I tuned in to the Vice Presidential debate tonight but had to watch it with the sound muted–sometimes the sound from the TV upsets my 2 month old son. Watching a political event with closed-captioning and the sound off is an entirely different experience than with the sound on..
Immediately I was struck by how strange Sarah Palin’s speech read over closed-captioning. It was filled with sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and awkward topic changes. It was very challenging to try and figure out what point she was trying to make. It read like she was jacked up on caffeine and/or extremely nervous.
After about 15 minutes I started to wonder if the person typing in the closed-captioning was biased–were they making Palin read worse than she sounded? Were they intentionally dropping words or periods to make it read like she was a babbling idiot? Are the deaf hearing our candidates through a biased closed-caption writer??? I had to un-mute the debate for a moment and hear for myself.
To my profound astonishment, I discovered that Sarah Palin sounded worse un-muted than she did over the closed-captioning. The person doing the closed-captioning was actually doing her a tremendous favor: In many cases they were actually completing her sentences or omitting repeated statements she made in her dialog. Although while reading the closed-captioning it was a challenge to decipher the point she was trying to make, you could find some context in her words, whereas in her verbal speech I felt like I was being talked-over by a sports announcer desperate to avoid dead air.
Un-muted the sentence fragments and rambling-on kind-of works for her, in sort-of a “I’m George W. Bush and I have invented-ed new words” kind-of way. (I just made up a new tense of “invent” right there). You interpret the rambling as coming from someone who’s “Down to Earth” and has a “Nice Personality.” For some people I’m sure they identify with it, because that’s how most of us sound when put into a stressful situation.
But over closed-captioning, she sounds like a babbling idiot.