Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FORWARD. at last; FORWARD. at last. Thank God almighty, we’re going FORWARD. At last!

Yes, we do pay close attention to linguistics around here. Doesn’t everybody?

512xFORWARD. Period. End. Of. Story.

So when the big brained linguist in Big Guy’s close circle of advisors suggested that we add a period at the end of our newest campaign slogan “FORWARD” we did. So now the official slogan is FORWARD. Got that?  FORWARD. Period. As in full stop. As in “can anyone around here spell ‘irony’ question mark?”


Butt what do I know, I don’t have an advanced degree in linguistics. Indeed, it isn’t as simple as it seems reports Carol E. Lee:

Simple enough. Except the moment seven characters became eight, things got complicated. Period. Even for some in the president's orbit, the added punctuation slams the brakes on a word supposed to convey momentum.

"It's like 'forward, now stop,' " said Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the National Economic Council who still advises the Obama campaign. He added, "It could be worse. It could be 'Forward' comma," which would make it raise the question: "and now what?"

forward3I think we all know, Austan

Maybe he should have thought about brakes a little earlier in our FORWARD. campaign.

The period was a subject of a spirited debate as Mr. Obama's senior advisers and outside consultants spent hours in a conference room at their Chicago campaign headquarters deliberating over the perfect slogan, according to an adviser who was in attendance.

Michelle Obama Valerie Jarrett McCain Obama q0969YNksaSlOk then, the only mammas that matter vote yes on the period!

Does a period add emphasis? Yes! Does it undermine the sense of the word? Maybe!

David Axelrod, the president's longtime messaging guru, is a champion of the period. "There's some finality to it," Mr. Axelrod said. For those who think it stops "forward" in its tracks, he has a suggestion: "Tell them just to put two more dots on it, and it'll seem like it keeps on going."

fnc-ff-20120501-nypostobamaecongraphicSo it does…seem like it keeps going that is.

The period debate hasn't been confined to the upper echelons of the Obama campaign. Politicians, grammarians and designers who brand people and products have noticed it, too.

"There's been some speculation that the period really gives the feeling of something ending rather than beginning," said Catherine Pages, an art director in Washington, D.C.


Meanwhile, the title of the super PAC supporting Mr. Romney, "Restore Our Future," seems to bend the rules of space and time, if not grammar.

Not really; It’s just that “Back to the Future” was already taken. It’s the Republican version of irony, so the progressive linguists didn’t recognize it.

irony question mark

Those who brandish red pens for a living are divided on whether Mr. Obama's campaign slogan passes muster.

"It would be quite a stretch to say it's grammatically correct," said Mignon Fogarty, author of "Grammar Girl's 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master in No Time." "You could say it's short for 'we're moving forward.' But really it's not a sentence."

Odd, isn’t it, for an administration headed by the most articulate politician since Cicero?

George Lakoff, a linguistics professor at University of California Berkeley who is well-known in Democratic circles, has a different verdict. He says that the slogan respects the period's proper use because "Forward." is an imperative sentence.

So let’s talk a little about “linguists” shall we? Take this George Lakoff guy: Professor William Jacobson thinks George is the big brained “cognitive linguist” behind the “framework” for BO’s “you didn’t build that, somebody else did that” speech as well as Pocahontas Warren’s:

Lakoff developed a linguistic narrative that progressives needed to counter conservatives by focusing on the role of government in enabling individual success, a narrative in which no person became successful on his or her own:

“Nobody makes a dollar in this country in business without using the common wealth…. The idea that there’s a self-made man, that’s there’s a self-made millionaire is false, it is absolutely false, and that is the thing that Obama missed…. Without this you don’t have those roads, you don’t have that internet, you don’t have the banking system, etc.”

Given all the blow-back on that one speech of Big Guy’s, I don’t know exactly how much Mr. Lakoff’s stock is worth right now, butt supposably he knows more about “words that work” than even Frank Luntz. And he likes the period.

"You can look at the period as adding a sense of finality, making a strong statement: Forward. Period. And no more," Mr. Lakoff said. "Whether that's effective is another question."

When prodded however, even Mr. Lakoff hedges his bets:

"Whether that's effective is another question."

I guess it depends on what the meaning of “finality” is (h/t Bill Clinton):

change of possession copyIllegal procedures:Fourth Down and 500

Butt as I always say, it isn’t so much what you say, as it is how you say it:

Michelle-Obama-expensive-outfitok, sometimes it is what you say

And apparently someone at Team Obama thought that somehow this decrepit old barn said it perfectly.

forward with a periodH/T American Digest

I guess our loyal supporters in flyover didn’t get the memo about the “period” and the sense of finality. Too bad.

Linked By: Larwyn’s Linx on Doug Ross@Journal, and AnnieLaurie76 on twitter, and Mireille Buser on facebook, and BlogsLucianneLoves, and NOBO2012 on Free Republic, Thanks!