Sunday, July 1, 2018

For the Record: Fart Act and Other Disasters

Trump had to double down, of course, and say it was done on purpose, a message to the Fake Media, though he obviously couldn't say clearly what the message was ("Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares"), or explain why her communications director had said there was no message and her stylist was completely unfamiliar with the jacket. He's really trying to convince us that he was in control of whatever it was. I believe Trump would rather be accused of almost anything, no matter how gross, than admit that a woman got out ahead of him. 

When I was first working in Singapore, the National University moved from the ancient hill of Bukit Timah to a new campus in the south of the island, everything very shiny and new, and in the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences every office door was equipped with a bright brass plaque displaying the room number, ASS 1, ASS 2, etc. As a representative American, I quietly let the Dean know he had a problem, and the faulty acronym was replaced with something else, with Singaporean efficiency, basically overnight, before we moved in.

This kind of thing can happen in a densely multilingual society, where people up and down the hierarchy share enough languages to give and receive orders but not necessarily the ones they need to get the job done. In my later career as a magazine editor I found that the art direction staff were always graduates of Chinese-language schools, while the editorial were inevitably from English-language ones, and crucial miscommunications could take place, though none quite that funny.

The problem of the US Fart Act and of the unfortunate raincoat ("I don't really care do u") worn on the First Lady's initial visit to the Central American children stranded by the Attorney General's senselessly cruel policy are at least in part symptoms of something different from that, a kind of linguistic blindness, a belief that nothing written is crucial, a habit of not reading things even when you know how (like the otherwise dignified and not young lady in the "BOOBS" T-shirt). I'm not saying Melania wasn't trolling somebody, or everybody, with her inappropriate message, but I'm saying Donald could have looked at it and pronounced it fashionable without being aware that it was a message at all, that he's capable, the way you and I are not, of looking at a piece of English text without reading it involuntarily, and he'll choose to do that, given the option, because reading makes him uncomfortable.

And in Ben Shapiro news

I've said something like this pretty often:

Inevitably a little touch of Dinesh

It was going to be in the Lublin region of Poland, under SS management, and a good deal of work went into the project starting late 1939, but the Nazis were never able to overcome their logistical problems. A proposed Madagascar Reservation, to which all the European Jews were supposed to be shipped, fared even worse, since it depended on the Germans' ability to cripple the British Navy. The stupidity of these people, combined with their ability to do extraordinary harm in spite of it, is a warning to all of us.
Twitter gave me a time out, I think over this (Dinesh lets me say anything in the comment threads under his tweets, and once in a while he responds, but apparently he gets upset when I address him directly). Trolling accomplished!

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