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Enough of Palin's wardrobe

So you’re at home with the flu, nose and eyes streaming, and you’re a little too groggy to read (but not to blog), so you’re watching television. You entertain a faint hope that maybe you’ll just slip into a gentle coma until this election is over. But, remaining marginally conscious, you can only reflect on the many absurdities. Only in America.

You have people like David Letterman making fun of Sarah Palin’s wardrobe, as he did monotonously of Hillary Clinton’s. The man wears white socks with a dark suit. You’re going to listen to him comment on fashion?

You have a man who voted to use taxpayer dollars to buy government ownership in the nation’s banks accuse his opponent of being a socialist.

You have a former Saturday Night Live comedian with an apparent opportunity to be elected a United States senator from that frosty realm of sober Scandinavians, Minnesota.

You have multitudes of misty-eyed Democrats pinning their inchoate hopes on a freshman senator without much evidence that they realize that (a) he’s more of a moderate or centrist than some of them think and (b) if elected, he will be willing to make many compromises that will disappoint them.

You have a sitting United States senator running an ad that virtually accuses her opponent, a Presbyterian, of being an atheist. I am not making this up; see for yourself. If you previously imagined that honor, probity and decency were attached to service in the United States Senate, you may need to adjust your views. (Keep in mind the long-serving senator just convicted in federal court of corruption.)

And as you watch an apparently endless repetition of 30-second ads slamming one candidate or another with “spin” (read: distortion, half-truths, outright misrepresentation), you may hear the words of H.L. Mencken echoing in your head: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”



Posted by John McIntyre at 11:05 AM | | Comments (31)


The only good things to come out of Minnesota are Land O' Lakes butter and I-35.

So, Bucky, Minnesota is like Scotland?

From Boswell's account of his tour of Scotland with Johnson:

"It has been said, that being desired to attend to the noble prospect from the Castle Hill, he replied, 'Sir, the noblest prospect that a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to London.' This lively sarcasm was thrown out at a tavern in London, in my presence, many years before."

Minnesotans are notoriously fickle in their political behavior.

Note: It is the Democratic-Farm-Labor Party, not the Democratic Party.

Note: It may still reasonably be called a three-party system, party three being the Independence Party.

Note: It was the only state whose electoral votes did not go to Reagan in '84.

Note: The current senatorial election of which you speak.

Note: Jesse Ventura. Need I say more?

Our faults are few, but when we have them, at least they're interesting.

Word of advice, Bucky: It doesn't pay to argue with a Carlson.

Ms. Carlson,

If I were to recount all the good things about Minnesota (rather than the "good things to come out of Minnesota") I would have most certainly included the Minnesota State Fair. One can get Bacon On A Stick there.

Other than that, it is, as your own Garrison Keillor has quite accurately pointed out, simply a place where Mother Nature makes a serious attempt to kill you every winter.

The only good things to come out of Minnesota are Land O' Lakes butter and I-35.

Oh no you didn't.

It appears, Bucky, that some education is in order. You can thank Minnesota for the following (consider this a short list of highlights): F. Scott Fitzgerald, Garrison Keillor, Sinclair Lewis, the entire concept of "up North at the cabin", the Mayo Clinic, the excellent all-purpose expression "uff-da", quality public radio, the St. Olaf choir, scotch tape and post-it notes (and other fantastic products of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing), hotdish, the Minnesota State Fair, and - most important of all - Minnesota nice.

Did the Mayo Clinic "come out of" Minnesota? It building is still there, no? But of course, its medical advice has traveled far and wide.

And the State Fair hasn't "come out" yet, has it?

My mother, who grew up in Mora, always told me that the uniquitous "broadcaster's neutral accent" came out of Minnesota--prospects were sent to work there, to pick up just a smidge of the accent. (But not that long O, of course)

Other than that, it is, as your own Garrison Keillor has quite accurately pointed out, simply a place where Mother Nature makes a serious attempt to kill you every winter.

Whereas your Mother Nature is a pink-cheeked, docile being that cradles you gently through the year? If I have you correctly pegged geographically, sir, I believe your Nature likes to deprive you of oxygen, bury you alive and feed you to carnivorous animals. Choose your poison.

And anyway, that yearly challenge to existence is the source of our excellence. Darwinian elimination, if you will.

Did the Mayo Clinic "come out of" Minnesota?

Well, let us see: there is a Mayo Clinic Rochester (Mn.), Mayo Clinic Scottsdale (Az.), and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville (Fl.), as well as a Mayo Clinic Health System spanning Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Whether that qualifies as "coming out of" Minnesota, I leave to you.

As for the State Fair, I'll concede it has not been yet exported, to the detriment of the nation.

Word of advice, Bucky: It doesn't pay to argue with a Carlson.

*blushing furiously*

What John means to say, ladies and gentlemen, is not that you will inevitably be swayed by the force of my impeccable reasoning, but rather that I will hold to my position so stubbornly and tenaciously that you will lose simply because you will grow weary of it before I do.

But I don't know that it's fair to paint the whole family with the same brush; only half of us are that annoying.

This is like a little game-within-a-blog...trying to figure out which comment really comes before which other comment.

Ms. Carlson,

What is the (aptly selected) state bird of Minnesota?

best regards,

Oxygen-Starved Bucky

P.S. I'll also concede on "uff-da". I'm also surprised you didn't mention Bob Dylan.

Ms. Carlson,

Oh, very sneaky response about the Loon. Very sneaky, indeed.

As to the Dylan ommission, are you more of the Lipps, Inc. pursuasion? I believe the Cities were the inspiration for "Funkytown" were they not?



What is the (aptly selected) state bird of Minnesota?

The state bird, Gavia immer, is one of the most beautiful creatures on this earth with a lovely, mournful voice that served as my summertime lullaby when I was a small child. You tread on thin ice, sir... .

The Bob Dylan omission was purposeful.

And lest there be any confusion over my choice of adverb, it is my blushing that is furious. I myself am embarrassed, yet perhaps a little pleased to have earned such a reputation with you, Mr. McIntyre.

Dear Sir,

I am of the if it isn't classical I probably don't know it persuassion. And if it was written after 1950, not a chance.

"Funkytown", however, I am familiar with only because it was the music for the routine my class did in the figure skating show one year. (Don't ask.) And yes, the song was inspired by Minneapolis. Or rather, the desire to escape from Minneapolis. We all desire that sometimes. That's why there's St. Paul.

With fondest regards,

Ms. Carlson,

I'll give you this, you were closer on "persuasion" than I.

Your double "s" likely derives from a Norwegian background, am I correct?

My "pur" derives from cutting class to go smoke behind the football bleachers too many times.

Do you enjoy opera?

Best personal regards,


Dear Sir,

I would like to say that my double “s” derives from the fact that I have had less than 5 ½ hours of sleep every night for the last five nights. Unfortunately, the truth is that my dictionary is a well-worn book. I spell most horrendously and am saved only by a well-developed talent for recognizing misspelt words. Clearly, however, it does not make me infallible.

As to my background, it is mostly Swedish, some Norwegian, and large dashes of German, Scottish, English, Finnish and French Huguenot. The particular individual from which I inherited this fault is the source of the Norwegian portion, so the blame for the defective gene may easily lie where you have placed it.

I do enjoy opera, though it is only in the last years of college that I developed the ear for it. My education in its works is therefore still quite limited.

Yours most sincerely,

Ms. Carlson.

Re: opera. I figured as much.

Warm and giddy regards,



Re: figuring. And how is that? For I sense the gust of wind that signals something flying over my head... .

Respectfully hesitant regards,

Ms. Carlson,
(May I call you Lena?)

Re: I sense the gust of wind that signals something flying over my head...

I don't get what you are saying there.

Regardless regards,


Dear Sir,

My apologies. My allusion was lost to obfuscation. I was saying that I get the feeling I'm missing something. Why is it that you figured I would like opera but not know much of it?

Regarding your other question, my name is Abigail Leigh Youngberg Carlson. You may call me anything you choose, but should you come to harm in the next few days, I will not be held responsible for divine intervention on my behalf.

Most amused regards,
Abigail (who is trying to imagine what giddy regards would look like from a person such as yourself)

This has been quite entertaining, thank you Ms. Carlson and Mr. Bucky.

Oh, Bucky, dear--come on back to the foodie blog! Although this exchange IS amusing. How do you know so much about Minnesota, anyhoo?

Rob & Dahlink - Lena and I are just a regular George and Gracie act, we are. (I can't stop, because she threw down the "you will grow weary before I" gauntlet. If I let her have the last word, I'll never be able to show my face in You Don't Say again.)

Ms. Carlson,

Since Dahlink brought up food (and since you apparently have split your loyalties between Minnesota and Maryland) may I ask your culinary opinion?

More obnoxious waste product to be passed off as food: Spam or Scrapple?

I ain't a-skeerd,


My Dear Sir,

I can't stop, because she threw down the "you will grow weary before I" gauntlet.

Hah! I knew that was at the bottom of this.

Spam and Scrapple are both disgusting. I call a tie.

Prayerfully yours,

Then you wouldn't care for goetta either, I warrrant.

Shouldn't all this be back on Elizabeth's blog? Why should she be spared?

I would likely not care for goetta, but I try everything at least once before I reject it.

Why should she be spared?

The corollary of this question being why should you suffer? Because, my dear man, as I told Bucky over chez Ms. Large, you are at the top of my black list this week. And with comments like that, you won't be moving from that spot anytime soon.

It was at the prospect of that damn ball of twine that I snapped.

Now, sadly, I must go hence
To my cabin with celerity.
This is the consequence
Of ill-advised asperity.

And now the damn comments are going out of sequence again. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Mr. McIntyre, you could stop this madness simply be declaring me to be the winner of the argument.

(Apparently, you would get no further into the doghouse by doing so, I should point out as an argument in favor of said declaration.)

(Maybe that should be "farther into"...that's always a confusing one for me.)

Otherwise, I've spent the day developing a very long list, beginning with "Home To The World's Biggest Ball Of Twine," with which I am prepared to continue.

Will you people just GET A ROOM.

Sigh. He yelled. That's going to ruin the rest of my day.

What I was going to say before the storm hit, however, is that you needn't take such drastic measures, Bucky. I have, for once, had my say, and have enjoyed it immensely.

The last word, dear sir, is yours.

JEM: Hey! Look four comments above this one!

Worry not, Mr. McIntyre. I simply left to take care of a patient so I can finally depart from this hospital for the day. But I saw your post and could not help but be mollified by such poetic grace.

Truly, Bucky, the floor is yours.

[JEM: Actually, it's Arthur Sullivan's poetic grace. But I remembered it.]

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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