Tuesday Reads: Fascist Misogynist Trump Spews Sexism; Media Misses the Point as UsualPosted: December 22, 2015
I was going to post repulsive pictures of Donald Trump, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead I decided to illustrate this post with paintings of Boston by Frederick Childe Hassam. I hope you like them and that they’ll help to ameliorate the horror of what I have to write about.
Last night Trump unleashed a sickening misogynist attack on Hillary, and many in the media are treating it like politics as usual if a little more vulgar than we’re used to. Here’s what Trump said (NBC News):
“Even her race to Obama, she was gonna beat Obama,” the GOP frontrunner told a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I don’t know who would be worse, I don’t know. How does it get worse? But she was gonna beat — she was favored to win — and she got schlonged. She lost.”
Trump also made crude references to Clinton’s bathroom break during Saturday’s Democratic debate, describing it as “disgusting.”
“What happened to her?” Trump wondered. “I’m watching the debate, and she disappeared.” He then solved his own riddle: “I know where she went. It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it. No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting. We want to be very straight up, OK?”
It wasn’t the first time Trump used the term “schlonged.” In 2011, while discussing the race for New York’s 26th District, Trump characterized the loss suffered by Republican Jane Corwin as “not only” a loss but an instance of getting “schlonged by a Democrat.”
Naturally the candidate in question was a woman.
Only a few media outlets described Trump’s language as misogynist, and when they did it was often when they quoted the Clinton campaign. Some writers even called Trump’s attack smart politics. However the New York Daily News did describe the attack as demeaning to women.
Donald Trump’s attack on women reached a new level Monday night, as the GOP front-runner used a vulgar term to insult Hillary Clinton and even remarked on her bathroom habits.
They also noted that Trump attacked Caroline Kennedy–in a way that was clearly sexist.
He also took aim at Caroline Kennedy, who he said was “too nice” to be the U.S. Ambassador to Japan and couldn’t keep up with the country’s “brutal, brilliant” diplomats and negotiators.
USA Today decided to focus on Trump’s use of a “Yiddish vulgarity.”
In New York, there’s a bit of Yiddish all around you. This is the after-effect of a stream ofEastern European Jews moving into the city at the turn of the last century, bringing their native tongue with them.
Your bagel gets a schmeer of cream cheese, the trip to Brooklyn is a schlep and the jerk on a bicycle who almost runs you over at the crosswalk is a schmuck.
But there is the problem. Shmuck is actually an obscene term for male genitalia. I have been yelled at for using that term in mixed company (mixed meaning Yiddish and non-Yiddish speakers.)
Donald Trump waded into this dangerous cultural territory Monday night at a rally Grand Rapids, saying Hillary Clinton got “schlonged” in her 2008 presidential campaign against Barack Obama. Here’s CNN’s coverage of the event. This has set off a bunch of politicalkvetching about whether Trump was being offensive.
Schlong means the same thing as schmuck, but I have never heard either one used as a verb. The Washington Post has a good linguistic analysis. You certainly would not say someone was “schmucked.” There are a whole bunch of other useful Yiddish words for fornication, if that is the verb you are attempting to describe, but we are not going to use them here because, well, they are rude.
Author Paul Singer said that Trump’s
timing was excellent. Starting Thursday in New York is the first ever “Yiddish New York” festival, including lectures, language workshops and dance and musical performances. There are even clarinet classes for budding Klezmermusicians — Klezemer, also known as “Jewish Jazz,” is one of the most joyful forms of music you will ever hear.
So Trump’s repulsive behavior provided Singer with an opportunity to promote the festival. Isn’t that convenient? No mention of the obvious sexism of Trump’s remarks.
Zachary Goldfarb at the Washington Post: Trump played a clever trick when he called Clinton’s bathroom visit ‘disgusting.’ For Goldfarb, Trump’s commenter were just “polarizing.”
On Monday night, Donald Trump made his latest polarizing comment, saying it was “too disgusting” to talk about Hillary Clinton’s use of the bathroom during the last Democratic debate and that she had got “schlonged” by Barack Obama when she lost to him in the 2008 Democratic primary.
Trump was surely talking off-the-cuff in his usual style — and the comments were criticized as offensive and sexist — but it was another example of his mastery in exploiting the psychological biases of conservatives who see much to dislike in today’s society and express support for Trump in the polls.
In fact,a growing massof academic research has shown that conservatives have a particular revulsion to “disgusting” images. In this line of thinking, Trump’s decision to describe Clinton, one of the most disliked people by conservatives, as a “disgusting” figure would have been an especially powerful way to rile up his supporters.
The research — still debated — suggests that psychological and even biological traits divide people politically, both in the United States and abroad. These are attributes that may help explain why Trump has been so popular among a segment of the electorate, confounding political and media elites.
Some of the recent research has been most pronounced evaluating the differing responses of conservatives and liberals to “disgusting” or “negative” images. Several studies have shown that conservatives are far more likely to have strong reactions to these images or situations than moderates or liberals are. Researchers have also suggested that conservatives are more likely to respond negatively to threats orbe prone to believe conspiracies, perhaps helping explain why Trump’s calls to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States or build a wall at the southern border have resonated with many voters.
You can read more intellectualizing at the link if you’re in the mood for it. I’m not. Those studies would be interesting in another context, but today I think it’s incumbent on decent people to stand up and condemn Trump for the damage he is doing to the presidential race and to our country in the eyes of the world.
Here is the Clinton campaign’s Twitter response from CNN:
Hillary Clinton has one reaction to Donald Trump’s use of a vulgar term directed toward her: Rise above.
“We are not responding to Trump but everyone who understands the humiliation this degrading language inflicts on all women should. #imwithher,” Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri tweeted on Tuesday.
One more link to last night’s reaction from Jenna Johnson at the Washington Post:
This isn’t the first time Trump has attacked Clinton using phrases that some of her supporters have labeled as sexist. In recent weeks, he has repeatedly commented on her pantsuits, said she lacks the “stamina” and “strength” needed for the presidency, and accused her of sleeping too much. Clinton is 68, and Trump is 69.
This latest attack seems to be in response to a comment Clinton made about Trump during the Saturday night debate: She said that the Islamic State terrorist group has used video of Trump’s controversial comments on Muslims to recruit new members, a claim that has drawn questions and skepticism from fact-checkers. Trump has demanded an apology, which Clinton has refused to give.
“She’s terrible,” Trump said during the rally. He then impersonated Clinton’s comments at the debate, using a rather snotty voice: “Donald Trump is on video, and ISIS is using him on the video to recruit.”
“And it turned out to be a lie — she’s a liar!” Trump said to roaring cheers. “And the last person she wants to run against is me.”
Johnson points out that Trump attacked two other women, Caroline Kennedy and Angela Merkel.
Trump also said that Caroline Kennedy is too “nice” to be the ambassador to Japan and is no match for their “brutal, brilliant” negotiators. And he questioned why Time picked German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its “Person of the Year” instead of him.
“They gave it to a woman who has not done the right thing for Germany,” Trump said, as the crowd booed Merkel. “Nice woman. I like her, I like her. I better like her — I may have to deal with her. Look, hey, Putin likes me, I want her to like me, too.”
Johnson also describes Trump’s attacks on reporters. If you watch the video, you’ll see that he even implies he’d like to kill some of them.
“I hate some of these people, but I would never kill them,” Trump said of the journalists who cover him. “I would never kill them. I would never kill them… I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people.”
Maybe that will light a fire under some of the dudebro reporters.
What stories are you following today?