Monday, January 23, 2017

John McWhorter — How to Listen to Donald Trump Every Day for Years

NYT piece on Trump's inaugural, his linguistic style and how it's easier to listen to him if you pretend he's twelve.

  (The New York Times)

Donald J. Trump’s Inaugural Address had moments of what we could call rhetoric. The bit about the kid in Detroit and the kid on the “windswept plains of Nebraska” — black and white, get it? — looking up at the same night sky. Overall, though, there was the air of a diligent adolescent trying to put something down on paper but not quite hitting the mark. “America is totally unstoppable” sounds like a schoolyard brag. “We will bring back our borders” — where did they go? The “very sad depletion of our military” — it’s impossible to imagine Barack Obama, or even George W. Bush, phrasing it that way in a written speech.

His audience liked the applause lines, as they always do. But it’s hard to resist laughing at Trumpian syntax. I am given to indulging in it with a finger of bourbon after long days. My favorite so far is this insight from a South Carolina rally in 2015:

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