Unpresidented!


I had several things in mind to write about for this week’s blog. I experienced an epiphany about blogging earlier in the week that I thought might be fun to share; I also wanted to talk a little bit about F. Scott Fitzgerald in light of his never before read collection of short stories that was released this week. However, both will have to wait, as it dawned on me that this blog was my 45th.

Yes, 45 carefully crafted blog posts, (or at least I like to think so), written over the last 45 weeks, so what better way to celebrate my #45 by discussing a certain other #45 and his (eh, hem) “use” of the English language, because my blog is first and foremost a blog about the art and craft of the English language itself and how powerful it can be.

It turns out, I’m not the only one who’s a tad affronted by our fearless leader’s mutilation of our nation’s primary tongue. Of course, his penchant for Tweeting doesn’t help his cause. Once Tweeted, his faux pas are on record in perpetuity. The world now knows the man thinks ‘phone tapp’ is spelled with two p’s. Between that, his use of double negatives, and 3rd-grade errors such as ‘there’ instead of ‘their,’ and ‘waist’ instead of ‘waste’ makes most GED+ attaining people on the street wince a tad. It’s not just about the foot stomping of us Grammar Nazis anymore, everyone is uniting in this particular cause.

But, before we grammarians all shake our heads in condescension, there’s another school of thought about Trump’s vandalism of the (hand on hearts now) “Language we love!” (get it?)

In a Politico Magazine piece written about Trump the candidate back in August of 2015, Jack Shafer contends that despite Trump’s language scoring at 4th-grade reading level on the Flesch-Kinkaid grade-level test, people liked him not in spite of it, but because of it; because he wasn’t talking like a politician. No! He was talking like one of the guys! But not like GW who we all wanted to invite to a barbeque in 2001. One of the guys who's still at the bar at two in the morning after all the good looking ones have already scored for the night! A loser, just like the rest of us!!!! In hindsight of course, what was endearing during the election season has become alarming now #45 has his finger on the nuclear codes, especially as he still cannot articulate how he plans to handle the very scary world stage we now find ourselves performing on. Ask Shakespeare, it's not all it's cracked up to be.

So, what are we left with? Apparently Trumpglish! In a hilarious column for the Chicago Tribune, reporter Rex Huppke lists numerous Trumpglish-to-English translations which help us cross the bridge of logical fallacies that seem to emanate from #45’s mouth every day. Once you know “Dishonest Media” means any media person or outlet reporting news that makes Trump look bad, and “Honest Reporter” means Sean Hannity, or that “Sad” means factual, and “Inner City” means the mysterious place where Trump believes all black people live, you start to understand the man. Check out the rest of his translations here.

Being a glass half full type of gal, I always try to find something positive, so I was thrilled to discover that #45’s language does have some benefits for a certain class of people. Apparently, according to Jennifer Billock’s Wired article last month, people learning English as a second language are finding Trump’s speeches to be a veritable gold mine. (Oh, the irony!!!!) Apparently, his middle-school level vocabulary, along with his slow speech and repetition of words, provides ESL learners an opportunity to parse the speech stream. This in turn helps comprehension. Who would have thought? Trump’s words are helping immigrants! I wonder if knowing this would keep him up at night? What do you think? Let us know below…

Okay, a bit of self-promotion here. I’d be remiss not to mention my dystopian short story Trumptopia, which is still on sale right here (just scroll a bit!) for 99 cents! Written before the election, it’s a look at America under a Trump presidency. Trust me, it was written as fiction, I promise. Yet, here we are…life imitating art.

So, “C’mon ‘guvna!” as the busker in me would say, throw some change in the hat as you pass by. You might like what you read and want to come back for more!

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zoe@zoewright.net

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