Leah Barkoukis | Sep 25, 2013
President Obama has made a habit of deliberately dropping his G’s when talking to “ordinary Americans,” and it’s getting on Samuel L. Jackson’s nerves. In an interview with Playboy Magazine, Jackson criticized our Harvard-educated president for ‘trying to relate.’
“First of all, we know it ain’t because of his blackness, so I say stop trying to ‘relate.’ Be a leader. Be f**king presidential,” he said. “Look, I grew up in a society where I could say ‘It ain’t’ or ‘What it be’ to my friends. But when I’m out presenting myself to the world as me, who graduated from college, who had family [that] cared about me, who has a well-read background, I f**king conjugate.”
Jackson, who is known on Twitter as the ‘grammar police,’ says someone needs to be. “I mean, we have newscasters who don’t even know how to conjugate verbs, something Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow never had problems with. How the f**k did we become a society where mediocrity is acceptable?”
In fairness, however, Obama isn’t the first or only politician guilty of “G-dropping” when speaking to the “average Joe.” Over to you, Peggy Noonan (emphasis mine):
There is now something infantilizing about this election. […] More than ever on the campaign trail, the candidates are dropping their G’s. Hardworkin’ families are strainin’ and tryin’a get ahead. It’s not only Sarah Palin but Mr. McCain, too, occasionally Mr. Obama, and, of course, George W. Bush when he darts out like the bird in a cuckoo clock to tell us we are in crisis. All of the candidates say “mom and dad”: “our moms and dads who are struggling.” This is Mr. Bush’s former communications adviser Karen Hughes’s contribution to our democratic life, that you cannot speak like an adult in politics now, that’s too austere and detached, snobby. No one can say mothers and fathers, it’s all now the faux down-home, patronizing—and infantilizing—moms and dads. Do politicians ever remember that in a nation obsessed with politics, our children—sorry, our kids—look to political figures for a model as to how adults sound?
Speaking proper English is far less important that scoring political points, it seems.