July 02, 2006

Why the Attention to Bush's Language?

The thing that I don't get about the not very accurate criticism of George Bush's use of language is, why do people bother? I guess I could see it if he were a great President and there was nothing substantive to criticize. It might be silly, but it would give journalists and bloggers something to do and let them feel that they were keeping up the side and making the Executive branch toe the line, but the people picking on Bush's language aren't die-hard neocons who can find nothing to criticize in his politics.

Indeed, some people seem to have the impression that the Language Loggers who have critiqued the criticism of Bush's speech are defending Bush and his politics. I can't speak for them, but this is not a valid inference. I know this because the criticism of Bush's speech seems to me to be generally off the mark, yet I find the man so nauseating I change the channel if his picture comes up on television. For the record, in my opinion he's the worst President in the history of the United States. He's dishonest, ignorant, religious in the worst ways and none of the good ones, and a spendthrift. He favors the rich and the privileged, values loyalty to himself and his party over competence, has worked to break down the wall between church and state, and cannot tolerate dissent. He has been slow to address real crises, ranging from Darfur to Hurricane Katrina, forcefully and effectively. His use of false justifications for the invasion of Iraq is in my view treasonous. His diversion of resources from Afghanistan to Iraq has allowed the Taliban to reassert themselves in Afghanistan and made Iraq into a hotbed for terrorism, which it was not until he invaded. He has actively and persistently undermined the rule of law, both domestically and internationally, and has condoned torture. He should be impeached and tried for war crimes. This is just the beginning of my contempt for the man and what he represents.

With all of this to criticize, or to defend if one is so inclined, why on earth are people wasting their time and ours with this tripe about his use of language?! I'm a linguist. I like language. But for the life of me I don't understand why people think that the quality of George Bush's English is more important than what he does with the enormous power that he holds.

Posted by Bill Poser at July 2, 2006 03:29 PM