The evil of incoherence

100 days of gibberish – Trump has weaponised nonsense
US President Donald Trump:

 

“Well he said, you’ll be the greatest president in the history of, but you know what, I’ll take that also, but that you could be. But he said, will be the greatest president but I would also accept the other. In other words, if you do your job, but I accept that. Then I watched him interviewed and it was like he never even was here. It’s incredible. I watched him interviewed a week later and it’s like he was never in my office. And you can even say that.”

‘Sixteen times during the interview, which took place in the Oval Office, Trump’s speech is recorded as “unintelligible”, either because he was mumbling like a weirdo or because an aide was talking over him and didn’t want to be quoted in the interview – both of which, the Toronto Star notes, are “highly unusual”. Highly unusual is our normal now. Whether or not Trump is capable of calculation (and, judging by his largely noun-free syntax in this interview, it’s debatable), his rhetorical style, untethered from both meaning and reality, serves his agenda well. Language is where we find common ground, where we define ourselves and teach others how to treat us, where we name problems so we can see and fight them. There’s a reason why social justice movements care about things such as pronouns and racial slurs and calling a Nazi a Nazi and saying “abortion” out loud – it’s the same reason why rightwingers, Trumpists in particular, are so eager to cast language as a frivolous abstraction and any critique as “political correctness”. Without language, there is no accountability, no standard of truth. If Trump never says anything concrete, he never has to do anything concrete. If Trump never makes a statement of commitment, Trump supporters never have to confront what they really voted for. If his promises are vague to the point of opacity, Trump cannot be criticised for breaking them. If every sloppy lie (ie: “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower … This is McCarthyism!”) can be explained away as a “generality” or “just a joke” because of “quotes”, then he can literally say anything with impunity. Trump can rend immigrant families in the name of “heart”, destroy healthcare in the name of “life”, purge minority voters in the name of “justice”, and roll back women’s autonomy in the name of “freedom”. The constitution? Probably sarcastic. There are “quotes” all over that thing!’


 

Donald Trump’s strange speaking style, as explained by linguists

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/2016/8/18/12423688/donald-trump-speech-style-explained-by-linguists

US President Donald Trump:

Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, okay, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, okay, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right — who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”

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