Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Blank Verse of Sarah Palin

Years ago -- in fact, more than a decade ago -- when Jill and I attended a particular church in North York (the same one we were married in), the minister delivered sermons that sounded great. Whenever I woke up during the service, and focused on the last sentence I heard, it was always an interesting thought, that had been delivered with confidence and no hesitation whatsoever, in a fine public speaking voice. But there was a problem -- whenever I stayed awake enough to actually listen to more than one sentence, I concluded that the sermon was a series of more or less related thoughts, but there was little or no internal coherence at all between sentences. The sermon may have been intended to evoke images, but was certainly not a logically constructed argument, not an an essay on some aspect of faith or the human condition (or both!) delivered from the pulpit. That was a lack that I felt, because there wasn't any real content there for me.

Sarah Palin is sort of like that -- except that her internal coherence gets lost between clauses within each sentence.

However, if you suppress all your left brain processing, and think of my former minister's sermons and Sarah Palin's speeches as blank verse poetry, then it totally works. Conan O'Brien earlier this week on the Tonight Show had William Shatner read Sarah Palin's farewell speech as if it were blank verse.

Even if you thought it wasn't much of a speech, you'd have to agree that it was marginally more acceptable as poetry.

UPDATE (Aug 2, 2009) - The original link to the Conan O'Brien video on Youtube has been removed. Here is a replacement, which will hopefully last longer:

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