I love linguistics, and while this is by no means a political blog, I can’t help but share one thought I had after watching last night’s first presidential “debate” (i.e. bareknuckle oratory slugfest). Politicians are generally cut from the same cloth in that they turn the act of lying into an art and consistently mislead the public. Fine and dandy. The whole world has come to expect this of the people who run our governments.
But last night, DJT took this pattern of behaviour to a new level: He committed verbicide. For those not familiar with the noun, here’s the dictionary definition:
1. the willful distortion or depreciation of the original meaning of a word.
2. a person who willfully distorts the meaning of a word.
Some choice examples from last night include, but are not limited to, the following:
[on pretty much everything stated by Hilary that was backed up with hard evidence]
“Wrong. Wrong. You’re wrong.” = Yes. Yes. You’re right.
[on his tax plan being a job creator]
“It’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch.” = You will lose the shirt off your back. Then you will shit the bed. Many times over.
[on how he will get American manufacturers to come back to the U.S.]
“…my father gave me a very small loan in 1975 and I built…a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars ” = My father came to my rescue many times with numerous handouts.
[on climate change being a “hoax.”]
“I did not — I do not say that” = You’re right. I tweeted that in 2012 and on December 30, 2015, I did tell the crowd at a rally in Hilton Head, S.C. that climate change is a hoax.
“No wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.” = I can’t believe you’ve been fighting ISIS since 2013.
Anyway, I could go on and on like the Energizer bunny, but I’ll leave DJT’s verbicide tendencies at that. If we’re lucky, his next step in the campaign will be to aim his crosshairs at neologism (the introduction of a new word into a language) and we’ll all get to take our lexicons to new heights.
Wouldn’t that be great! = I’m genuinely scared for the future of the English language!