Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ontario Emperor Thinks You Should Read This Post

What do Bob Dole, Doctor Doom, Elmo, Amy Fisher, George Foreman, Rickey Henderson, Richard Nixon, Geraldo Rivera, the Rock, Tarzan, and Isaiah Washington have in common?

All of them have practiced (and have succeeded at) illeism, or "[t]he habit or practice of referring to yourself in the third person."

For my money, my favorite illeist is Bob Dole, because he practiced his illeism on the greatest stage in the world (apologies to those who monitor French elections). Florence King freaked out over Dole's performance in the 1996 campaign:

He sounds as if he really doesn't want to be President, he just wants Bob Dole to be President.

My nerves gave way during his post - New Hampshire news conference when he told supporters, "You're going to see the real Bob Dole from now on." I turned him off and surfed around for an old movie to take my mind off politics. Under normal conditions I never tire of The Third Man, but this time I skipped it. I finally settled on Wuthering Heights but my respite was brief. When Merle Oberon cried, "I am Heathcliff, he's more myself than I am!" all I could think of was Bob Dole.

Object to his age and he will say "Bob Dole is rested and ready." Call him a Washington insider and he will say "Bob Dole has been tested." During one particularly bad week in January when he had to counter speculation that his campaign was bringing forth Lazarus, he said: "I don't think people think Bob Dole is that bad."...

Given the more-populist-than-thou desperation of Campaign '96, why would a politician risk a usage associated with absolute monarchs, dictators, and supreme egoists like Douglas MacArthur?


A few years after the campaign (in which Bob Dole won the Republican nomination but lost the election to Clinton), Will Durst wrote:

Bob Dole has an identity problem. For one thing he insists on referring to himself in the third person while just about everybody else keeps talking about him in the past tense. And he doesn't get it....

There are plenty of ways he could utilize his experience and peddle himself as America's favorite elder statesman. Get the Disney people on board and market him as Uncle Sam's brother, the wacky but lovable Uncle Bob.


See Big Sky Democrats, Refried Screens, and Word Detective for more about the people listed at the top of this post.

illeism

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2 comments:

Alexei said...

Wow! Alexei, I mean, I really missed out on a good one!

Ontario Emperor said...

Ontario Emperor appreciates Alexei's comments.