seattle school district preferred to call Easter eggs.

President Obama used an unusual, violent metaphor in referring to our energy crisis. He discussed the rise in gas prices, saying “The truth is, there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.” Why he worked this gun imagery into gas, I don’t know, but he went on to urge Americans who drive gas guzzlers to just buy a new energy efficient cars.
It was kind of a let them eat cake moment, I thought. Usually the people driving the cheaper cars do so because they can’t afford to get a new one. Or, they have a lot of kids and need a vehicle that can carry them all to their destinations.  And, hey, aren’t we supposed to recycle rather than randomly throw working items into the landfill? I think the Prez shot himself in the foot with this silver bullet.

Then he went on to insult another group of people.

After Obama released his certificate of live birth, he criticized Donald Trump indirectly when he said: “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.”

Politico reported that “many in the carnival community were not amused by the mention of their industry.” Indeed.

“I think that what Obama said is the same type of stereotype that has been placed on African Americans,” said Frank Zaitshik, who runs Wade Shows, a carnival with more than 100 rides attracting 15 million Americans each year. “You wouldn’t expect those comments from someone who is a minority and has faced prejudice.”

Yes, it was shocking. With the reputation politicians have, a carnival barker is a step up on the respectability scale, isn’t it?



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