Former FBI Director James B. Comey (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
One of the saddest, and yet most accurate – and possibly prescient – articles I’ve read recently, on the sorry state of affairs going down in US affairs of state, under Donald Trump’s aegis.
“We have the tin-pot leader whose vanity knows no bounds. We have the rapacious family feathering their nests without regard for the law or common decency. We have utter disregard for values at home and abroad, the disdain for democracy, the hunger for constraining a free press, the admiration for thugs and strongmen worldwide.
We have all the makings of a banana republic.” ~ David Rothkopf
I’ll need to attend to my lengthening queue of stashed-away drafts on other subjects, lest people think this is purely a Trump-bashing blog. Nonetheless. That must just have been the most awkward NATO summit in the history of acronyms. The looks on their faces. Look. At. Their. Faces. From the barely-concealed and amply justified sneering and hushed comments of newly-elected French president Emmanuel Macron and colleagues, to the deflated das-darf-doch-nicht-wahr-sein* of Angela Merkel, who had taken the time a few months back to explain to a wholly ignorant US president what NATO stood for, and how it worked. (Or it may have been the German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, with whom the most frequently associated online tagged keywords are probably “perplexed” and “irritated”, and who has been amusingly blunt in her assessment of the crass ignorance she must now deal with. Either way, the message was passed along.)
If virulent cognitive dissonance upsets you, I recommend not reading the comments section of this uncompromisingly truthful analysis. (Cognitive dissonance being by far the most common response to accusations of being a racist, with frank admission trailing in a distant second place.) Otherwise, have at it.
But I don’t believe [your embarrassment at Obama] had anything to do with his resume or his experience or his character or his conduct in office—because you seem fully proud right now to be associated with a three-time married, serial adulterer and confessed predator; a man whose election and business dealings and relationships are riddled with controversy and malfeasance.You’re perfectly fine being represented by a bullying, obnoxious, genitalia-grabbing, Tweet-ranting, Prime Minister-shoving charlatan who’s managed to offended all our allies in a few short months.And you’re okay with him putting on religious faith like a rented, dusty, ill-fitting tuxedo and immediately tossing it in the garbage when he’s finished with it.
A fascinating, inside look at the tribulations of translators, not only in times of Trump, but more broadly at the headspaces they navigate.
For journalistic translator, Bérengère Viennot, who has translated Obama’s speeches and does the same now for Trump, it could, in visual terms, be compared to being snatched from the clean aesthetics of a Mondrian, and being hurled into a linguistic morass, inspired in equal measure by M.C. Escher and Hieronymus Bosch. Continue reading →