100 days of gibberish – Trump has weaponised nonsense
“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
Is Donald Trump a throwback to ancient oratory — or an undisciplined rambler? By Tara Golshan, Vox
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.”
What were the psychological factors that went into Christian violence, absence, silence and overall abject failure of love during the Holocaust?
By Andrew Tix
‘”What must I do to inherit eternal life?,” Jesus once was asked. A discussion followed, in which the two “great commandments” were affirmed: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“Put simply, the history of Holocaust testifies to a glaring failure of Christian love.”
“And who is my neighbor?,” asked the questioner. Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this story, Jesus demonstrates that being well-educated in religion or having a reputation for being religious do not necessarily translate into love of neighbor. Rather, love is expressed when we have mercy on someone in need, even if that person differs in belief, race, or social class (Luke 10:25-37).
The Christian Response to the Holocaust
Reflecting on the behavior of Christians during the Holocaust, Stephen Smith, co-founder and Director of the Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre in the United Kingdom, offered an alternative parable.
“There was once a man going about his business, trying to live out his life peacefully and without offence to those around him. One day as he went about his life, a group of men set upon him. They robbed him and they stripped him and they left him on the side of the road for dead. Presently, along came an educated, God-fearing and good man; a man known for his generosity and charity. He saw the man who had been beaten and robbed, but he crossed over the road and carried on his way. Shortly, along came a priest, a well-respected man of wisdom and of learning. Seeing his neighbor in distress, he too crossed over to the other side; after all, he would not be seen helping a Jew. And so the Jew lay in the gutter waiting for the Good Samaritan.
But there was no Good Samaritan.
Not this time.”
Read the complete essay at
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY AFTER
THE HOLOCAUST By KENNETH CRACKNELL
“Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the little faces of children whose bodies I saw
turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith for
Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence which deprived me, for
all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those mountains
which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams into
‘These words from Elie Wiesel will, I hope, be instantly recognized. They capture the experience of the victims of the most appalling
ideology in a century of godless ideologies. The Jewish writer Arthur Cohen calls the Holocaust a Tremendum, an ultimate experience. 3 For Christian
theology the Shoah 4 represents the most serious challenge to its fundamental doctrine of a loving and caring God. But other serious questionings of Christianity arise from the Shoah. There is the obscene fact that the ideology of the ‘Final Solution’ was produced within a culture that had been Christian for fifteen centuries. Because of this the whole Western Church is under judgement. Two elements of this condemnation come to mind at once. There is the churches’ share in creating and
sustaining anti-Semitic feelings throughout Europe. We shall say more about this. But the Shoah also revealed the acquiescence of western Christianity in a culture of death and destruction. Not enough attention has been given to the
ease with which Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike, assented to the ideology of Nazism. Many of them apparently believed its teaching and practices were merely extensions of Christian civilization. The massive
support of both Protestant and Catholic Churches for Hitler puts into question the theory that most ordinary Germans were compelled by the brutality of Nazism to do things repellent to their Christian sensibilities. The Tremendum
demands of Christians that they reflect on their relationship to western culture.’
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
– Saint Paul, from his letter to the Hebrews.
High resolution image of the Milky Way bulge captured by the Hubble Space Telescope 11/01/2018. Image credit: NASA/STScI