Apparently, President George W. McRetard is working his widdle self into a real hissy fit these days. I wouldn't get all stressed out over this, though. As we here at CC HQ have already observed, some folks really only talk the talk.
RHETORICAL SLEAZINESS, RIGHT-WING STYLE. While the Post article above is definitely entertaining in its coverage of George's "unacceptable"-related meltdown, it's something nearer the end of that piece that I find more amusing:
Bush's proclamations are not the only rhetorical evidence of his mounting frustrations. One of his favorite verbal tics has long been to instruct audiences bluntly to "listen" to what he is about to say, as in "Listen, America is respected" (Aug. 30) or "Listen, this economy is good" (May 24).
It's always fun to watch someone's increasing desperation, as they start to prefix every utterance with something like, "Listen, ...", as if a clearly unconvincing argument will suddenly become convincing if the listener would only pay closer attention. It's as idiotic as someone in a foreign country asking for help in English ("Which way to the train station?"), not being understood, then deciding that it will be more productive to ask exactly the same thing again, only slower and louder ("WHICH ... WAY ... TO ... THE ... TRAIN ... STATION!?").
The same thing can be said for the qualifier "Look, ...", which also denotes that the speaker knows he or she is about to spout absolute rubbish but wants to do it as authoritatively and inarguably as possible. Sort of like this ignorant dingbat, remember?
But the rhetorical slime that most gripes my wagger is when someone, in the process of going down in flames, suddenly blurts out, "You have to understand, ..." which, as I'm sure you can appreciate, is simply code for, "I'm about to say something that I demand you accept as axiomatic without further discussion, because that's the only way I'm not going to get my ass handed to me on a plate here." To which the only proper response is, "Hey, I don't have to 'understand' anything. If you have a case, let's hear it. Otherwise, put a sock in it."
Next week: Mr. Language Person answers the age-old rhetorical question, "When I'm writing about Steve Janke, is it more grammatical to write 'pompous blowhard' or 'self-obsessed fuckwit'? And what about capitalization?"