Sunday Semantics

The person in charge of hiring at The New York Times should get a medal.

This newspaper’s editorial staff is phenomenal;  not because of their political proclivities, but because of the quality of their output, their delivery.  These writers take current news, factual, trendy, whatever, and create pieces that are cohesive, mind-shaking and, above all, humorous.

In today’s paper, Maureen Dowd outdid even herself.  In discussing Palin’s shopping spree, Dowd nailed the downfall of the Republican Party.  She couched this decline in the trivial context of Palin’s champagne tastes for herself, but a belief in the Walmart, Joe Sixpack life for the rest of us.  Dowd used her wry sense of humor to drive home the fallacy of Republican philosophy versus Republican reality.  Her humor is even more effective than the most serious journalism.  Her column today was the final nail in the coffin for Palin specifically, and the  Republicans overall:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/opinion/26dowd.html?hp

The more wide-ranging implication of this silly shopping spree is very serious.  The Republican incumbent senators, Liddy Dole in North Carolina and Norm Coleman in Minnesota, are in extremely tight races for re-election.  Wouldn’t it have been so much more productive for their party to have poured funds into their teetering races rather than to have spent the money on Palin’s clothing and make-up?  These twisted  actions carried out by the Republicans are so far-out, so demented, and so out of whack with what is really important, that the result is nothing short of hilarious.   But remember, and this is what what really drives  us to fight harder, humor is just a hair away from the depths of a hopeless, pathetic existence.  The ability and NEED to laugh is a coping mechanism.

Humor is a powerful tool.  A funny person often belies his own intellectual ability and insight.  Do not be fooled.  The successful use of humor is dependent on one’s deep intellectual capacity, a weaving of the facts, a keen power of observation and a polished delivery.   When honed well, these qualities not only produce laughter, but also instill a deeper meaning to the audience.  This is the genius of comedy, whether written or spoken.

The reason I began this website way back in February was for the children.  Specifically, my children and their friends.  During their lifetimes, they never have had a national political figure, an inspirational, truly educated and education-loving person who offered them the hope for much needed change, honesty and a dedication to the greater good.  My offspring, being their twenty-something selves, have had limited life experiences.  However, the primary experience they DID have was their education, so that drew them towards Obama.  Education provided the common ground for the joining of forces between Barack Obama and the younger generation.

One of the best effects this campaign year has had on the younger generation has been to infuse their lives with humor.  As a result, they now appreciate candor, but have a deep respect for perspective.  The children may get some huge laughs from the idiocy of our past and present leaders, but they also are figuring out the qualities that a decent leader must embody.  Thus, laughter and humor have provided our children with a desire to go further, to push harder, for a cause or person they believe in.

Back to my friends at The New York Times.  Frank Rich, my numero uno journalistic hero, has another amazing column today.  He took the seed of an idea, i.e. the supposed racism of white, working class America, and turned it around on its heels:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/opinion/26rich.html?hp

Rich consistently demonstrates writing prowess because he takes an original idea (oftentimes the opposite of current accepted thought), backs it up with research and facts, and then presents it to the public in a cohesive, straight forward manner.  He can not help but reach even those people who claim “not to get it.”  That is the true mark of a successful writer.

The icing on the cake, however, is Judith Warner’s Op-Ed contribution in today’s Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/opinion/26warner-1.html

For me, this article says it all.  My interpretation is the following:  men and women in America HAVE reached gender parity.  An asshole woman can  now scale the career ladder as successfully as an asshole man.  Long live mediocrity!  If sexual equality means abiding by the lowest common denominator, so be it.  WRONG!  Sarah Palin had the chance to rise to the occasion, to be a representative of decency, honesty and working for the people.  But then, of course, she was not anywhere close to being that person BEFORE she was chosen as McCain’s VP, so why would I be so naive as to think she would embody those idealistic traits AFTER her selection?  Evolution is not a part of Palin’s vocabulary, in theory or in practice.  Clearly she is quite content to remain in her run-of-the-mill fen of a superficial life, although all the while clothed to the nines.

These New York Times journalists have brought reality to the surface.   Through their keen sense of insight and observation, their refined writing skills, their dogged research of the facts and their (often) humorous presentation of the material, they have taken political commentary to the next level.  They have reached the people.  They have gotten across the message.  They have done their civic duty.  Mission accomplished.

So dear Personnel Manager of The New York Times, wear your medal proudly.

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