Monday, December 15, 2008

A triumph for Tina and Sarah

Malcolm is banned from the annual family game of Trivial Pursuits (even though he is useless on the popular culture rounds).

This is a corollary of his addiction to the inconsequential, and a couple of fathoms length of bookshelf occupied by "Dictionaries of ...". The internet has supplanted many of these for instant access, but he retains many for , ahem, bathroom use.

Essential are dictionaries of quotations. The megaton rating is, of course, reserved for the OED, once the user has mastered the on-line access. OUP's proper books, flagshipped by Elizabeth Knowles' tome, are more portable. Penguins are a delight: quirkiness guaranteed. Bartleby for transAtlantic enrichment. The new kid on the block is Fred Shapiro's Yale Book of Quotations.

Which, at last, brings Malcolm to his point.

Yale/Shapiro has recently put out his top quotations for 2008. It is heavy with economic hubris:
5. "The fundamentals of America's economy are strong." — [Senator John] McCain, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, April 17
One that was subject to an instant revision.

The top two spots belong to Mrs Mooseblaster's twin manifestations:
1. "I can see Russia from my house!" — Comedian Tina Fey, while impersonating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live," broadcast Sept. 13

2. "All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years." — Palin, responding to a request by CBS anchor Katie Couric to name the newspapers or magazines she reads, broadcast Oct. 1
In that order.

This is further evidence of the Fey/Palin conundrum: distinguishing the fact from the fiction. Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury regularly points up this problem (see above), which bodes to persist through the next electoral cycle. With any luck.

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