Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit

Photo by PunkToad | CC BY 2.0

To be hideously diminished in language, like Donald Trump, is to be hideously diminished in thinking; and to be hideously diminished in thinking is to have to constantly squeeze your enormous American body into a claustrophobic thought-arena that reeks like an Arkansas cockfighting pit—and that is what Trump’s brain looks like, a cockfighting pit full of screaming idiots, with a crayonned scoreboard that never says anything beyond Me Win or Me Lose. So Donald Trump, that bloated weakling, crawls around inside that cramped brain-arena every day, naked and perfumed and enormous and pink; he flounders around on rank straw drenched with rooster-blood and studded with pellets of chickenshit, his skin magnetizing all that blood and feces, and, thus besmeared, he stands up, gives a sharp military salute, and shambles outside to parade around America, naked and stinking. Needless to say, it’s not a pretty sight. Me lose? Me no lose. Me win! That I can tell you.

Trump has such a low ratio of thoughts to speech-time—1:150, let’s say, with 150 representing minutes of talking– that he’s forced to repeat himself endlessly: “we have to do it, no choice, we have to do it, believe me. Believe me, we just have to do it, that I can tell you. We have no choice,” etc etc ad nauseum.   This is the way his blowhard persona buys time for his terrified mind to sniff out another idea somewhere off in the distance.

Every time he dares to ad-lib a single word beyond the soul-deadening speeches that some fascist factotum in the West Wing has scripted for him, he’s forced to cobble together some semblance of speech from the pitifully few readymades that he can somehow remember: “that I can tell you,” “strongly,” “special people,” etc. “Special” gets an especially big workout.  Veterans are “special.”  Cops are “special.” A Playboy centerfold dumb enough to fuck him, and doubly dumb enough to refuse his offer of postcoital cash, is “special.” So many people are special that there’s no one left to be pedestrian.  (He seems comically unaware that for an entire younger generation “special” is a euphemism for mentally challenged, i.e. “the special kids on the short bus.”)

And “strongly:” my God, Donald Trump loves his little “strongly!”  “We have to look at immigration very strongly.”  Oh, how he adores that word; he lovingly caresses every “strongly” as he says it, even moving his porcine cheeks a little, instead of merely fish-lipping it the way he does with most words.  When Roy Moore is accused of sex crimes that any idiot knows he committed—“well, he denies it very strongly,” says Trump, who thinks the word confers machismo on that sissy Christian pervert.  “He denies it strongly?” Yeah, as if it takes a fucking

Samson to summon up the raw manly power to issue simpering lies about his attempted rape of schoolgirls.

Hillary Clinton’s language, of course, was the dead opposite, with the emphasis on “dead”—an intricate chainmetal web spun to hide murderous impulses, a faux-Jesuitical parsing of the world that allowed her to paint Bernie Sanders and the Koch brothers as ideological best pals, and to obscure the killing of thousands of dark-skinned people under phosphorescent sheets of wonkery. Hillary always spoke in the dead language of mid-level corporate management. “Vetted.” “Stronger Together.” “Ready on Day One.” You might as well ask voters to get deliriously excited about reading a year-old inter-office memo headed “Possible Savings in the Company Beverage Supply.”

The irony of this stone vocabulary was that in the end it fooled Hillary more than anyone else: she bought her own bullshit, it lulled her into a linguistic stupor, so that she’d occasionally forget herself and threaten to “obliterate” every human being in Iran, or—glowing like the winner of a pie-eating contest at the local 4-H club–announce that the genocidal Henry Kissinger had endorsed her.

So if Hillary had been elected, we’d be dealing with a whole other class of war-crimes against the English language.  Maybe we’re better off with the comic ineptitude of a nitwit with dementia.  But what does it mean when any random sopohomore at Parkland High School, grabbed in the depths of shock by a TV reporter while grieving dead classmates, is a hundred times more eloquent than the President of the United States?

Nothing good.  That I can tell you.



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John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence. He can be reached at: johneskow@yahoo.com

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