Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Blinking Rictus

I watched John McCain’s speech last night. The message was polished and predictable, but the delivery was positively alarming.

We all have inappropriately behaving relatives: the uncle who cackles loudly at a joke told in a funeral parlor, or the aunt who chatters endlessly at a movie theater, drowning out the dialogue.

Senator McCain displayed what I would have to call a blinking rictus. He would say something quite serious, then instantly break into a highly artificial smile and blink like a chipmunk caught in blazing headlights.

One of his handlers must have thought that a smile would make him seem less rigid, more viewer friendly, but I would have to label it as the Howdy Doody Syndrome. It was painful to watch. With that level of disconnect between body of thought and body language, he’d be better off phoning in future speeches.

This is not change that we can believe in.

SIDEBAR: the McCain Speech

Now available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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