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Tip of the Tongue

gloria fosterWhen I was about 17 years old I looked up from my homework at the TV and considered, for the first time in my life, that the newscasters spoke in a manner which was markedly different from the way my family talked.

They sounded... intelligent.

My parents were both born of rural Texas stock so naturally I and my siblings adopted their heavy twang. Simple phrases like "Pearl Beer" and "pecan pie" required at least thirteen syllables each and I myself was never referred to by my family as Mike or Michael, but "Mock" or "Mockul".

From that point on I've been on a long journey of broadening my vocabulary and of strengthening my diction. I hardly have what you might call a "classical inflection" but I'm very proud when new clients call me and almost inevitably ask "Where are you really from?" even though they know I live in Dallas.

Another revelation about proper diction occurred to me when I watched The Matrix movies. All of the characters basically spoke the same flat, midwestern dialect, certainly by design, and as I watched it slowly dawned on me that I had ceased identifying the black characters as black. They were just... actors. If any of them had performed their role using some form of jive-ass Hollywood ebonics (Or even a twangy Texas Walmart-special accent) it not only would have been intrusive but I would have immediately pigeonholed the characters away in the Stereotype Dungeon we all employ.

Don't get me wrong. Regional accents add variety to such theatrical productions but The Matrix needed urban playas like it needed another agent Smith.

Am I suggesting that race relations in this country might improve if our lingua was more franca? Yes! What about it?

As for foreign accents, anyone who learns a second language, especially English, is never going to suffer any grief from monoglot little me.


are you registered to vote?Will you be voting absentee this November but don't know what to do about it?

Then check out the Long Distance Voter. Not only can you register to vote, and verify your registration, you can also request an absentee ballot.


end rant

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Oh, That Mitt.

eat shit, America!This will certainly come as no surprise... in a recent WSJ/NBC poll Mitt Romney was getting zero per cent of votes from African Americans.


Today on NPR's "All Things Considered" I heard Romney/Ryan being described as "the first all-catholic ticket". I began throwing things at my radio because Romney is no more catholic than I am. Yeesh!


Gazillionaire William Koch, $100 million dollar backer of the Romney campaign, is building an old west mining town just for himself. Seriously. These people are NUTS!


Congressman Todd Akin is getting hammered in the press for his remarks about "legitimate rape", but keep in mind he and Paul Ryan support the same onerous personhood policies.


Paul Ryan opposed the Obama Stimulus package, even though he later stumped for a big wad of the money, but during the early days of the millennium he couldn't say enough nice things about the benefits of a Bush stimulus package. Not a liar this time, just an immense hypocrite.

As for the Obama stimulus package, it deserves more credit than it gets from our corporate-owned media.


Relevant to the conversation, Frank Zappa's "You Are What You Is".

An exclusive Raging Pencils bumper-sticker!
do gop in my white house bumper sticker
Get yours now at zazzle.com


President Obama's Top 50 Accomplishments

Number 29: Expanded Wilderness and Watershed Protection

barack obama's top 50 accomplishmentsSigned Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (2009), which designated more than 2 million acres as wilderness, created thousands of miles of recreational and historic trails, and protected more than 1,000 miles of rivers.

For the full list of his 50 finest achievements read the Washington Monthly story.


And now our Chart of the Day: North American English Dialects

north american english dialects

Immense version of chart here.


Republican Job Creation Update

republican job creationCongress is in recess until early September. No jobs are being created, no farms are being saved.

For the full 2001-2012 list of Republican sloth please visit republicanjobcreation.com.


Fox News Lies. Dump Fox News

Fox News Lies!
Fox News, as you might have guessed, instituted a virtual blackout of the Todd Akin "legitimate rape" story. Fair and balanced.

Click here to help Drop Fox from your cable system.


If you enjoy Raging Pencils, might I also recommend:
born again pagan
the infinite cat project

Can't make sense of the news? Try our selection of progressive nosh:
DailykosCrooks and LiarsThink ProgressTalking Points Memo

Today's Google Chow.

Causasian Human Resources director talking to notably black applicant:
"Mr. Johnson, allow me to be blunt. Sometimes we get a "certain race" of applicants in here who have lazy speech habits and a poor vocabulary. And do you know what we call these people, Mr. Johnson? Rednecks."

Overturn Citizens United