Jul 21, 2010
On the Racine Post blog, a reader responded to my latest cartoon (on the Wisconsin gubernatorial race): "Walker raised taxes????? Walker passed the Wheel Tax in The City of Milwaukee, Tried to talk over MPS from the voters? Walker allow Billions of Gallons of untreated sewage into Lake Michigan?"
I posted a reply citing the One Wisconsin Now tax and fee figures reported in the Shepherd Express, and this person's response was, "Calling the Shepherd Express a newspaper is like calling the Journal Times a newspaper."
As tempted as I was to reply that a.) I hadn't called the Shepherd Express a newspaper, b.) the Shepherd Express and Journal Times print news on newsprint on a regular basis, which ought to define them as newspapers, and c.) whether or not they were newspapers was completely irrelevant -- especially in the case of the Journal Times, which wasn't part of the conversation at all -- as tempted as I was, I realized that to reply that way would send the discussion veering off on a useless tangent, the way so many internet discussions end up.
Then I realized that here we had the opportunity to provide a definition for Sarah Palin's new verb, to refudiate. To refudiate: to argue or to deny by changing the subject; to counter an argument with an unrelated accusation.
E.g.: "Bush administration policies caused the worst recession since 1929, and now Republicans in Congress are doing everything they can to prevent President Obama from reversing those policies."
"Show me the birth certificate!"
"Sarah Palin says that America cannot achieve energy independence while federal regulations continue to discourage domestic exploration and extraction."
"Sarah Palin says she can see Russia from her house."
This week's Q Syndicate cartoon (above) is not an example of refudiation, however. It is rather an example of the Will & Grace school of comedy: creating a joke by making a gratuitous celebrity reference with no direct connection to the topic at hand.