07/19/2010 11:36 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Professor Palin Goes to College

Sarah Palin's recent visit to Cal State Stanislaus has prompted California Attorney General Jerry Brown to "launch an investigation into the finances of the university's foundation arm and allegations that the nonprofit violated public disclosure laws." To that end, one has to ask the question: So, what was Cal State's President Shirvani thinking? Perhaps, he's keen on being a groupie, of hanging around with those people around whom one feels compelled to hang. As I understand it, once upon a time he begged an Academy Award winning writer for a ticket to the Oscars so he could "be there." Perhaps, "being there" unlike Peter Sellers' Being There, might be understandable, but paying Sarah Palin 75K plus perks to listen to her blablicate about Ronald Reagan (also spelled "Regan" in transcript) attending college in "Eureka, California" (sic), to listen to her pontificate in her rhetorically disabled way about superficial things, to hear her misguided political ramblings that are tantamount to what DH Lawrence would call, "meretricious persiflage" while faculty members throughout the California university systems have to take salary cuts is about as unconscionable as condemning a rape victim to continue with her pregnancy (i.e. the Angle Law). The speech, if one wants to call it that, was approximately 5340 words which work out to about $14.04 per word. Now that would include these absolutely sterling opening comments:

Thank you so much! Thank you. Well thank you so much. Oh I so appreciate that warm introduction and I tell you what, you are a bold man. You are a bold man. Um, I am so honored to get to be here and before we get started let me just get through some logistics really quickly. First, um, I got my water... do I have my straz? I want my straz. And I want 'em bent, pleaz, thank you. At least that's what I read in some of the lamestream media outlets. Is that I was demanding straz or some ridiculous thing. So, I'm just so glad that we got some of those con contractual demands out of the way and finally settled. I think though that my speaker bureau, Washington speaker's bureau, I think that this is one of the toughest contracts I think that they ever ended up getting to sign. Um, they found it to be one tough event to sort out because it seemed to them they were negotiating with the entire state of California. And here you know, the rest of us looking in and kind of following what was going on with you know some of the shenanigans with like Jerry Brown and friends. Come on this is California; do you not have anything else to do? Goodness, gracious! Priorities! And then you know I was expecting quite a few protests, protesters, I, I thought that, you know I'd get a little bit of the Ann Coulterism um, and I thought hey, that would be cool, I, love Ann Coulter, and more power to her as she goes on college campuses and she talks about America and American values and principles and what it means to be an American and I expected a little bit of that but it's been nothing but absolute loveliness here in this part of California and I so appreciate the hospitality and again, I do appreciate your boldness thank you for the invitation!

This particular passage of 335 words cost Cal State Stanislaus the equivalent of $4703.40. Now to put that in its proper perspective, Lincoln's entire Gettysburg Address was only 278 words so if we were to use the Palin scale for payable prose, the Gettysburg Address would only have garnered Lincoln a mere $3903.12 which, by current Palin speaking standards, wouldn't be worth addressing. But that's not all since one really has to deconstruct the essence of what Palin was purporting, you know, her elegant turns of a phrase, her impeccable grammar, her rejection of redundancies. For example, she uses the word "uh" 20 times, the word "um" 11 times, the word "hmm" 3 times and the word "kinda" 3 times for a total of 37 times for a total of $519.48. Classical rhetoric, to be sure. One can only imagine Aristotle meandering about his patio lecturing to his Peripatetic pupils with "uh's" and "um's" and "hmm's" and "kinda's" and how that babbling affected the history of philosophical thought for the next couple thousand years. At only 3 times, "Straz" (aka "straws") only made Palin $42.12, but the humor associated with their use certainly made up for their lack of substance.

Then there was this brilliant Lincolnian passage of 132 words or $1853.28:

It's evident that there is something special here there is something different and really I think it's made manifest an event like this. I so appreciate it. Uh, the Golden State, always being nice to be here and uh always feeling such a connection here a special place in my heart is California uh because this is Regan country and YEAH and perhaps it was destiny that the man who went to California's Eureka College would become so woven within and inter-linked to the Golden State and it was here, that he, of course, that Reagan became famous as an actor and then distinguished himself as such a good governor and then launched his bid for President and then of course found his final resting place underneath the warm, blue, California sky.

Apparently, the Stanislausian rhetorician-in-residence never caught professor Palin's gaffe about Reagan attending Eureka College in Illinois and not California. Perhaps, if s/he did she would have been penalized an appropriate amount of money. Then, of course, there were the grammatical gaffes such as:

The Constitution has giving (sic) us an amazingly valuable governing principle and institution that this Constitution provides us with (tautology), checks and balances and limited government with enumerated powers and an independent judiciary and states (lack of punctuation) rights as protected under the 10th amendment. But those principles, that are enshrined, hmm, are still the best possible protection against tyranny.

But one can overlook the lameness of the prose and the insouciant disregard for polished phrases since those things are clearly not "common-sensical." So, when her rhetorical gambols were becoming even more pedestrian, more lame than the "lamestream media," Palin played the trump card that all political poseurs play that "we are in the words of Lincoln," that last best hope on earth" which was taken totally out of context from Lincoln's concluding remarks to Congress one month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation; however, Lincoln can rest in peace knowing that even though she stole the phrase, she could only make $182.52 by doing so.