Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Like, You Know, Y'know??

Clarity Of Speech Reflects Clarity Of Thought.

Excerpts from a New York Daily News interview with Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg:
"I'm really coming into this as somebody who isn't, you know, part of the system, who obviously, you know, stands for the values of, you know, the Democratic Party," Kennedy told the Daily News Saturday during a wide-ranging interview.

"I know how important it is to, you know, to be my own person. And, you know, and that would be obviously true with my relationship with the mayor."


Kennedy revealed she has had several recent discussions with her former cousin-in-law, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is also considered a serious candidate for the Senate seat.

"Andrew is, you know, highly qualified for this job," she said. "He's doing a, you know, a great job as attorney general, and we've spoken throughout this process."

Despite his bitter divorce from Kerry Kennedy, in which her family accused Cuomo of spilling about his wife's extramarital affair, Caroline Kennedy said the recent conversations have been amicable.

"You know, I think, you know, we're sort of, uh, sharing some of this experience. And um, as I've said, he was a friend, a family member, and um so, and uh obviously, he's, you know, he's also had an impressive career in public office."


Bashed as a political novice, Kennedy argued that her ties in Washington, particularly to President-elect Barack Obama, can help her deliver for New York. She denied that her interest in the seat is driven by a desire to ensure the family continues its decades-long presence in the Senate.

"It's really, you know, it's not about just the Kennedy name," she said. "It's about my own work and what I've done with those values."

It appears that the Kennedy gift for oratory died with John-John...

Back when I was a wee pup, perhaps around 10 or 11 years old, I was listening to the radio one afternoon when the talk show host said something or other that got my decade-old hackles in an twist. The parents weren't around, so I took the opportunity to pick up the phone and dial in to the radio show to give this guy a piece of my mind.

Wonder of wonders, I actually got through. Once he had me turn down my radio, I proceeded to unload on whatever the topic was. For the life of me, I don't really recall the exact topic. Something about students not taking enough gym class in school, I believe.

He let me ramble on for half a minute, then gently interrupted. "Cap", he said. "I'm going to give you some advice. I think it will be invaluable to you, and I hope you'll take it in the spirit it's offered."

OK, sure. Why not? He wasn't talking down to me, as was the typical course of events when speaking with adults.

"Cap," he continued. "I let you talk for 35 seconds. Would you like to take a guess at how many times you said 'You Know' in those 35 seconds?"

I had no idea. I didn't even realize I'd said it once...

"Cap, in the space of that 35 seconds, you said 'You Know' at least 10 times, and probably more than a dozen times. I didn't start counting until the 5th one. I couldn't really follow the point you were trying to make, since the constant stream of 'You know's were so distracting."

"Cap, what I would like for you to do is to make yourself a button, the kind you pin to a jacket or a hat. On that button, Cap, I want you to write 'YOU KNOW' just as big as you can, and I want you to wear it for at least a week.
After a week of people stopping you to ask about what 'YOU KNOW' means, you're going to be so aware of that phrase, you're never going to want to say it again."

Swelp me God if he didn't go on for almost 10 minutes about the importance of good language usage, and how it reflected on your education and ability to interact with others. How you were judged by the way you spoke, and how it could make the difference between success and failure in the professional world.

I never did make that button, but I sure as hell never forgot his advice. I've made an effort to keep my language coherent and free of unnecessary phrases.

There's a lot worse than 'You Know' out in the world these days. I hear all sorts of things that make me cringe, such as "She's all, like, whatever!" and "KnowwhutImsayin'?" and "Global Warming Is Based On Real Science!"

So, based on that Daily News interview, I'd say that Ms. Kennedy-Schlossberg has, y'know, some work to do on her, y'know, public speaking before she's ready to be a United States Senator!

You know?