Curse You, 2018


The reality of 2018 is making me feel like I must be crazy.  Rather — because I think quantum physics will ultimately be found to describe the structure by which we all literally exist in our own realities, linked through a sort of soul dimension — I feel like my reality is drifting away from those of many others.

This post would quickly grow too long if I attempted to list the multiple bits of evidence, just from today, but one that is conveniently impersonal is the scandal du jour (and de rigueur):  President Trump’s reported use of a bad word to describe some (let’s say) economically challenged countries during a closed-door meeting.

On the merits, look, if accurate, this was coarse language from a coarse man.  It isn’t good.  It marks the continued deterioration of our culture.  But it is not surprising.  It is not news, but rather just an excuse to rev up the outrage machine one more time. 

I would much prefer a society in which cultural standards of etiquette were upheld. However, inasmuch as my cultural preferences are not winning the day, I’m not inclined to be jerked around by the selective deployment of offense by the powerful interests who set the daily narrative.  A quick Internet search will bring up multiple instances in which it was stated that President Obama was actually a fan of cursing.  People in the news media actually told anecdotes about Obama swearing angrily at them.   If they ever plastered their papers and news shows with headlines of Obama swearing in that way, however, I missed them.  In other words, they kept his secrets, presumably because they didn’t want to give his opponents something to criticize.  Perhaps they thought his use of language was actually kind of cool… getting down verbally, as it were.

Click to help us keep the doors open.

Yet, in this case, the news media from national to local decided instantly that the American people must be informed of a specific word choice that the reporters were told by another reporter who heard it from somebody who heard it from somebody who may or may not have actually been in the room when the president said it.  And they turned up the heat of their reporting to the temperature one would expect if the president used the word during a televised address, rather than in a somewhat casual, closed door meeting with people negotiating legislation.

That’s absurd.

However, it serves the narrative.  The people in government and the news media who continue to feel offended that such a man as Donald Trump could be allowed… on this boat … in this country club … in the White House get to look at each other and “tsk tsk” about “straight-up racism.”

That’s absurd, too.  Look at a list of countries by per capita GDP.  Now, I don’t agree with Trump’s general premise about allocating immigration by country (at least unless the idea has more nuance than is readily apparent), but it’s not a premise that’s beneath discussion.  And if we are going to discuss it, the simple reality of the world today is that Haiti and various countries in Africa make up the bottom of the list while Norway is near the top.  That the president had a specific reason to have Norway on his mind further insulates him from the charge that he picked examples out of bigotry.

Now, we could go on from there.  Someone on the Left could say that the fact that the GDP list gets darker as the numbers go down proves that racism is intrinsic to the modern world order.  Somebody on the Right could then take up history and propose that leveling the scales requires promotion, not vilification, of the values that drew countries toward the top.  Then the person on the Left could reply that imposing values in that way is a sort of colonialism.  And the person on the Right might suggest that the person on the Left is locked in an intellectual spiral that would drag the whole world into poverty.

Unfortunately, we can’t even get to that point of edification. We’re all just supposed to respond like dogs to the whistle of the press’s conspicuous asterisks and take to our political camps.

Me, I insist on living in a world in which the deeper discussions are the whole point of life… and in which people have more important things to worry about than anonymously sourced direct quotations presented by partisan reporters in the context most unfavorable to their political opponents.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    If Trump walked across the Potomac, across the tidal basin and into the Jefferson Memorial; the media would report “Trump can’t swim”.
    It is notable that his approval ratings are up since yesterday.

  • Mario

    “Curse-gate,” c’mon. You are perfectly able to correctly identify the actual (well, at least the primary) problem with what he said (that restricting immigration from poor countries doesn’t just make very little sense, but it’s actually the opposite of how things should work), but you still want to dismiss the issue by pretending that people are up in arms about the vulgarity he uses rather than the ideas he expresses. He’s not worth it.

    • Justin Katz

      You raise an interesting point, which I’ll take up in a separate post, but I think you’re being conspicuously innocent on whether the vulgarity is being played up. There’s a reason newspapers are insisting on using a word choice in their headlines even though they’re getting the specific word fourth hand. If it were the substance that they considered important, they wouldn’t have promoted the vulgarity so much. As you say… c’mon.

      • Mario

        He has a knack for coining, or at least popularizing, phrases. That’s how you know it’s real. Live by the meme, die by the meme.

        • Rhett Hardwick

          The Drudge Report has an article on “potty mouthed” Presidents. Apparently Obama, and several others had a gift for it. I wonder why I don’t recall it being reported?
          For myself, I am glad he asked the question about “Sh*t hole” countries, it is a question I have heard asked often. I have wondered how such “diversity” advances us. I notice his opinion poll numbers are up. Guess I am not alone.

          • Merle The Monster

            No sadly you are not alone. The president expresses the crude and in many cases inaccurate characterizations about people with whom he has little contact. That’s fine as long as he was a “reality” personality living in his wealthy bubble, but is not now that he represents all US citizens. As to curses, there are not enough in use right now for me to fully describe my anger at those who still defend, rationalize, and hope to utilize this President to advance their agendas

          • Rhett Hardwick

            ” people with whom he has little contact” Before achieving billionaire status, he spent a lot of time on job sites. They are thinly populated by people in the Knickerbocker class.
            ” he represents all US citizens” Guess what, all of those Haitians and Somalians are not U.S. citizens.

          • Merle The Monster

            When did the President release his tax returns? You do know that there are US citizens of Haitian and African descent don’t you?

          • Mike678

            The sad thing is that these fact-free haters don’t even realize they just prove Justin’s point.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            Just a few minutes ago, someone told me they had seen a video clip of Trump ,making the sh*t hole comment. Does such a video exist?

          • Mike678

            I haven’t seen one, but does it matter? Trump is brash and at times crude, so I have little doubt he used the word. Let those that haven’t used similar words be the first to cast stones…

            The context, however, is questionable. I have little trust in the integrity of those that spread this type of ‘Outrage’ tripe for political advantage. Frankly, I and others have called college student apartments in Boston s_holes and fire traps. I have also traveled to places in Africa and other countries that made these apartments look luxurious…perhaps why these people want to come here? Much ado about nothing….