The Dominance of Mendacity

Blink, and you’ll miss it. If anyone’s optimism needed a final nail in its coffin that White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ relationship with the press – and with the truth – could represent a break with that of the virtually self-parodying PressSec Sean Spicer himself, let this be it. Continue reading

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Trump’s rhetoric: a triumph of inarticulacy

An interesting look here from the UK’s The Guardian newspaper at President-elect Donald Trump’s use of language*, and what it can tell us. I’m reminded of Austrian writer Karl Kraus’s observation that:

The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he.

The author of the article, Sam Leith, tells us that reading-level algorithms “found [Trump’s] speeches pitched at fourth-grade level, i.e. the comprehension of an average nine-year old”. By sheer coincidence, just before last Christmas and while browsing laboriously through my Sina Weibo feed (China’s answer to Twitter), I came across the following Weibo tweet:

weibo

which translates, roughly (and witheringly), as “One of the reasons why I like Trump is that I can understand his tweets with my fourth-grade English”.

“Sad!”

*And an equally interesting article, published today, on Trump’s facial expressions and what they indicate, by psychologist Peter Collett.

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“His spelling and grammar are disastrous, he contradicts himself, trails into incoherence, never sounds dignified or recognisably presidential – but none of it does him any harm. In fact…”

Source: Trump’s rhetoric: a triumph of inarticulacy