Sunday, August 19, 2007
Gosh darnit, did the Globe forget Romney's Mormon?
Good grief. The Boston Globe analyzes Mitt Romney's "Leave It to Beaver" language in a front-page story without raising the most plausible explanation for why Romney says things like, "Holy Moly!," "O grunt!," and "Darn." Say, isn't Romney somewhat famously LDS? If there's something you're unlikely to encounter on the lips of a pious Mormon, it's profanity. I'd attribute these verbal tics to the religious subculture in which he grew up and in which he has remained active.
Granted, Romney didn't grow up in Utah, as I did, but I'm strongly inclined to think that he comes by his G-rated vocabulary honestly. (I've never shaken the habit myself, despite my long years of heresy. Mrs Philocrites especially likes to tell the story of the winter morning when I looked outside, saw the heavy snowfall, and passionately exclaimed, "Good grief!" She just about died laughing.) So I'm going to say with some confidence that this liberal line on Romney doesn't wash:
Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley and author of "Talking Right," a study of how conservatives use language to defeat liberals, said he does not buy the "Happy Days" presentation.
"He's the son of a governor who went to Harvard Law and Harvard Business School, who ran a leveraged buyout firm — who talks like Jimmy Stewart," he said.
"It's condescending, because it implies listeners are going to be taken in by that sort of thing. It doesn't impute a very high level of intelligence to Republican voters."
Does Romney come across as a goody-two-shoes? Sure. But I don't think it's quite as calculated as Nunberg would have it. I think it's just his Mormonism. (Random tidbit: Jimmy Stewart left his papers to BYU, the Mormon university Romney attended.)
I left Mormonism 18 years ago, but I still can't bring myself to swear in even the most TV-friendly ways. Darn it.
("Life with Romney: Gee whiz rules," Lisa Wangness, Boston Globe 8.19.07)
Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 19 August 2007 at 9:52 PM