Day 556 Sunday July 29, 2018 1,022 Days to Go
Putting together some sporadic pieces today.
There was a mime going around a few days ago that purported to be one of Trump’s professors at Wharton. The man said Trump was one of the dumbest students he ever had. I think dumb is different than stupid. Stupid suggests a physical inability to learn and understand, while dumb may also suggest that one has no interest in learning – even if one has the capacity, a certain incuriousness, call it a laziness.
I recently saw a video clip of a professor of linguistics being interviewed about Trump’s manner of speaking. What he said was Trump only has an informal way of speaking, which is on the level of an adolescent, someone who never developed the skill and polish of formal speech. He and the interviewer mentioned a number of items that fit into this pattern. The use of “tags” at the end of a sentence, such as” “Believe me,” which are oral place holders like “you know.” Also the use of visual or audio tells, such as, “People don’t know,” or “A lot of people don’t know.” This translates to “I just learned.” However, it couches the speech so as to project the alpha-male one-step ahead mentality. The linguist also said Trump is dismissive and belittling rather than building and decorating. He is numb to the artful. He talks in this way most likely because he has little to say, because he has few insights, yet he keeps talking and he needs words and phrases to fill the time. This is in line with the definition of a narcissist who talks all the time.
Trump himself has admitted that he never studied in school because he thought he didn’t have to because “he had a good brain.” Talk about dismissive!
So what can we conclude from this? The man is without artifice. He is uneducated and likes it that way.
The linguist also brought up the point that since the 60s we have been going through a process of being more informal. However, there’s a time he said to “put on your Sunday best speech,” like when you’re president of the United States.
This tracks back to something I have mentioned many times, the idea of good manners and etiquette. Many people turn their noses up at etiquette. “We don’t need all that fancy stuff,” is the usual reasoning. Likewise with manners the argument is a little cruder, especially around table manners, “what difference does it make, the food all ends up in the same place.” Both arguments miss the point. Etiquette allows one to have a blueprint for what to do in a given situation (“Where do I sit at a wedding if I’m a guest of the bride?”) Manners make life more pleasant. (No one wants to see little Johnny swirling his food around in his mouth or being elbowed by him because he fist grabbed the fork, lowers his head toward the plate and shovels the food in.) However, in the 60s we, my generation, rebelled. We rebelled against the war, the establishment, and all the norms our parents had tried to teach us. If you grew up in the sixties your parents grew up in World War II and the Depression. Their grandparents grew up in the Victorian Age. We rebelled against much of the Victorian norms.
But can that go too far?
Absolutely. We see it in Trump. We see it in ourselves and our children.
We need a return to civility, to good manners, to the idea of fair play. All that has been washed away. It needs to come back. If for no other reason than it makes our world a more pleasant place.
I’m tired of the bullies, the churlish, the greedy, the uninformed, the caustic, the mean.
It’s time for them to go.
1,022 Days to go
PS Edvard Munch “Madonna”