Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No regrets

"English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too. - Sarah Palin
Ex-Governor Palin was replying to media gripes about her "coined word" refudiate, which makes me regret that William Safire isn't here to savor it. It sounds like a Bushism; Palin is more prone to incoherence and babbling. (Her daughter Bristol's decision to marry the father of her child may be occasioned by a reality show in the offing, but it has a certain logic. I hope they call the show "Palin Family Values," to remind others that refudiating can be taken back.) As for Sarah Palin's sense of the latitude of English, I agree: refudiate is pretty funny, and I hope it catches on. Meanwhile, if moderate Islam wants a mosque in Lower Manhattan, go for it.* Or we can test Robert Grudin's theory,** designing the Freedom Tower to resemble the minaret at Mecca. 

*: It was this proposal that Palin wished to "refudiate." 
**: In Design and Truth (Yale, 2010), Grudin argues that the World Trade Center towers were attacked because Osama Bin-Laden was incensed that their architect, Minoru Yamasaki, made use of Islamic motifs; he was also put out about Yamasaki's work in Saudi Arabia. Grudin's larger point is that bad design has consequences.

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