Today, you are a member of… The Grand Misfire

HardingMawFoot-in-mouth syndrome has a patron saint: Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States, whose speechifying H.L. Menken describes as, “…the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.” Other, more contemporary Presidents are just as notorious for taking a hachet to the airy realms of oratory, but none quite match the 29th’s absolute comfort and confidence in his own misfiring maw. This week holds a bevy of such verbal oafishness, at the source of which you may just find yourself. And though such offenses against spoken beauty are never as admirable or strategic as the 29th and his successors will lead us to believe, your mission, dear members, is as follows. Roll with it. Feel grand. In short–pull a Harding, but with one caveat: promise your tongue you’ll treat it better in the future.

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