Rereading Fire & Fury – Michael Wolff’s eye-popping account of life in the Trump White House – I came across a word I’d not encountered before:
‘Masher’? What’s a masher? Google to the rescue:
Excellent word! And the first I think I’ve come across where UK English has no synonym. The nearest I can think of are Terry Thomas type pre-war stuff: a cad, a bounder and the like. But none are as specific as the American term, denoting as they do a chap who’s a bit of a bad egg generally, rather than one who ‘mashes’ women.
Let’s hear it for the vigorous continuing growth of the language. Hoorah!
Amid the insanity, a comment of Trump’s last week set little bells ringing…
‘…to take back our country’. Now what does that bring to mind?
While it’s doubtless overstating the case to describe a snappy slogan as ‘the’ reason for Brexit, the essential message is clear – and worth a ponder for anyone wanting to get messages across, thereby (and this is after all the point of the exercise) getting people to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn’t: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Let’s face it, no previous president has ever had such command of the simple.
On the cusp, I was struck by a photo of Trump wearing one of those MAGA baseball caps. Idly wondering whether this was a first – for a candidate to use the exact same slogan in consecutive elections – it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t recall the slogan from the opposition camp. Judging by these supposed candidates reported by Wiki, it’s hardly surprising:
The enduring appeal of MAGA does make you wonder whether such slogans ever really make a difference. I suspect the answer’s yes. Amidst chaos and contradiction, their simplicity and clarity helps coalesce half-grasped convictions into a powerful, unified “Yes! That’s right!” that fires people up and drives them to the polls. (See also ‘Get Brexit Done’.)
Interesting review in The Guardian of a book looking into how shadowy backstagers helped turn ‘the world’s most gifted media troll’ into its most powerful man:
‘having coherent beliefs’ is excellent!
Reading the truly extraordinary ‘Fire and Fury’ – Michael Wolff’s account of life in the early Trump White House – terrifying and hilarious by turns, I ran into the opening of an early speech:
I was struck by the brevity of the sentences. Word counts of seven, six, three, three, four, four…
These are not the word counts of the average speech. Indeed, I don’t think you’d find many speeches above school debating society level featuring such brief sentences, one after another. But they work. In their bam bam bam simplicity, they connect at the most fundamental level with Trump’s core constituency. It’s the rhythm as much as anything you might call meaning that conveys the only message that really matters: he’s one of us; he’s like me.
These are not the best of days for those of us who believe in the written word.
Last week’s flurry of smirking delight over Rex Tillerson’s refusal to disown ‘fucking moron’ set me musing once again on the alchemy of the soundbite.
Those two words will hang around Trump’s neck for the remainder of his presidency. Supporters, detractors, players and commentators, no-one will ever forget them, or see the President without them muttering in the background. It reminded me of the dawn of the Trump candidacy. At first, in those long ago halcyon days, the whole idea was an absurdity. Trump was blowing off wind, as was his wont, but as to his becoming President – what, The President? Of America? Seriously?
And then I heard the words ‘Make America Great Again’, and I thought ‘uh oh’.
So, four words made him Mr President; now two hobble him forever as President dumbo.
Never underestimate the power of words.