During her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Judge Sonia Sotomayor “took refuge in the impenetrable language of the law, and in what seemed (and this is becoming a regular strategy in politics) to be the deliberate jumbling of syntax, so people at home won’t be able to follow what is being said,” Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote today.
“To be clear and succinct is to look for trouble. Better to produce a mist and miasma of jumbly words, and sentences that do not hold. You’re talking, so you’ll seem alive — in fact people using the syntax dodge are often quite animated — but as to meaning, you can leave that to the TV producers, who’ll wrestle around trying to get something that makes sense and then settle for the Perry Mason soundbite. (Well, in truth the Perry Mason soundbite is pretty much what they want.)”