It’s been reported that a passenger tried to force his way into the cockpit on a passenger flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Two US Air Force fighter jets then “escorted” the plane to its destination. It’s an interesting choice of words, because one ordinarily thinks of an escort as being on your side — your escort protects you, or raises your status. A fighter escort is usually protecting a group of bombers. In this case, though, the presumably unstated purpose of the escort was to shoot down the passenger plane if it seemed to become dangerous. Awkward.
Posts tagged ‘language’
There has been a lot of reporting on this recent poll, where people were asked what word first came to mind when they thought of President Trump. Here are the top 20 responses (from 1,079 American adults surveyed):
idiot 39 incompetent 31 liar 30 leader 25 unqualified 25 president 22 strong 21 businessman 18 ignorant 16 egotistical 15 asshole 13 stupid 13 arrogant 12 trying 12 bully 11 business 11 narcissist 11 successful 11 disgusting 10 great 10
The fact that idiot, incompetent, and liar head the list isn’t great for him. But Kevin Drum helpfully coded the words into “good” and “bad”:
What strikes me is that even the “good” words aren’t really very good. If you’re asked what word first comes to mind when you think of President Trump and you answer president, that sounds to me more passive-aggressive than positive. Similarly, you need a particular ideological bent to consider businessman and business to be inherently positive qualities. Leader — I don’t know, I guess der Führer is a positive figure for those who admire that sort of thing. Myself, I prefer to know where we’re being led. If we include that one, there are 4 positive words, 4 neutral words, and 12 negative. (I’m including trying as neutral because I don’t know if people mean “working hard to do his job well”, which sounds like at least a back-handed compliment, or “trying my patience”.)
Emmanuel Macron’s election speech was reassuring. Intriguing that he took his long walk to the podium with the European anthem playing, rather than the French. One thing that disappointed me: He rejected fear, lies, division, fatalism, all good things to reject, but I just can’t get behind
Nous ne céderons rien à… l’ironie…
I don’t see how he can claim to be defending the values of the Enlightenment.
The word he used at the beginning interested me:
Je sais qu’il ne s’agit pas là d’un blanc-seing.
I’ve never heard the word blanc-seing before. It’s funny that we use a french phrase, carte blanche, for the same thing.
A NY Times report on Trump’s first 100 days quotes senior Obama aide Ronald Klain
If Trump finds himself hoisted on the 100-day test, it is a petard that he erected for himself.
Does one erect a petard? I think not. Really, is it too much to ask, that a flack decorating his political bromides with Shakespeareana actually know what the words mean?
Donald Trump spoke to Republican legislators yesterday, encouraging them in a friendly way to support necessary legislation that would ease 24 million Americans off their dependence on health insurance. Apparently he didn’t threaten anyone:
“He warned us that there are consequences if we don’t come together for us as a party and also for individuals,” Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina said after the meeting. “He wasn’t threatening in any way. He was just giving us a pretty clear warning.”
The news from Westminster and Holyrood inspires me to adapt a cartoon that I recall from a German newspaper from the days shortly after the opening of the Berlin wall:
Theresa May: We are one nation!
Nicola Sturgeon: We are too!
Maybe this doesn’t completely work in translation. In the original, of course, it was the East German demonstrators who really did shout “Wir sind ein Volk!”, and then the West Germans reply, “Wir auch!” That plays on the ambiguity in the German: “ein Volk” can mean “one people” or “one nation” or “a nation”.
People misspeak all the time, and there’s usually no point to mocking them for it.
But in this quote from an article about dissatisfaction among Congressional Republicans with the way the Congressional Budget Office is likely to evaluate their healthcare proposal, Senator Roger Wicker reveals too much about the true basis of their disagreement
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said he has “never been one who worried too much about scores because there are constraints that the bean counters have to operate under that don’t necessarily contort with reality.”
I was commenting recently on Donald Trump’s tendency to describe himself in superlatives, which expresses itself particularly in his verbal tic of exaggerated protestations of friendship for groups of people that he actively despises. This is not a new pattern. I just came across this description of Trump’s testimony to Congress nearly a quarter century ago, at a time when he was trying to stymie American Indian competition to his Atlantic City casinos:
Testifying before a congressional committee in 1993, he began with his rote protestations of friendship. “Nobody likes Indians as much as Donald Trump.” He then proceeded to worry that the tribes would prove unable to fend off gangsters. “There is no way Indians are going to protect themselves from the mob … It will be the biggest scandal ever, the biggest since Al Capone … An Indian chief is going to tell Joey Killer to please get off his reservation? It’s unbelievable to me.”
Trump poured money into a shell group called the New York Institute for Law and Society. The group existed solely to publish ads smearing his potential Indian competition. Under dark photos of needles and other junkie paraphernalia, the group asserted, “The St. Regis Mohawk Indian record of criminal activity is well documented.” (It wasn’t.) “Are these the new neighbors we want?”
In case there was any doubt that the Trump administration is stumbling about in the dark:
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday denied reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos clashed over an upcoming executive order expected to weaken protections for transgender students.
“There’s no daylight between anybody, between the President, between any of the secretaries,” Spicer told reporters at his daily press briefing.