Hugo Chávez, Tomb Raider
From the Scrapbook
Aug 9, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 44
Comment, as The Scrapbook would have guessed, has fallen along partisan lines. Admirers of Palin think “refudiate” is an amusing, even clever, slip of the typing finger; critics of the former governor think it’s emblematic of implicit wickedness. The most pompous reaction, by any measure, came from one John F. Andrews, O.B.E., president of the Shakespeare Guild, who objected strenuously to Palin’s assertion that “English is a living language . . . Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too” by condemning “refudiate” as a “bastard currency [and] means to certify a failed governor.” To which The Scrapbook responds: Put a sock in it, John F. Andrews, O.B.E.
“Refudiate” is in fact a dandy term that neatly combines the essential meaning of two separate ideas, and creates a novel word that is subtly distinct from its components. Indeed, it reminds us of another favorite (if officially unauthorized) combination, “insinuendo.” Modern tradition ascribes the coining of this happy marriage of “insinuate” and “innuendo” to the late Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago; but the Oxford English Dictionary claims a reference as far back as the South Carolina legislature in the 1880s.
Whatever the truth of the matter, The Scrapbook has a longtime attachment to “insinuendo.” Not only is its definition instantly obvious, and convenient for a variety of uses, it is (like refudiate) just plain fun to pronounce (“She habitually engages in insin-uendo”) and, not least, sounds like the title of a song that might have been sung in the 1950s by Frankie Laine. Imagine a long, orchestrated chord, followed by Frankie for two or three bars: “In—sin—u—en—do . . . ”
Refudiation for Sale!
Speaking of our neologism du jour, the boss’s “Refudiate Liberalism!” editorial last week generated a ton of email, snail mail, and phone calls from our esteemed readers. And a remarkable number wrote to suggest the creation of a Refudiation Party, with appropriate bumper stickers and T-shirts.
We’re nothing if not responsive to our readers, so we’ve gone ahead and done just that, as you’ll see from the ad below. Don’t be seen at your next dangerously patriotic tea party, close-mindedly uncosmopolitan neighborhood picnic, or gated community barbecue, without your “Refudiate Obama” or “Refudiate Socialism” or just plain old “Refudiate” T-shirt.
Being a proud member of the Refudiation Party allows you at one and the same time to show solidarity with Sarah Palin and a Shakespearean openness to neologism—and to annoy any liberals you encounter. Not bad, for less money than Congress wastes in one nanosecond!
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