Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Morning Coffee Hour: Vocabulary Drill

1. Conservative Agitator Calls Trump "An Idiot"

Reading the Sunday morning papers -- because garden work is out of the question ... it's raining (yay!) -- we respect the Grand Confluence of causes and effects. We especially respect the writing of people with smarts, who also respect language and logic, and who obviously don't have gardens to distract them.

Take Erick Erickson, who published an editorial this morning in the WashPost. Erickson is the former editor-in-chief at conservative blog Red State and was a "never Trumper." Okay. I'm listening, Mr. Erickson:
The president exudes incompetence and instability. Divulging classified information to the Russians through bragging; undermining his staff’s defense of his conduct through inane tweets; even reportedly asking the FBI director to suspend an investigation of a former adviser — all these strike me not so much as malicious but as the ignorant actions of an overwhelmed man. Republicans excuse this behavior as Trump being Trump, but that will only embolden voters who seek greater accountability to choose further change over stability. The sad reality is that the greatest defense of the president available at this point is one his team could never give on the record: He is an idiot who does not know any better.

For very current meanings, the go-to Urban Dictionary defines idiot severally. Here's one: "Someone who has a wish to shoot someone, but is pointing his gun the wrong way."

The Urban Dictionary -- I visit there often! -- also offers this definition: Idiot is "an epithet that describes anyone but you. It is a statistical certainty that there is someone out there in the planet who considers you an idiot. That person doesn't matter, of course -- he's an idiot."

The English word idiot came into the language from France, probably along with the Norman Conquest. Before France had the word, the Romans used it freely (in Latin, natch! which supplied the vocabularies for French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian). The Romans had themselves borrowed the word from the more sophisticated Greeks, who used idiotes as a snub analogous to "rube." "Ignorant dude." An idiot was an ignorant "layman" whose ignorance might prove damaging.

In other words, idiot played to class and social position. You can imagine a Roman estate administrator using the word to describe the newest shipment of slaves, sent out by the Senator from Rome to work the estate. It was a slur denoting your place in the pecking order, your relative class, and still is.

Urban Dictionary definition of class? "That thing that sluts don't have."

Class is more than money. And Trump doesn't have it.

2. Democratic Prospects

Jonathan Martin reports in today's WashPost on grassroots Democratic congressional candidates in this year's special House elections, "Outside Washington's Blazing Inferno, Democrats Seek an Agenda." The short story: Democrats out in the country, as opposed to the national party in Washington, DeeCee, have it going on, while the national party hasn't yet recovered from Clinton's defeat: "For all the misfortunes facing their foe in the White House, Democrats have yet to devise a coherent message on the policies that President Trump used to draw working-class voters to his campaign."

It ain't really about Trump -- the winning of by-elections by Democrats this year and next -- since Trump is an idiot about public policy or how the government works. It's about the problems people face in Watauga County, N.C., and Briscoe County, Tex., and Cache County, Utah, and how those problems are not being fixed in any helpful way by the ruling Republicans. None of those issues generally include the word "Russia."

Luckily, I'm not running for office. I can obsess where I please.

1 comment:

Wolf's Head said...

Another word for your vocabulary:


Seems you all are being recognized outside the US.