Sunday, August 6, 2017

Trump as a Mad Max metaphor: Immortan Joe and the War Boys

A mere movie villain?
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Immortan Donald
George: Oh, that it were only so. But he’s not. He’s one of the Mad Max antiheroes like Immortan Joe. Trump's White House is a chaotically choreographed political satire. Unfortunately, in the real world.
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Bill: There’s also something ominous about the gum-chewing, bull-necked supporters who cheer him on. Like an army of Caucasian Kim Jong Un clones clinging to a string of broken promises. Like the War Boys in Mad Max. Their support is hardly waning. He lies outrageously. And he can because his supporters know little of politics or economics. Groupthink. Did you see this picture in The Economist? You are what you drive.
You are what you drive...
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George: And you become what you drive.
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Bill: Of course, none of them will look in the mirror and see themselves as most of the rest of the world views them.
__________
Voice-over

The Economist Special Report on America Divided might help Trump supporters feel like they are winning. But the choice of photographs profiling those supporters is a clever underlying subplot identifying “Just who ARE these people?”
...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Scaramucci set up

Game of Thrones…
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Donald: What to do about Priebus?
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Ivan: You should bring in someone who will backstab him by leaking stuff on him.
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Donald: That’s what I’m saying. I have these brilliant ideas. Bring in someone to get rid of Priebus so I’m not seen to be the one doing the firing.
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Daily Telegraph
Ivan: Someone like Anthony Scaramucci.
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Donald: I’m saying someone like Anthony Scaramucci. Set him up to go pottymouth on Priebus and Bannon to a reporter. Shoots himself in the foot, big time. Then bring in someone else to fire him. Before he is even officially employed. I have these brilliant ideas.
_____________
Voice-over

Did it happen this way? Was it a well-thought-out plot, or was it simply an absence of planning? As usual Donald takes the credit from wherever he can get it.
...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Battered white rabbit

WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT

Caught in the headlights
Evidently, not ALL white rabbits have a happy go lucky life, leaping from one month to the next with the greatest of luck.
This one was hit by a car at the gate of the Hamlet Café.
But never mind, the CT scan showed no brain damage.
He’s on the mend.
Always wear a helmet crossing the road.
Supports the luck.

...

Friday, July 28, 2017

Testing Trump’s Competence: Language and Cognition

As the linguist said to the psychologist…
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Linguist: His language skill has plummeted, he cannot stay on subject, or complete sentences, he repeats himself, he’s incoherent, he has simplistic vocabulary and tangled grammar.
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Psychologist: It could be stress, or anger, or fatigue.
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Linguist: Other leaders can cope, he can’t.
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A me... speak... problem?
Psychologist: Maybe he speaks this way to appeal to his supporters who also talk like that.
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Linguist: But he can’t adjust his unscripted speaking style to suit the listener. He only has one style. You talk at a rally, maybe you choose to go incoherently emotive. You face an intellectual adversary, you switch to cerebral suasion. He can’t do that anymore.
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Psychologist: Are you suggesting he is suffering from some cognitive disability? To determine that, you need to administer a psychological test to get data. He won’t submit to that.
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Linguist: To a linguist, the data is there. Just parsing his speech suggests a serious prognosis.
____________
Voice-over
Apparently he wasn’t always so linguistically disabled. In the 1980s and 1990s, he could give coherent interviews. Now, linguistic evidence suggests Trump is a severely linguistically and cognitively crippled leader. Political office demands coherent communication and crystal clear cognition. He doesn’t demonstrate this.
...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Conference scaling: From collegial to colossal

Following two conferences in a row…
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Erich: ASCJ was navigable with 300 participants.
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Jean-Paul: Right, and at most half a dozen parallel sessions over two days.
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Erich: Whereas at ICAS, there were more navigational choices because of the 1200 participants, running to 25 parallel sessions over four days.
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Jean-Paul: I sense a coefficient coming on.
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The plenipotentiary
takes the stand...
Erich: So at ASCJ, you could potentially attend 12 percent of the presentations.
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Jean-Paul: And at the bigger ICAS, you could potentially attend only 4 percent.
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Erich: Assuming you only stayed in one session and didn’t float or hop between rooms.
_________
Voice-over
Academic conferences range from the small group of colleagues (maybe 20 or 30) who meet to exchange ideas. Use of one of the member’s university teaching rooms: gratis. Everyone chips in 300 yen for coffee and scones. Single sessions, so everyone gets to speak and be heard. Audience: 20 or 30.

Go a little bigger and an institution might ask for some payment. Conference fee a reasonable 3,000 yen. Reception dinner, optional, 3,000 yen. See 10 to 15 percent of the presentations if there are no distractions. Audience in each session: 20 or 30.


Then go international and rent a crowd. Hotels, transport, international conference centre, book publishers as sponsors of coffee breaks. Conference fee from 14,000 yen to 30,000 yen (including reception). Audience in each session: 20 or 30.
...