A nice little clip has appeared in which John Cleese describes Sarah Palin as a nice looking parrot who doesn’t understand the meaning of the words that she is using although she is using them quite accurately1 and that would seem to be an accurate description of the lady . However, more revealing is John’s trade mark laugh when asked what he thinks of Sarah Palin; a laugh that leaves me aware that I am not the only person who thinks that Ms Palin is a joke. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of the parrot should not be underestimated and my mind drifts back to the little shop at the bottom of the flat where I stayed in Suzhou and the parrot in that shop that said “bye, bye” to the customers in perfect English when they were leaving and there was me one evening, feeling a wee bit lonely, almost ready to launch into a conversation with the parrot. At that moment in time a “bye, bye” in RP English was most welcome and I am sure that for a lot of Americans what “Parrot Palin” is parroting is just what they want to hear; “America is a force for good in the world”, “America is special”, “you are all special” …. and none of this is up for discussion.
Of course, the parrot in the shop in Suzhou wasn’t capable of having a conversation and neither is Sarah Palin. Don’t ask her about the “Nakba” she hasn’t “learned” that one yet and if she has to I am sure her answer would be something like, “well, tragedies happen and everyone has suffered but sometimes it is time to move on” and that will be the end of the conversation and we will all move on and we will learn that, “Russia will have to learn that it cannot march into independent countries, if it is to be fully accepted into the international community.” However, don’t tell the parrot that America has been marching into and bombing independent countries either itself or through its proxies for years. Parrots don’t understand what you are talking about, they are just parrots.