Sunday, March 15, 2020

Literary Corner: Disquieting

Giorgio de Chirico, The Disquieting Muses, print reproduction of a painting originally made between 1916 and 1918, via Wikipedia.

This is out of line with the usual practice of the Literary Corner, not a verbatim extract but a compilation of highlights from Friday's press conference mashed up to look like a single sentence by @twmentality1 in the tweet below.

Then again, the version published by the White House is a bit of a fabrication in its own right, folding some but not all of Trump's glitches into the text in a way that makes them seem superficially normal, and the tweet captured the strangeness of Trump's reading disability and his gradual breakdown as he escapes from a given sentence of his prepared text into improvisation: shifting its meaning into unexpected and disturbing realms. I thought some e.e. cummings–style line breaking and punctuation could achieve a similar effect:

Money That Can Do What They Want
by Donald J. Trump

we will ultimately
defeat the corona 
(virus) $50 billion dollars
of very importantly 
(very important and a large
amount of money that)
can do what they want 
they can do what they
have to do (they know
what they have to do)
now they don't have any
problem getting it done

A more honest reflection of what Trump said might look like this (the published text says "physicians" where I'm pretty sure Trump said "positions"):

Today, I’d like to provide an update to the American people
on several decisive new actions we’re taking in our very
vigilant effort to combat and ultimately defeat the corona — 
The action I am taking will open up access to up to $50 billion of — 
very importantly 
very important and a large amount of money for states
and territories and localities in our shared fight against — 
this disease 
The emergency orders I am issuing
today [confer] the authority to waive rules
that hinder hospitals’ ability to bring
additional positions on board or obtain
needed office space. 
They can do as they want.
They can do what they have to do.
They know what they have to do. Now they don’t have any — 
problem getting it done.

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