Tuesday, March 11, 2008

About Those Snollygosters

Now, see? As usual, Maxine cuts right to the heart of it, doesn't she?

You know, back in '56 (the olden days), I actually got to meet Adlai Stevenson when he was campaigning for president for the second time. He was being driven through the campus where I was attending college in Ashland, Oregon. He even autographed the back of my student body card. I thought he was a lovely man and I still believe that.

I was amused to read an anecdote about him that was supposed to have occurred during the 1952 campaign. It seems one of his supporters assured him, "Governor, every thinking person will be voting for you." He answered, "Madam, that is not enough. I need a majority!"

Well, I hate to argue with a gentleman I admire, especially since he's no longer with us to defend himself. I have to question that statement, though. It's not that there aren't enough thinking people trying to figure out where to place their votes. It's that we're told so many lies and counter-lies we don't know what to think! The worst part of it is, even when a lie is revealed for what it is, they keep repeating it anyway ... and people keep believing it.

It's all those snollygosters infesting our government. That's a real word, by the way. No less than Harry Truman used it. It's defined as "A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician."

Now, I know there are honest, decent politicians. The law of averages will surely allow for that, won't it? But, darn, it's often really hard to pick 'em out. Just when you think you have somebody figured, whoopsie! They're caught in some kind of bodacious scandal and all hell breaks loose. We seem to be stuck with a flaming KAKISTOCRACY, that's what. (Government of a state by its most unprincipled citizens.) and it's like that silly gopher-punching game. Every time you knock one out, another one pops up.

I read all kinds of political blogs, left, right and middle. I read the comments section after articles in the papers. I download YouTube videos. For every reasoned article or interview or comment, there are a dozen more penned and spoken by people you just know are off their meds and running loose without a keeper. They give us BAFFLEGAB (incomprehensible or pretentious verbiage) and HONEYFUGGLE (deceive by flattery or sweet talk -- swindle, cheat) and they BLOVIATE (speak pompously) until I just want to throw up my hands and ABSQUATULATE (to run away, abscond, escape). It makes me positively ATRABILIOUS (gloomy, morose, bad-tempered, irritable) and some days I just feel like a JOBBERNOWL (stupid person).

This problem is not limited to one party or the other, unfortunately. The snollygosters pillage and plunder all across the political spectrum and rampage through the media that is supposed to be alerting us with fact and substance. Some days my frustration billows up so high, I just have to puncture the balloon with a bit of crazed levity. Okay, moderate hysteria. Which is why I've culled all those lovely words from the fascinating and utterly delightful World Wide Words website. If you want to have some fun, go there and check it out. Click on any word and you will be taken to a page with a definition and a story about it. The Truman anecdote about snollygosters is there, too.

Ahhh. I feel much better now. Thanks for letting me vent all this steam. And I'll let Maxine deliver the last word. She does it so well.


John Bailey said...

The awful thing is that snollygosters rule us all, Dee!

bonnie said...

Well my new Encarta dictionary doesn't have the word snollygosters. lol
I'm so tired of the news coverage of the campaigns I checked out audio books.

Dee said...

There does seem to be a superfluity of snollygosters going around, John. I sincerely hope the tide turns before we all go under.

Bonnie, enjoy the audio books. Maybe you can find something that will teach us how to exterminate snollygosters. It would be nice if the results gave off a satisfactory snapping sound like you get when you pop bubblewrap.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Maxine - how would it be not to have a president for four years.

Kate said...

I knew we were kindred spirits! You're the only other person I know who knows the word absquatulate (which I use all the time, just to confound the natives).

Mage And George said...

And now you are starting my lunch with delightful words flying hither and yon and you too. Oh, yes, we have not had a president for the last four years. Yes too, Adali was a delight and far ahead of his time. But we got Ike instead leading to $4,300 ladies of the afternoon. :)

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