The Official Language of America Is GibberishJuly 20, 2010
If you know America – and by darn we do our best to make you know us whether you want to or not – then you know our national motto is “Fuck you.” As in “Fuck you, Britain! We’re our own country now,” or “Fuck you Indians! It’s our land now,” or “Fuck you nutrition! We’re inventing a sandwich that replaces the bun with slabs of chicken.”
Now I’m not sure what George Orwell ever did to America, but our country seems to take great joy in telling him “Fuck you,” even though he’s been dead for sixty years. In particular, America loves telling Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” to go fuck itself every chance we get, because the political and media classes of our country look at Orwell’s claim that the vagueness, intentional lack of clarity, and “decadence of our language is probably curable” and declare loudly “Fuck you, Orwell! It is not and we’re going to crank all that shit until the knob falls off.”
Our example comes from the latest adventure that Sarah Palin took on Twitter, a communications platform seemingly geared to be a perfect vessel in our nation’s “Fuck you Orwell” campaign. We’re going to overlook the birth of the word “refudiate” because we believe she took vocabulary classes from Mike Tyson, and we’d like to think she too is on the Zoloft to keep from killin’ y’all. Instead, we’re going to look at everything else that she dribbled onto the InnerNets, with the help of our own Tina the Lesbian.
This was the original Palin tweet on the topic of a possible Islamic center and mosque being two blocks away from the site of the World Trade Center…
Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate
“A computer has a better chance of dividing by zero than diagramming that sentence,” says Tina the Lesbian. “The fourth time I read that tweet, my nose started bleeding because I can’t figure out what the hell it’s saying. I stare at it, and then I find myself yelling at it ‘What do you want from me?’ It’s like something out of a Kafka story.”
“I need a territorial ruling of what makes up the heartland of America,” I say. “Because I think she’s just using the term to talk about places that will pay her money to speak and not ask her to explain the crazy shit that comes out of her mouth.”
Palin pulled that tweet and put up another, I guess, to clarify and elucidate:
Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real.
“Because you don’t want the non-peaceful New Yorkers doing your refuting,” says Tina the Lesbian. “Peaceful New Yorkers must be code for White People.”
“Ninja Vicki offered me a soda today, but I said no thank you,” I say. “I guess that means I refuted her idea that I would like a soda. But I didn’t refute the soda itself. So I think Sarah Palin is asking the Peaceful New Yorkers to refute the premise that they don’t wet their collective pants anytime the word ‘Muslim’ comes up. It’s the only way that sentence makes any lick of sense.”
“She needs to go back to making up nonsense words like refudiate because the real words with actual meanings don’t deserve this sort of treatment,” says Tina the Lesbian. “It’s like she’s hacking up nouns and verbs to make herself a language suit. She’s telling syntax to rub the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”
But then Palin pulled that second tweet and replaced it with a third…
Peace-seeking Muslims pls understand. Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing
“So we’ve dropped the refuting and now we’re back to heart-stabbings,” I say. “And now she calls on the specific Peace-Seeking Muslims that the act of being Muslim near the World Trade Center is an all-caps unnecessary provocation. You know, another ten or twenty drafts and her writing might have a chance of approaching coherency.”
“Who would be provoked here? The heartland people?” says Tina the Lesbian. “And what will they be provoked into doing? Hmm… what does the owner of so many guns mean when she says she something would provoke her? Is shooting up a mosque going to be part of her 2012 Presidential campaign?”
“Dear Peace-Seeking Muslims: in the interest of healing the imaginary rift between yourselves and white people who don’t live in New York or give a shit about New York except as a debating cudgel, please relinquish your first amendment right to assemble peaceably so that hearts may stop being stabbed. Kthxbai! Sarah Palin.” I say. “P.S. Stop provoking us by existing! It makes my second amendment itch.”
“I don’t know about my heart, but my brain feels like Sarah Palin stabbed it a few times with an icepick,” says Tina the Lesbian. “Have we as a society forced the language of bigotry to be so coded that not even the people it is intended for can understand it?”
“Jesus will provide the God-fearing Real Americans with their own Enigma Machine,” I say. “So when the messages come in, they’ll know what they truly mean.”
Orwell didn’t have the right answer when it came to how to solve the problem he outlined in his essay. He thought people would be smart enough to fix it on their own. We here at Renal Failure figure the solution needs a little American touch to it. It needs people to say “Explain Yourself,” and if they don’t explain themselves then you have to say “Fuck you, explain yourself” and keep saying that until they finally do.
Unless we’re all going to talk like Ricky on Trailer Park Boys… that’s the sort of language-mangling I can get behind. Especially since it’s Canadian.