Saturday, January 07, 2017

Through the looking glass

I don't want to steal this from TC, but he posted this quote from Trump from a press pool report (he has the link):

Asked more generally about sanctions against Russia, he responded: "I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. And we have speed and a lot of things and I'm not kind the security that you need. But I have not spoken with the senators and I will certainly will be over a period of time. "

Now that's pretty much straight from the transcript.  Why the transcript would read this way if it isn't what Trump said is a mystery, but that's how the pool report posted on line transcribed his remarks.

A few hours later, Charlie Pierce has it delivered to us this way (apparently courtesy of Politico) with no indication it's been cleaned up:

I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I'm not sure we have the kind, the security we need.

Where did the words go, and where did the words come from?  And how common is this going to become, that the gibberish that spews from the President's mouth (I defy any native English speaker to explain what the bold sentence in the first quote means without adding more words to it that an English sentence would require.  If I got that sentence in an essay from a student, I would wonder about his education, and even his mental ability.)

Be?  Become?  Who am I kidding?  This is as American as cherry pie.

The courtier press, indeed.*

*When I worked for a law firm, and later practiced law, trial lawyers knew the transcript of a deposition (testimony under oath) was full of weird sentences that didn't make sense.  A good lawyer would think of the written record and get the witness to clarify truly odd statements, rather than try to play "gotcha!" in the courtroom (which never worked).  But as I was telling my students this week, when the President-elect speaks (or the President), his words are "performative language."  He has to mean what he says and say what he means, or China (for example) starts cleaning the sights on their guns and thinking of how they invented gunpowder. and other such discomfiting ideas.  The President can't babble like a language-challenged 3 year old and let someone else, on bended knee, straighten out his language for him.  The kind of clean up only works in press conferences, and then only when the conference is broadcast live.

And since I have the luxury of writing this one day, and posting it much later, this news story intervenes between the Idea and the Reality:

In yet another series of typo-filled tweets Thursday, Trump blasted the Affordable Care Act and the Democrats’ promise to salvage the health care plan, which the Republican businessman has vowed to repeal.  He also bullied Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer with name-calling taunts.

“The Democrats, lead by head clown Chuck Schumer, know how bad ObamaCare is and what a mess they are in,” he tweeted early Thursday, likely meaning to write “led” instead of “lead.”
“Instead of working to fix it, they do the typical political thing and BLAME," the President-elect tweeted. "The fact is ObamaCare was a lie from the beginning.”

“’Keep you doctor, keep your plan!’” Trump tweeted, mocking Democrats who insisted Obamacare’s implementation would not change private insurance. The President-elect probably meant to type “your doctor.”

I actually have copies of these tweets in another post, complete with typos. I have read, but not verified, that after Jan. 20th these tweets will be considered part of the Presidential record, and any attempt to remove them or correct them could be a violation of law (a minor infraction, I don't mean the guys in black would bust the windows as they swing in on ropes).  Considering all the allegations made against "Crooked Hillary" for innocuous alleged violations of law, that's almost karmic in its irony.*

In any case the tweets certainly make me think the transcript got it right.

*and yes, as NYDailyNew helpfully points out, Trump does this a lot.  It's going to be a very interesting Presidential record, indeed.

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