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Young Ninja Group (ages 3-5)

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Benjamin Allen
Benjamin Allen


Particularly used of politicians, bloviate has passed in and out of fashion over the centuries, falling out of fashion by end of 19th century, but was popularized in the early 1920s with reference to president Warren G. Harding, again in the 1990s,[3] and again during the 2000 presidential election.[4]


Warren G. Harding is often linked to bloviate, but to him the word wasn't insulting; it simply meant "to spend time idly." Harding used the word often in that "hanging around" sense, but during his tenure as the 29th U.S. President (1921-23), he became associated with the "verbose" sense of bloviate, perhaps because his speeches tended to the long-winded side. Although he is sometimes credited with having coined the word, it's more likely that Harding picked it up from local slang while hanging around with his boyhood buddies in Ohio in the late 1800s. The term probably derives from a combination of the word blow plus the suffix -ate.

H. L. Mencken lampooned Harding's bloviate style as gamalielese,[6] from his middle name of Gamaliel.[7] He complained that the style was suited to Ohio yokels:[8] .mw-parser-output .templatequoteoverflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 .templatequote .templatequoteciteline-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0

It seems to have been felt as outdated within a few years ("It was a pleasure for him to hear the Doctor talk, or, as it was inelegantly expressed in the phrase of the period, 'bloviate' ...." ["Overland Monthly," San Francisco, 1872, describing a scene from 1860]), but it enjoyed a revival early 1920s during the presidency of Warren G. Harding, who wrote a notoriously ornate and incomprehensible prose (e.e. cummings eulogized him as "The only man, woman or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors") at which time the word took on its connection with political speech; it faded again thereafter, but, with its derivative, bloviation, it enjoyed a revival in the 2000 U.S. election season that continued through the era of blogging.

Bloviate means to talk excessively in an inflated manner. To bloviate means to talk a lot and say nothing of importance. Related words are bloviates, bloviated, bloviating, bloviator, bloviation. Bloviate is an American word, coined in the American Midwest in the mid-1800s based on the word blow. Bloviate enjoyed a surge in popularity during the presidency of Warren G. Harding in the 1920s, and again in the 1990s to describe verbose political speeches and punditry which in the end, contributes nothing.

During my appearance on WNYC's "The Leonard Lopate Show" yesterday to talk about Sarah Palin's much-ridiculed use of the word refudiate, I found myself in the odd position of defending Warren Gamaliel Harding, one of the least admired presidents in American history. In the commentary on Palin, Harding was revived as a point of comparison, particularly for his use of two memorable words: normalcy and bloviate. As I said on the show, I'd argue that Harding has gotten a bad rap on both counts.

Despite all that, I don't think either normalcy or bloviate illustrates Harding's "passing familiarity with proper English," as Klein puts it. Harding first used normalcy in a 1920 campaign speech: "America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy." The oft-repeated story is that Harding's prepared speech actually had normality but the candidate misread it. Then his handlers, it is said, decided to make the best of the situation by using the misbegotten word in the campaign slogan, "Return to Normalcy."

I should not bloviateyou should not bloviatehe should not bloviatewe should not bloviateyou should not bloviatethey should not bloviate

I should not have bloviatedyou should not have bloviatedhe should not have bloviatedwe should not have bloviatedyou should not have bloviatedthey should not have bloviated

should I not bloviate?should you not bloviate?should he not bloviate?should we not bloviate?should you not bloviate?should they not bloviate?

should I not have bloviated?should you not have bloviated?should he not have bloviated?should we not have bloviated?should you not have bloviated?should they not have bloviated?

This is wonderful news not just for the family of the victim but for society as a whole. Few people, especially main stream journalists, are aware that police actually solve and make an arrest in barely half of all homicides. Even fewer are aware that up until the early 1960s, police routinely solved well over 90% of homicides with an arrest. Criminals aren't as stupid as they look. If they know that they will not do the time, why not do the crime?Of course our journalists would rather bloviate about the evils of so called "assault weapons."

ALAN CHEUSE: Remember how many of us couldn't wait to get our hands on a copy of that novel "Primary Colors," that souvenir roman a clef of the first Bill Clinton presidential campaign? In the case of Ralph Reed's debut in campaign fiction, I admit that I wasn't that fired up to read it. I admit I came to scoff. This guy can bloviate, but here he is taking a shot at trying to cash in on the presidential election campaign.

A quick roundup of Election Day poetry news, for anyone not spending every waking hour looking at exit polls or listening to the punditocracy bloviate.If, in the next twelve or so hours, anyone hears Katie Couric quoting Jerome Rothenberg or some such, please pipe up in the comments below. I will either be too deliriously happy or too wretchedly sad to type.Robert Pinsky recommends Whitman on Election Day in the Boston Globe.The Guardian looks at Obama's Inner Poet.Castro weighs in on "poet" Obama's place in the "parasitical and rapacious empire."Huff Post tries its hand at pundit poetry.The Montrose Press quotes Ogden NashPoetry Politic self destructs.Mary Jo Bang in the New York TimesAnd after the jump, Langston Hughes' "Let America Be America Again." 041b061a72


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