Thursday, July 19, 2012

Romney's anaphor abuse

An anaphor is a linguistic expression that takes its meaning from some element in an utterance. For example, the word she in the old Roger Miller song lyric my uncle used to love me but she died is an anaphor that refers back (inappropriately, but never mind that) to my uncle. So far, so good.

In a speech back on July 16 President Obama said (my emphasis):
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that
Note the anaphor that, the last word in this bit of text, refers obviously to roads and bridges.  Keep that in mind as you peruse the pathologically dishonest way that presidential candidate Willard "Mitt" Romney represented what President Obama said (again, my emphasis):
Romney: He [President Obama] said this: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Suddenly, that no longer refers to roads and bridges, but to the business you thought you had built all on your own but that the President is suddenly saying you didn't.

What I want to say to Romney is "fine, then stop driving on our socialist roads and bridges." Because only a psychopathological level of hyper-individualism could lead somebody to imagine that they are totally and singularly responsible for whatever they create, and that they get no help, no support whatever, from the rest of us.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bill Moyers on Woody Guthrie

Yesterday was Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday, and Bill Moyers has a nice video essay: