The EFM Feature

For the record, I tweet, and I love Gov. Palin (even though she’s not my choice for 2012). Notwithstanding all of that, it is unfortunate that an increasing amount of our national discourse takes place in 140-character-or-less blurbs typed with one’s thumbs, and this, from Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post, is funny:

Refudiate: (verb) a word Sarah Palin just coined on Twitter.
Meaning: something “peaceful muslims” should “pls” do.
Use in a sentence: “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”
Country of Origin: Unclear, but you can see Russia.
Explanation: “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”
Note: As someone who has never, personally, been “wee-wee’d” up but thinks it sounds like a painful process that would be difficult to reverse, I’m overwhelmed by Palin’s boldness. Churchill said of Ramsay MacDonald that “He has, more than any other man, the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thought.” But why even bother with the words? Sarah Palin has broken down the last boundary, and now the sky is her limit. Soon, her speeches will just be things like: “For too long, Americans have wandered in a gormless wabe, mimsy and absturpated. Can’t the U.S. government corribulate this reticulousity?” Well, can we? I’m not sure.
Sure, Shakespeare did this, but he was — how to put this? — Shakespeare. He wasn’t trying to encourage people to take action on the political scene. He was writing plays, and his words usually came with context — something “refudiate” lacks. I still am not entirely sure what it means, and if someone told me to “pls refudiate” anything, my circuits would be overrun, and I would have to lie down somewhere. Besides, just because Shakespeare did something doesn’t make it all right. He also wrote “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and that includes fairies and men with donkey heads — two things I doubt Palin would endorse.
Maybe she’ll prove me wrong and “refudiate” will catch on. But if she runs in 2012, I hope we’re horpswangling enough to grountify her. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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