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Published: Saturday, 6/23/2007

Speaking the Mayor's English

SATURDAY

12 PM

Oh, Carty.

Carty, Carty, Carty

I m just wrapping up my column for Sunday s Behind the News section on the latest mayoral dust-up at city hall. (See here and here for the full background.) To tell you the truth, I m not sure whether I m grateful or weary.

Grateful because a Carty Controversy Column is much like a hanging curveball all you gotta do is hit it, and your work for the day is finished.

Weary because, in the end, one Carty Controversy Column is, well, an awful lot like all the others.

One thing you can say for our mayor: His controversies are consistent. You can almost always find the same elements from one to the next.

So much talk, this time around, about what a changed man our mayor is (or is not). His heart problems, or so the theory goes, delivered to us a kinder, gentler Carty. But more and more, as his administration continues, reports from the front suggest otherwise.

Personally?

I do think the guy s a little more mellow than before. But bear in mind, mellow is not quite the same thing as easy-going. The weird thing is, the guy s actually starting to grow on me. I find Carty more perversely likeable than ever, which is an odd thing to hear from someone who literally turned mayoral criticism into a full-time job. But more and more these days, I m finding his special brand of consistency to be somehow comforting.

WSIWYG: The Mayoral Edition.

I will say this, however: One major thing IS different about Carty this time around. It seems as if he s finally learned to speak English. For this, I suspect, he owes Channel 13 the TV station that gave him a job in between mayoral stints -- a serious life debt. (Necessary disclaimer: I, too, cash paychecks from Channel 13.)

In his first two terms as mayor, Carty not only fractured the English language, he splintered it into a million little pieces. Trying to quote Carty back in the day was to be guilty of ellipses abuse, as in . this. Trust me: No way could anyone quote an entire Carty train of thought. A newspaper has only so many pages, and a TV newscast can use up only so many minutes.

This is how Mayor Carty 1.0 might have told us the sun was shining:

When I woke up this morning, I endeavored, as I often do, or try to do, to look out the window and see to check on the status of the solar component, which is so very important to our health and city, as it is to every health and city in a vital way.

After constant harangues by Channel 13 producers to keep it short, Carty finally finally! learned to winnow his words. And, believe me, it's standing him well as Mayor Carty 2.0. For one thing, print reporters don t have to lean on ellipses as in earlier years. For another, Carty now sounds understandable even in the original translation.

Poetic, even!

I loved loved loved what he said in today s story about his cussing, which he described as his way of trying to make a point and decorate it .

Coming soon: Mayoral haiku?



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