Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By any other name $374,327.62 is a lot

MANY LINGUISTS agree that language is continually evolving, which is a relief. We'd sound silly walking around talking like Robert Burns' poetic ode to a mouse ("wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie").

The speed of modern communication has left us breathless in learning the evolved language of presidential politics. It wasn't that long ago the thoughtful pundits measured the candidates by something called "gravitas", which few people really understood other than to guess that if you had it, you were worthy of sitting in the White House. The word hasn't come up in the current mess of candidates, but others have evolved - "food stamp" president to replace "socialist" which replaced "Kenyan fugitive" which - well, you can see where this is going.

The biggest right turn in language evolution has now come from Mitt Romney, who shushes his critics by insisting that $374,327.62 is "Not Very Much". That's the operative figure for what he was paid in a single year for talks to friendly audiences. Besides questioning how sixty two cents were added to his fees, I imagine he belittled his take in contrast to Newt Gingrich, who shrugged off $1.6 million he was paid by Freddie Mac for "consulting". (Newt didn't mind the criticism at all as he headed back to Tiffany's.)

Still, I should warn you that "Not Very Much" only works in certain presidential venues as a substitute for "A Whole Lot". Keep that in mind when you ask for an estimate to repair a strange thlunk in your car's motor.


JLM said...

He's just being honest.
$374,327.62 is pin money to a guy like Mittens.

JLM said...

Pin money. Especially when compared to his $33 million stashed in the Caymans Islands.