Friday, September 15, 2006

Bill Rowe and the Irregular Verb

As I've already mentioned here, I'm a chronic listener to talk radio shows of all kinds.

Yesterday my ears pricked up when, while listening to Bill Rowe's BackTalk show, I realised that Mr. Rowe has constructed a new political irregular verb I'd never heard before

Let me explain. Irregular verbs are verbs that change the way people and ideas are described as a function of the subject and object. That sounds complicated but let me give you some examples to illustrate:

I draw upon a rich variety of sources,
You plagiarise,
They are thieving scum.

I free associate
You daydream
They snore

I have an independent mind,
You are an eccentric,
He is totally nuts

I am making strong but defensible points in support of a valid struggle.
You are undercutting the basis of your right to free speech.
He is being charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

I am a statesman
You are a freedom fighter
He is a terrorist
I first came across these little gems on Yes Minister and thought they were a brilliant and pithy way of exposing political relativism and moral hypocrisy*. So how does this relate to the wit and wisdom of Mr. Rowe?

Yesterday on BackTalk, after whinging and complaining about how badly we are treated by Canada, how unfair it all is and how it's a given that we get a crummy deal out of confederation, Mr. Rowe received a call from a gentleman in Labrador.

This person raised a perfectly legitimate and reasoned contention that, while roads on the island part of the province were quickly tended to, roads in Labrador were left to languish in various states of disrepair.

Mr. Rowe then offered his opinion that an awful lot of people from Labrador were calling to whine about the way they are treated by the province.

Labradorians don't raise issues; they whine, according to him.

Interesting. Clearly Mr. Rowe has created a new political irregular verb to add to the list:
Newfoundlanders raise legitimate historical grievances
Labradorians whine for no good reason,
Canadians never have any right to complain about anything.
Nobody could ever accuse Mr. Rowe of not making a positive contribution to the political culture of the province.
*If you come across, or come up with a new one, pass it along and I'll add it to the list!

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