Sarah and Kory

Sarah PalinHidi-ho gentle readers. For once, I haven’t been writing here because I’ve been in a good mood. Fancy that.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ve been happy by real people standards. Every day starts with my lying in bed hoping the day will go away. When this doesn’t work, I put on They Might Be Giants[1] because it makes me feel less alone. And I have a huge crush on Joanne Woodward in that film. She was far too good for Hud. But irregardless of my feelings about this, Kory Stamper has a new video out.

Why is it that Merriam-Webster does not set up a system that allows people to embed their videos? As I well know, there are many fans—thousands come to this site each month.

Back in 2010, I predicted, “And I know how this all ends: just when I get used to Stamper’s new hair color, she’ll change it back.” As a public service, I feel I must warn you that I was right. Stamper’s hair appears to be back to its original color—or close anyway.

This time, Stamper is doing what she and all the folks at Merriam-Webster do best: leading the fight against the grammar Nazis. This time, it is “irregardless.” (Did you like my little joke above, or did it just infuriate you?) I have never been one to use words like irregardless or refudiate. But I don’t have a problem with them. I’ve had many grammar snobs take me aside and try to have a hate-on about people who would use such a construction. Sorry, but I don’t run like that.

Similarly, when Sarah Palin, “invented” the new work “refudiate,” I wasn’t bothered. For one thing, this was a very understandable language disfluency: her mind wasn’t sure whether to say “repudiate” or “refute” and it came out “refudiate.” That’s not only understandable; that’s a good new word, even though it must have been similarly coined millions of times before.

I never accepted the “Sarah Palin is stupid” line. She most clearly isn’t stupid. She is really ignorant and even more evil, but she’s not stupid. In fact, I think a year with me—forcing her to read Don Quixote[2], Moby Dick, and most important, Thomas Paine : Collected Writings so she could learn what the Founding Fathers really thought—and she might be okay. Unfortunately, too many people think she is already the Billy Joel ideal: perfect just the way she is.

On the other hand, without talking to her husband and children, we are forced to assume that Kory Stamper is perfect just the way she is. Irregardless, there is no doubt that she is great in her new video.


[1] Sorry folks, this DVD is rare and expensive. It includes 10 minutes of deleted scenes and a short featurette: Madness…It’s Beautiful. Or you can watch it on Instant Watch on Netflix. (I’ve given it 5 stars. It is far from perfect, but like Don Quixote itself, it is great. But be warned, you need to see it at least twice. It is unlike any film you’ve seen before.)

[2] I’ve linked to an exciting relatively new translation by Burton Raffel. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but it is quite different from Putnum or Grossman, who, despite all the fuss, is really very similar more than 50 years later.