As a paltry attempt at self-improvement, possibly the intellectual equivalent of occasionally taking the stairs instead of the lift, over the past year or so I’ve taken to writing down every new word I come across (or, occasionally, words the definitions of which I thought I sort of knew, but then realised I was mistaken). The sources of the words have varied, from novels, to dissertation research, to class reading. But by and large what I have read most of by far in the last year has been articles striking the fear of every conceived pantheon into my very soul about the, at first laughable idea of, and now fast-approaching, ineluctable* Trump presidency.
So, as a small silver lining to this whole Black Mirror-esque nightmare scenario, I decided to document the Trump-related words from my lexicon, reminding me that, if nothing else, 2016 has enhanced my vocabulary (not including ‘post-truth’, ‘alt-right’, ‘lügenpresse’, or ‘bigly’). Arguably I should have known the definitions of these words before the age of 24, but all the more reason to be grateful they were brought to my attention in the first place.
/ˈsɒfɪstri/ n. The use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving; a fallacious argument.
“To describe Trump’s rhetoric as sophistry would be giving him too much credit; he’s just bluffed his way into the Oval Office, and we’ve all been too dumbstruck by how incredulous his ascent to the highest office in the land is to stop him.”
/ˈkazjʊɪstri/, /ˈkaʒjʊɪstri/ n. 1. The use of clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions; sophistry:
2. The resolving of moral problems by the application of theoretical rules.
“The pundits can hide behind casuistry all they like, the reality of Trump’s character and ideals are plain for all to see.”
/pəˈlɛmɪsɪst/ n. A person who engages in controversial debate.
“Tonight we are joined by renowned polemicist and literal Devil’s advocate, Kellyanne Conway.”
/antɪˈnəʊmɪən/ n. A person who believes that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law; one who rejects a socially established morality.
“Trump’s antinomian approach to his obligations to the American public and the world at large keeps me awake in a cold sweat at night.”
/ˌmɑːtɪˈnɛt/ n. A person who demands complete obedience; a strict disciplinarian.
“A democratically elected president cannot be a martinet, demanding not only the loyalty but the love of a people they deride.”
/ɛnˈkəʊmɪəm/ n. A speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly.
“For a man all too happy to spread the most vicious and baseless accusations about those who disagree with him, his expectation that the press’ coverage of him should be nothing short of hagiographic encomia seems a little rich.”
/ˈtəːpɪtjuːd/ n. Depraved or wicked behaviour or character.
“As entertaining as unconfirmed reports of Trump’s turpitude may be, and as much as we struggle to believe he’s still swanning into the White House in spite of all the dregs of his sordid personal life that continue to rise to the surface, we cannot let ourselves be distracted from the real story.”
/ˌbraɡəˈdəʊtʃɪəʊ/ n. Boastful or arrogant behaviour.
“Underneath his exterior of blustering braggadocio is just a conman in an ill-fitting suit.”
/ˈdɛməɡɒɡ/ n. A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.
“Trump is a demagogue.”
I realise that a post like this does few favours for the image of those who oppose Trump- liberals are already characterised as out-of-touch elites, looking down upon the Trump supporters and sneering, dismissing them as ignorant and not knowing what’s best for them. So making a list of 50 cent words to poke fun at a man many hold to be the saviour of the ‘real’ America (or at the very least, the not-Hillary candidate) won’t do anything to disabuse those who say ‘left’ with a mouthful of venom of any of the above notions.
But for all the talk two or three months ago about bridging the gap, popping the bubbles, leaving the echo chambers behind and truly trying to understand the opposing sides of the debate, I can’t say anything I’ve read or heard about Trump, least of all the vitriol he himself spews on twitter or on camera, unadulterated for all the world to judge without any media-spin, makes me want to sympathise with him to any degree. He deserves every syllable of mockery and dissent, every roar of laughter, every humiliation and criticism he brings upon himself. So if I’m going to be labelled a fascist elitist libtard for opposing Trump anyway, I might as well earn the title and use as many unnecessarily pretentious words as I like.