Sunday, July 9, 2017

"AUDIENCE:  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!"

Sorry, but I had to chuckle at how the White House transcript of Trump's speech in Poland made sure to include the peanut gallery's frequent and apparently irrepressible repetition of the POTUS's name.

The cheers--printed right there in black and white--serve a twofold purpose. First, they offer proof of the audience's undeniable enthusiasm. Second, and, from Trump's perspective probably even more important, they provide a much-needed fix for an adulation junkie. (Obama suffered from the same sort of addiction. I wonder: did the official transcripts of his speeches include the audience's reaction?)

Update: More than a few "progressive" pundits are slamming the Poland speech because they have convinced themselves that everything that comes out of Trump's mouth, even a ringing defense of Western civilization, is ipso facto an expression of racism, and a dog whistle for his "alt-Right" backers. Here's how one NR writer unpacks it:
The authors criticizing Trump’s Warsaw address just ignore or downplay the context that Trump gave for his own description of the West. He described it in terms that are alternately emphasized by conservatives and liberals. Faith and family and heritage for traditionalists. Innovation, free-wheeling debate, and female empowerment for progressives. This is the stuff of normal politician-speak, clumsier in Trump’s mouth than from Obama’s, certainly. But it was an attempt to include the political and cultural tribes that feel so much tension between each other now into one settlement — one project that is greater than themselves. 
Trump’s description of Western genius, “We compose symphonies,” has also been singled out by many as a racist dog whistle for white nationalism. This is straining. Symphonies are a compositional form that developed in the West, and that form distinguishes the Western musical tradition from others. And although classical music has fallen in decline, the symphony has been adopted by Westerners of all races. To hear “We compose symphonies” and think of eugenicist lawyers like Madison Grant before thinking of William Grant Still or George Walker, African-American composers of symphonies, may be an accident of one’s education. Or myopia. Readers can decide which.
Funny, but when I heard Trump mention symphonies, I didn't think about eugenics or race at all. What I thought was: I very much doubt that Donald Trump has ever sat through an entire symphony--or can even name one (since his idea of Western civ. runs more toward Playboy, beauty pageants and reality TV than it does to, say, Beethoven's 9th).

But, hey, that's just me.

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