Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nice goofs

A couple of nice political goofs this week. Johnny Mack's main econ guy, Phil Gramm, seems to think that the misery of four-buck gas is all our imagination, and vocalized distress is nothing more than whining. Gramm was always amazing to me, the best possible example of just how high a human can rise on intelligence and cold calculation unleavened by one iota of humanity or charm. Guy makes my skin crawl.
Then Barack, in a remarkable panderfest, suggests to a gathering of Latinos that every American child should learn Spanish. Then we wouldnt have to press #1 for English ... they could just make all the recordings in Spanish. Obama's really whoring. It's a popular cheap shot for elitist types to chide Americans for not knowing more languages and to go on about all the polyglot Europeans. Fact is, until the huge invasions of immigrants, particularly Mexicans and Central Americans, in the last couple decades, most Americans had no practical use for second languages. The people who lived where a second language was useful, like many Texan borderers, learned one. A language is a wonderful thing to know, but before the floods of immigrants a 20th-Century Iowan, say, had no more immediate use for a second language than a Russian peasant had, and I suspect few Russian peasants spoke second languages. It's not some sinister xenophobia, as the snotty media people like to imply; it simply wasn't necessary. Someone has remarked that a bilingual person is a treasure but a bilingual society is a catastrophe. Judging from Barack's godawful accent when he does his little audaciously hopeful mottoes in Spanish, I suspect he doesn't speak any Spanish. Wonder if he speaks any foreign language? Oh, well, his English is impeccable, which gives him one huge advantage over the current cripple-mouth president.

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