With words (and notice the words he uses that I have underlined):
In recent elections, the Republican hate word has been “liberal,” or “Massachusetts,” or “Gore.” In this election, it has increasingly been “words.” Barack Obama has been denounced again and again as a privileged wordsmith, a man of mere words who has “authored” two books (to use Sarah Palin’s verb), and done little else. The leathery extremist Phyllis Schlafly had this to say, at the Republican Convention, about Palin: “I like her because she’s a woman who’s worked with her hands, which Barack Obama never did, he was just an élitist who worked with words.” The fresher-faced extremist Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator, called Obama “just a person of words,” adding, “Words are everything to him.” The once bipartisan campaign adviser Dick Morris and his wife and co-writer, Eileen McGann, argue that the McCain camp, in true Rovian fashion, is “using the Democrat’s articulateness against him” (along with his education, his popularity, his intelligence, his wife—pretty much everything but his height, though it may come to that)...Doesn’t this reflect a deep suspicion of language itself?
...Words are up for grabs: just follow the lipstick traces...
And can you count how many words there are in this one sentence?
Meanwhile, the campaign that claims to loathe “just words” has proved expert at their manipulation, from reversals of policy to the outright lies of some of its attack ads (“comprehensive sex education”) and the subtle racial innuendo of a
phrase like “how disrespectful” (used to accuse Obama of making uppity attacks
And his parting shot:
If Obama is the letter (words, fancy diplomas, “authored” books), then the latest representative of the spirit is Sarah Palin. Literary theorists used to say that their most abstruse prose was “writing the difficulty”—that the sentences were tortuous because there was no briskly commonsensical way of representing a complex issue. Sarah Palin, alas, talks the difficulty.
There's more. If you're wordy. Or Woody.
P.S. Wood's approach to being critical:
“I have no intention of going soft,” said Mr. Wood. “I intend to be a critic, which means, as Eliot once put it, ‘the elucidation of texts and the correction of taste.’ If I annoy people who publish stories or who have extracts published in The New Yorker, that will be the editor’s problem, not mine! After all, it’ll be him they complain to, not me.”