The social and political stripes so boldly emblazoned onto my persona are not something I have much success at hiding, so it should come as no surprise that it's something of a chore to commit to regularly reading conservative columnist George F. Will. As with most sources I might not politically identify with, I at least try to learn from him what I can.
So abrasive to my sensibilities do I find Mr. Will's most commonly held views, I often do not get past the initial sense of revulsion I experience when I first set eyes upon his photo atop each of his columns in Newsweek magazine. Given that I usually read periodicals from back to front, his back-page column in Newsweek always gets my reading of that publication off to a rocky start.
On those occasions when I'm able to put aside Mr. Will's political orientation, I'm usually glad I did. Besides having a soft spot for him because he did his undergraduate work at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, the city I grew up in, I find him to be a virtual font of information as an observer of the political process. And when the situation calls for it, he will roundly criticize those of his own conservative ilk. He's also big on baseball. (His name has even been tossed around casually as a possible future Commissioner of Baseball.)
Those of you who read George Will regularly also know something else about his columns. They are usually spiced with uncommon words. It's one thing to be erudite or scholarly with one's vocabulary; it's quite another to be just plain annoying. If I don't have a dictionary readily at hand when I read Mr. Will, chances are a few things are going to go right over my head. Whether referring to Bill Clinton's preternatural neediness or Mike Huckabee's charlatanry, I find I need Dictionary.com at the ready to make sure he doesn't lose me altogether.
I figure there are two ways to look at this phenomenon. Either my vocabulary is sorely in need of a booster shot, or Mr. Will is on the verge of being unnecessarily sesquipedalian. (See how it feels?)
So what's the real reason George Will gets under my skin? Is it simply the fact that no matter what the subject I already know that what I'll be getting is an unrelenting, conservative spin on the topic of the day, or is it the way he makes my vocabulary seem so jejune? Truthfully, it's a toss-up. But if I had to choose which one annoys me more, I'd have to say the vocabulary thing. I can tolerate someone's political analysis being predictably conservative, but looking down their nose at me and my vapid vocabulary is more than I can bear. It's so pestiferous.
Take that, George.
2 years ago