Refudiating my previous post

In a previous post, I discuss the potential of social networking and its use by a host of Republican candidates. In it, I note that Sarah Palin has been widely praised for her use of these new resources to communicate with the public, from her Facebook page, which boasts nearly 2 million fans, to her new advertisement on YouTube.

But Sarah Palin does employ Facebook and YouTube, but also makes use of Twitter, with 200,000 followers and over 350 tweets. But in the interest of fairness, given the earlier praise of her use of social networking, Palin’s been taking some heat this week for her recent tweets, in which she not only makes up a word, “refudiate,” but then defends her use of the word, comparing herself to William Shakespeare, who also “coin[ed] new words.”

Although it makes Palin sound somewhat silly to use the word “refudiate” on multiple occasions, it is truly her defense of the action that makes this a mistake. Palin is right in her defensive tweet – English is a continuously evolving language and people make up new words often (myself included!). Stephen Colbert is famous for this, with his “The Word” segment, and most particularly, “truthiness.”

But Palin was not being satirical or clever, but presumably was trying to make a point about an issue. It is one thing to make up words as a joke or among friends, but it is another to make a professional error and then claim it was intentional. For Palin to defend what was, most likely, a mental error or a typo, makes her look more foolish than she did originally.


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