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Hillary in the Rose Garden

Hillary in the Rose Garden

I teach Applied Linguistics in a grad school. On the side I am a bit of a webbie geek. So when I come across something involving both, I latch on. Years ago, in my wanderings around the interwebs searching for something for a class I was teaching, I discovered an online dictionary that offered email updates with “The Word of the Day.” Cool! I signed up. Usually, they send me words I already know, and sometimes they send words I would never use because no one else would know what I was saying.

Corollary to this, I do not check that particular email account (associated with my job) when I am not at work so that I do not miss important work-related emails. On Mondays, my mailbox is cluttered. This morning, oddly, the three words that were sent over the weekend and the “Word of the Day” for today all somehow related to what we have been talking about here for weeks. Normally, I would simply have deleted these, but I think we should take a look at some “Words” of the past few days.

Word of the Day for Friday, July 17, 2009
leitmotif \LYT-moh-teef\, noun:
1. In music drama, a marked melodic phrase or short passage which always accompanies the reappearance of a certain person, situation, abstract idea, or allusion in the course of the play; a sort of musical label.
2. A dominant and recurring theme.

We have been noticing, both in the MSM and online a leitmotif , and it has been vicious, unsympathetic, maddening and untrue. It is, as you know, the theme that Hillary’s status and influence have been diminished, that she toils in the shadow, that she is a weakened player, somehow. That she is obscured. That she is (whoa! lookee here!) adumbrated!

Word of the Day for Saturday, July 18, 2009
adumbrate \AD-uhm-brayt; uh-DUHM-\, transitive verb:
1. To produce a faint image or resemblance of; to outline or sketch.
2. To prefigure indistinctly; foreshadow.
3. To suggest, indicate, or disclose partially.
4. To cast a shadow over; to shade; to obscure.

When such a leitmotif is intentionally put forth, it is done with a purpose. The Homegirls here believe that the purpose was to imbue in the American mind the idea that Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State and top diplomat in the new administration, is a toothless, feeble, and yes, I believe they meant to imply washed up presence in the current government.

Word of the Day for Sunday, July 19, 2009
imbue \im-BYOO\, transitive verb:
1..To tinge or dye deeply; to cause to absorb thoroughly; as, “clothes thoroughly imbued with black.”
2. To instill profoundly; to cause to become impressed or penetrated.

All of the above leads me to today’s word:

Word of the Day for Monday, July 20, 2009
pastiche \pas-TEESH; pahs-\, noun:
1. A work of art that imitates the style of some previous work.
2. A musical, literary, or artistic composition consisting of selections from various works.
3. A hodgepodge; an incongruous combination of different styles and ingredients.

Now I almost decided not to try for a fit here, but as if working a puzzle, I changed my mind when I saw the fit. This leitmotif does consist of a hodgepodge of fact, lie, supposition, rumor, and neglect – the last being the most infuriating.

Facts:
On June 17 Hillary Rodham Clinton slipped while rushing to her car for a meeting and shattered her elbow. She required surgery which was performed within two days (June 19) of the accident. She was working the next day. If you doubt this, look here, and while you are there bear in mind that on Monday, June 22, she was at the White House although it is not on the schedule, and by Tuesday, June 23, she was back to her bilaterals with foreign dignitaries. While she worked from home a few days a week in the ensuing weeks, she did work, and she was at Foggy Bottom more than she was not. Here is July.

Oh, and one more fact: Hillary does not seek publicity. If it comes to her, fine, but she is not on the phone shaking down the talking heads. She’s too busy working!

Lies:
*Obama imposed the Super Envoys on her to weaken her. I am so tired of this one. They were HER idea. They report to HER. She sought this structure to oversee at-risk regions in order to strengthen OUR presence in these regions, not to enhance her image or otherwise promote herself.

Also: She’s nothing but a glamorous figurehead. I cannot disagree with the first part. She is beautiful – gorgeous and glamorous. When you don’t see her it is because she is running the ship, not stuck out there on the front of the bow.

Supposition:
There’s the myth of the Byzantine intrigues between the National Security Team concentrating foreign policy power at the White House v. the little blonde SOS who just cannot outmaneuver them! People dreaming this one up (MSM among them) have too much time on their hands. We have no way to know this. Secretary Clinton denies it. And when there is no information rumors abound.

Now I have to ask, why is there no information? Why all this supposition ending in rumors? Might I suggest that the reason is neglect? The American press, the Main Stream Media have dropped the ball. If they had bothered to check the State Department webpages I linked above and here, they would have found Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton working regularly, not in the shadows, but right out in the open where all of her loyal supporters and friends knew we could find her even though journalists with their investigative skills could or would not. Imagine!

If the American press were physicians, we would be suing for malpractice. The leitmotif recurred because of #MSMFAIL, #AmericanPressFAIL, #JounalismFAIL in this country!

How these words came up in this order, I wonder. Maybe the editor is a PUMA. Only once, during the Bush administration did the perfect word come up on the perfect day. I can no longer remember the word or the news story, but these words and this story are sure to stay with me. It’s time to put an end to it, because Hillary’s people are sick and tired of it. Churchill said the Brits would fight on the beaches. Hillary’s army is eschewing the beaches this summer because THIS battle is one of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Turn on the music! (And no leitmotifs to adumbrate our girl) We are ready to dance on in and lift her to the stage. Nobody puts our BB in a corner! Nobody!

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As students, my friends and I used to joke about an old line that I always thought came from a movie. To lure a woman up to a bachelor’s apartment after a date, a playboy would ask, “Do you want to come up and see my etchings?” With Wedgewood and Waterford on the verge of bankruptcy, it is doubtful that most Americans worry much about etched glass except for the coffee pot that gets clouded after too many dishwasher cycles.

Etching, the effect of acid on glass or metal, is an artful, precious medium and becoming rarer as time goes on. When you think about how hard glass or metal is, and see the effect of the acid, then it is very painful to imagine the effect of acid on human (or animal) skin and bone. Someone in my town poured acid on a beagle puppy last year and caused an outrage. The puppy was saved (by my vet).

Even more disturbing, then, is this story from Bangladesh about acid attacks on women and girls. I have written here before about this. I will continue to post about this issue until communities address this issue in an effective way. This would include international organizations, and domestic groups interested in human rights and dedicated to eradicating cruelty and violence. I almost added “against women and girls” and am holding back on that. Hillary Clinton said,” …human rights are women’s rights – and women’s rights are human rights.” Acid attacks are violations of human rights – period.

BANGLADESH: Acid attacks continue despite new laws


Photo: Contributor/IRIN
Workers at the Acid Survivors Foundation express their solidarity with acid victims to raise social awareness against the practice

DHAKA, 5 January 2009 (IRIN) – Acid attacks against women and girls are continuing despite legal campaigns to halt their spread.

Over 2,600 cases have been reported since 1999, according to the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) of Bangladesh. Almost all the attacks have been on women or girls. Many of the victims are under 18, says ASF, which has been working to eliminate acid violence for almost a decade.

The main reason for the violence is dowries, refusal of love proposals, or land disputes, ASF said. Bent on revenge, perpetrators throw acid into their victims’ faces in an effort to severely disfigure them, often with horrifying results.

Nitric or sulphuric acid has a catastrophic effect on human flesh, ASF said, resulting in skin tissue melting, often exposing the bones below the flesh, and even dissolving bone.

Scarred for life and badly burned, many survivors also lose their sight in one or both eyes. Others are so psychologically traumatised they never recover.

Read the rest of the story here.

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