Debate Lesson: Be Careful How You Refer to Your Opponent

It was inevitable that some­one would take this moment in the last night’s Pres­i­den­tial debate, when John McCain sound­ed like my grand­moth­er used to sound as he berat­ed Barack Obama*:

and do what peo­ple often do with an epi­thet these days, which is to wear it as a badge of honour:

Which led to the inevitable T‑Shirt:

Amaz­ing how the Inter­nets let you respond that fast. Kind of changes the rules, does­n’t it?

*She also liked to scold my father and the rest of us by saying: “You monkey!” when we did something she didn’t like, like arriving 15 minutes later than she thought we should from a car trip from Baltimore to Philadelphia.

6 Replies to “Debate Lesson: Be Careful How You Refer to Your Opponent”

  1. I think we were always “you lit­tle dev­ils,” or lat­er, just “you devils.”

    By the way, Sarah Palin told me Oba­ma hangs out with ter­ror­ists and stuff. Is that, like, [gasp] true?!? 😉

  2. There was the “My fel­low pris­on­ers” about either Amer­i­cans in gen­er­al or his repub­li­can col­leagues, and then this one. Both times, when I first heard that he’d made a gaffe, I was hop­ing he’d said “Pres­i­dent Obama”. 🙂

  3. Ah, you mean this one:

    I was think­ing of doing a sep­a­rate entry on this, but it’s been cov­ered pret­ty well already by the Blogosphere.

    Still it does reminds me sooo much of an old Jew­ish joke about a Bar Mitz­vah boy: The kid read­ing from the Torah fin­ish­es, and instead of say­ing the prop­er cliché that he’s sup­posed to par­rot: “Today I am a Man”, instead, he’s think­ing of all the gifts he’s going to get at the par­ty after­wards, includ­ing a real­ly nice writ­ing instru­ment — the tra­di­tion­al gift (this is obvi­ous­ly a real­ly old joke), so the kid says “Today I am a Foun­tain Pen”. 

    With try­ing to remem­ber and use his POW expe­ri­ences so close to the top of his mind, this was John McCain’s ‘Today I am a Foun­tain Pen’ gaffe. I don’t think it was senil­i­ty; (Remem­ber, that joke is about a 13-year old!) It was about John McCain want­i­ng to get his pris­on­er expe­ri­ences so vivid and pow­er­ful for his audi­ence. And it real­ly is a clas­sic case of a Freudi­an Slip.

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