Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Mavericks and Gobbledygook

Samuel Augustus Maverick (1803-1870)

After the imperial presidency of George W. Bush, Texas has had something of a public relations problem. Let’s face it, except among died in the wool Texans, the state has always had a public relations problem with the rest of the nation and probably the world.

Can anything good come out of Texas? Yes, is the might-be-accused-of-bias answer of this expatriate Texan, especially in response to the hyperbole coming out of the mouths of both the Republican presidential and vice-presidential nominee, about the latter of whom Garrison Keillor of “Prairie Home Companion” fame has said of the decision to add her to the ticket,
It was dishonest, cynical men who put forward a clueless young woman for national office, hoping to juice up the ticket, hoping she could skate through two months of chaperoned campaigning, but the truth emerges: The lady is talking freely about matters she has never thought about. The American people have an ear for B.S. They can tell when someone's mouth is moving and the clutch is not engaged.
The McCain/Palin litany about McCain being a “maverick” was finally too much for some proud Texans, and boy-o-boy do we need some Texans of whom we can be proud.

The word “maverick” didn’t just one day appear in the dictionary. John Schwartz usually writes about technology and society, but the other day he wrote about the history of a word--“maverick”. The word goes back to a family named Maverick in, you guessed it, Texas.
“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,” said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.

In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.” The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand.
The name and politics didn’t end with Sam in the distant past.
Sam Maverick’s grandson, Fontaine Maury Maverick, was a two-term congressman and a mayor of San Antonio who lost his mayoral re-election bid when conservatives labeled him a Communist. He served in the Roosevelt administration on the Smaller War Plants Corporation and is best known for another coinage. He came up with the term “gobbledygook” in frustration at the convoluted language of bureaucrats.
And, after him, there was Maury Jr.
This Maverick’s son, Maury Jr., was a firebrand civil libertarian and lawyer who defended draft resisters, atheists and others scorned by society. He served in the Texas Legislature during the McCarthy era and wrote fiery columns for The San Antonio Express-News. His final column, published on Feb. 2, 2003, just after he died at 82, was an attack on the coming war in Iraq. [bold mine]
No wonder with such a history of the family’s association with liberalism and progressive ideals that 82 year old Terrellita Maverick takes such exception to John and Sarah’s misuse of the family name. McCain has voted so often with his party that in no way does he deserve the title, “in uppercase or lowercase.”
“He’s a Republican,” she said. “He’s branded.”
Let’s not hear any more of the "McCain is a maverick" gobbledygook today. How about McCain as the "Great Pretender"?

- Milo

1 comment:

OhioTex said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.