This article annoys me.
The article is an obscenely easy and predictable read. In response to Rashida Tlaib's and subsequently Kim Campbell's use of the word "motherf**ker" on Twitter in reference to Donald Trump, Ambrosino calls for decency and civility on the grounds that we will be more "kind" as a result. And to a point, I agree.
But the article hinges on a false equivalency that makes the premise irrelevant.
I think it's clearest when Ambrosino flippantly writes,
Others have thrown their support behind using the foul language, on the grounds that the President himself has destroyed any sense of decorum in U.S. politics – and therefore anything goes, linguistically speaking.
The general thrust of his argument is in that "therefore anything goes" phrase. This simply isn't the case. Just because Trump has called Mexican immigrants "rapists" doesn't mean others have taken it up; we don't hear politicians use words like "motherfucker" and "pussy" on a regular basis; we don't see politicians creating pithy, abusive nick-names for their opponents. Clearly, linguistic decency still stands tall in politics; Trump is still very much the exception to the rule.
When Ambrosino equates the use of "motherfucker" to "Trumpian," he misidentifies the problem with Trump's language use in general: its vagueness. Trump's language is consistently unclear. Frustratingly unclear. Obscenely unclear. Trumpian language, crude or not, hinges on its casual, childish, mushiness. If he can choose a more simple word, he will. If that word is a crude or rude word, he'll choose that.
This video does a good job of explaining "Trumpian" language.
Some people use crude language with precision. Trump does not. In this context, the word "motherfucker" is not the problem. Don't give Trump that much credit.
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