Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Poignant? Twice in one article? Poignant?

I looked at a thesaurus to find synonyms for the word "poignant." I found these:


Please keep those in mind as you read the following, excerpted from Publisher's Weekly magazine:

Skyhorse Publishing announced today that it plans to publish Letters to President Obama: Americans Share Our Hopes and Dreams with the First African-American President in April 2009. The initial printing will be 50,000 copies in hardcover.

Skyhorse is encouraging Americans to submit letters for consideration by visiting www.letterstopresidentobama.com. Asked if they were afraid of a "wingnut reaction," associate publisher Bill Wolfsthal replied that "The highly qualified editors of the book—all professors at University of Michigan and Cornell—will edit the collection to create a thought-provoking and poignant collection."
Asked what would happen if Obama did not prevail on Election Day, Wolfsthal said, "We’ll deal with that if it happens. The book might still be a poignant piece of history if Obama should lose."

"I know this book will make a unique statement about who we are as American in 2009," added Wolfsthal, "and will provide an opportunity for citizens to share their feelings with one another—both by writing letters and reading the finished book."

"......." I'm mostly speechless.

I have to believe that in the first use of poignant, "..a thought-provoking and poignant collection," the publisher was thinking of the first group of synonyms: moving, emotional, touching, affecting and tender.

With the second use, "..might still be a poignant piece of history if Obama should lose," the others descriptors fit the context better:
sad, heartrending, distressing, heartbreaking, upsetting and agonizing.

Believe it or not, John McCain still has a few (million) supporters. Not one of them will be heartbroken or distressed should Senator Obama come up short in the election.

Can someone please explain to me what on earth Americans will have to say in letters to President Obama, after he's been in office for approximately sixty-five days? Our hopes and dreams? That's what we'll write him? Really?

Whatever. What if the unthinkable happens, and Obama is not our next President? The publishers have considered that horrifying thought. Remember, the book will "make a statement about who we are and might still make a poignant piece of history."

But the editors are prepared for an onslaught from people less than honorable about the intentions who misunderstand the spirit of the book. Is that what he means by "wingnut" reaction? Are "wingnuts" the people who choose to vote for someone other than Barack Obama? Why does that make them less than reasonable? Are these Americans not allowed to contribute letters to President Obama, and share their hopes and dreams with the first African-American President? Agenda anyone???

May I pose a hypothetical here? It's possible that some voters will be thrilled and delighted if Senator Obama were to be defeated. I know - there aren't really any of those people in existence if you take the world view espoused by publishers from coast to coast - but let's suppose there are. Where is there room for them in this statement about who they are as Americans in April 2009? Are they a poignant piece of history, too?

Doubt it.


Deb said...

I have to agree with you, Renee. I'm ...mostly speechless, too!

renee said...

Thank you Deb! At least I know I'm not alone in my reaction to this nonsense. I'm still looking for news about the publisher who is preparing to publish "Letters to President McCain, our first POW and Vietnam War veteran to become our President."

I have a feeling my search will be in vain.