A Word In Edgewise: Origins of Oratory: American Incoherent


“Two thousand. Come on, get some money in that treasury. We need it. Come on, please get it. I can’t tell you to. That is not what you have in the book. Oh, please warden. What am I going to do for money? Please put me up on my feet at once. You are a hard-boiled man. Did you hear me? I would hear it, the Circuit Court would hear it, and the Supreme Court might hear it. If that ain’t the pay-off. Please crack down on the Chinaman’s friends and Hitler’s commander. I am sore and I am going up and I am going to give you honey if I can. Mother is the best bet and don’t let Satan draw you too fast.”

This is not, as it might seem, Sarah Palin’s financial advice to the Donald, but are words brought to mind as I tried to decipher her recent endorsement of her candidate. My Dictionary of American Quotes is long gone, but they were there on Google: The last words of gangster Dutch Schultz (Arthur Flegenheimer, 1902-1935) as he lay dying of multiple gunshot wounds, to Sergeant Luke Conlon of the Newark, New Jersey, Police Department.

“No. If he wanted to break the ring no, please I get a month. They did it. Come on. (A name, not clear) cut me off and says you are not to be the beneficiary of this will. Is that right? I will be checked and double-checked and please pull for me. Will you pull? How many good ones and how many bad ones? Please I had nothing with him he was a cowboy in one of the seven days a week fight. No business; no hangout; no friends; nothing; just what you pick up and what you need. I don’t know who shot me. Don’t put anyone near this check — you might have — please do it for me. Let me get up, heh? In the olden days they waited and they waited. Please give me a shot. It is from the factory. Sure, that is a bad. Well, oh good ahead that happens for trying. I don’t want harmony. I want harmony.”

At least Dutch might have wanted harmony. Sarah Palin? Not so much.

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