Monday, September 9, 2019

Turning away from wonder to gaze at matters Trumpian




     The word “placebo” is not only from Latin, it is Latin, an unaltered Latin word meaning “I will please,” the first person singular future indicative of placere, “to please.”
     It wasn’t originally used to describe a sugar pill pretending to be medicine, of course, but a part of Vespers, Book of the Dead, taken from the line, Psalm 114:9 in the Latin Vulgate Bible: “Placebo Domino in regione vivorum,” or “I will please the Lord in the land for living.”
     By 1200, it was used to describe flatterers — Chaucer names a character in The Merchant’s Tale “Placebo.” By 1811, it was a term for pills with no medical value but offering psychological benefit. 
     OK, OK, Donald Trump. Do you think the media wants to natter on obsessively about him? Others perhaps do. But not me. Gazing into Trump’s world is like directing a flashlight down the hole in an outhouse while the Northern Lights flash and flicker in the heavens right outside.
     But focusing elsewhere, no matter how fascinating, also feels like describing a pretty flower when the school next door is burning. Worse, your entire country aflame. I was going to write today on last week’s Alabama debacle. You know the particulars if you’re paying attention. With Hurricane Dorian turning up the East Coast, Trump said Alabama was in peril when it wasn’t, the risk already past.
     A small error. Worth correcting only because people in Alabama could be alarmed by the president suggesting a deadly storm is bearing down on them. A normal human being would dismiss it with a shrug.
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4 comments:

  1. There's zero doubt he has dementia. While Reagan certainly had it, at least he had a few sane people around him, but definitely not including astrology obsessed Nancy.
    Trump has no one sane around him, just a bunch of vacuous toadies who are worthless excuses for human beings.
    Exactly who was so brain dead to not only invite the murderous Taliban scum into our country, which was bad on its own, but to do it at the anniversary on 9/11?

    In the near future, this will become a full employment project for historians, writing thousands of books on this, the worst, most corrupt, immoral & unethical administration, ever!
    They make Watergate look like a pre-teen shoplifting a candy bar!

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  2. Richard Nixon supposedly once said that his biggest political mistake (up to that point -- this was early in his career) was treating American voters as adults when they're actually adolescents. Trump has managed to exploit that collective adolescence perfectly, because if there's one thing that teenagers have in common, it's conflating the slightest criticism or thwarting of their desires with being picked on.

    This has led Trump to the perfect political formula. Trump says or does something preposterously stupid; it gets blowback; Trump and his supporters cite that blowback as evidence that the Lamestream Media is propagating Fake News. Lather, rinse, repeat. And repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

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    1. Bitter, as someone who has been 17 for about 60 years or so, I take umbrage with your assertion that teenagers routinely conflate criticism with being picked on. I have myself never felt picked on except on those rare occasions when someone was actually picking on me, usually someone older, stronger and more assertive than I. On the other hand, the success of "repeat, and repeat, and repeat" rings true. But it's not just undeveloped minds that fall prey to Trump's (and Nixon's) routine; it's those who are afraid, of external and internal dangers. They fear most of all, being the butt of someone's joke, of being taken advantage of, and of not living up to their ideal selves. Perhaps that is also something most teenagers have in common. I don't know. Even if I am in any way like that, I nevertheless would never fall for Trump's BS. Not because I'm smarter than the bozos, but because Trump's ideal, the rich, pampered scion who can do whatever he wants, has never been desirable in my eyes, and I've been embarrassed often enough during my long adolescence to have gotten used to it. In any event, Trump's power of his core is fading, I believe. The only thing we have to fear is that he would do something extraordinarily stupid when he realizes he will lose and lose spectacularly.

      john

      This from the guy who still refuses to believe that Hillary lost.

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    2. Hillary DIDN'T lose. She beat Agent Orange by almost 2.9 million votes. The clowns in the Electoral College defeated her, and they have now thwarted the will of the people twice in the last twenty years. This archaic method of choosing a POTUS is a POS...and it's time to junk it.

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