Thursday, October 30, 2008

Roy the Forklift Driver

"Uneducated Forklift Driver To Address Nation On Rush Limbaugh Radio Show: Nation Eagerly Awaits Ohio Man's Profound Insight Into Current Events." -- The Onion, May 29, 1993
I can't separate reality from parody any more. It's like the smart people are all gone, and our country is becoming an idiocracy.

I thought I had closed the door on Joe the Plumber (aka Samuel J. Wurzelbacher), but he won't go away. In fact, Joe plans to enjoy a lot more than just 15 minutes of fame. He has signed a management deal meant to keep him around long past this election.

God help us all.

The McCain campaign would like to portray Joe as the common working man. But in reality, Joe is a product of right wing talk radio and eight years of the Karl Rove brand of propaganda. And for some absurd reason, people are asking Joe for his insight into the world's problems.

Hey Joe, let me give you some advice instead: Get a plumber's license and pay your taxes.

But all funniness aside, I see the McCain campaign's obvious strategy. Both Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin are explicitly communicating to a mostly white, rural, undereducated audience. And underneath all the folksiness there exists a dangerous and irresponsible message. The MSM is largely missing Palin and Joe's calls for extreme actions because they (the elitist media) don't understand the vernacular:
Put simply, if Palin says "Barack Obama consorts with terrorists", she is making the assertion that he supports acts of violence against American citizens and the media will refute this obviously false assertion. If, instead, Palin says he "pals around with terrorists", she's used code-switching to mask the seriousness of the charge, obfuscating her meaning enough to get away with making an assertion that inevitably calls for the imprisonment or even assassination of a political opponent.
I know many people have sensed the underlying motive behind Palin's rhetoric, but when described in terms of code-switching, I realized that words I thought were imprecise (like palling) are actually very precise to the intended audience.

But this entire angry hate-mongering McCain campaign is in sharp contrast to Obama's calm and sensible pitch to the American people last night where he made calls for unity and a brighter future... without even mentioning McCain's name once.

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