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Who is it that Trump reminds me of? August 22, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I was thinking about Trump recently and it struck me there was something very familiar about him and his speech patterns. This in particular caught my attention recently:

Now, Hillary Clinton, commonly referred to as ‘Crooked Hillary’,” he told a crowd in Kissimmee, Florida. “Hillary Clinton gave a speech today having to do with economic development, having to do with a lot of different things. Short speech, always very short. You know?
“She makes the speech, she turns off the teleprompter. Look, what happens, she gives a short speech then she goes home, goes to sleep, she shows up two days later. Remember, short circuit. Remember that, right? Short circuit.”

It was something about the repetition. That sense that he’s trying to make a point with the listener in a chatty fashion. Actually, it sounds not dissimilar to the sort of circular speech patterns many of us dip into when fairly drunk, that same need to impress upon the listener something that really only has to be said once.

But be that as it may, then I remembered. I had a boss who used to slip into this sort of faux-informal ‘let me tell you’ sort of stuff at the drop of a hat. Sales meetings, Managerial meetings, whatever, would sail past, minute after minute, hour after hour, afternoon after afternoon (see, repetition is contagious) where a litany of faults would be uncovered and prodded at to no great effect.

What was always noticeable was that there were no actual outcomes from these meetings (always held on a Friday, once or twice a month or as and when the mood took him). The circular language was, if anything, a sort of therapy for the boss and a means of, paradoxically, avoiding making any actual decisions. There were good reasons for this. The group of companies was cash and investment starved. There was no money for the grandiose plans that were trotted out with alarming regularity. The great scheme unveiled last month was usually forgotten in the rush of enthusiasm, ‘let me tell you’, for this one. Only the most cursory minutes were taken, the group manager being wise to matters.

Occasionally, modish business language would make an appearance. If ‘disruption’ had been a term with any currency in the 1990s you can bet it would have been used with abandon. As it was there were unformed mutterings about synergy and suchlike.

The boss was, it has to be admitted, a fantastic salesperson. He could by sheer force of will convince and cajole others into curious decisions. I often wondered at what his international acquaintances and partners made of things when they finally made it to Dublin and saw the reality of the empire that they had had described to them, this remarkable logistical and sales hub that he had established and which in presentations yours truly provided for him was airbrushed (quite literally) within an inch of its life to offer a somewhat misleading image of its fit for the 21st century modernity and efficiency.

When they saw the crumbling warehouses, and shabby early 1950s office buildings, the run-down retail arms and the small but perfectly formed manufacturing area at the back of a partly refurbished sheds did they find some dislocation between rhetoric and reality.

It’s that that makes it both oddly recognisable with the stuff we’re hearing from Trump, in the sense that it is all too familiar, which also makes me deeply deeply suspicious.

Comments»

1. Aonrud ⚘ - August 22, 2016

Peter Serafinowicz has taken to re-dubbing Trump’s speeches verbatim as ‘Sassy Trump’. It certainly draws attention to the content.

On a side note, as someone who tends to avoid video in favour of text online, it can be easy to forget the sheer preposterousness of Trump’s speeches when you see only quotes instead of the full rambling experience.

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2. oliverbohs - August 22, 2016

The Donald has had his own “comedy roast” in the past; haven’t seen it so can’t say whether it really was an hour or two of badly disguised sycophancy by a bunch of second rate comedians. But he probably gleaned plenty from it. Note that he never laughs at his own witticisms. (There are plants in his audiences to do that). It’s one thing you can say in his favour.
That thing in polls where celebs are rated on how much you want to go for a drink with them. Is it how people choose politicians? Maybe. I think Trump is angling for those voters should they exist and chooses not to see how alienating his shtick is

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FergusD - August 23, 2016

“That thing in polls where celebs are rated on how much you want to go for a drink with them. Is it how people choose politicians?”

Maybe that explains Nigel Farage’s popularity. He was always shown in a pub with a pint in his hand. If the guy goes down the local and has a pint he must be OK!

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3. lamentreat - August 23, 2016

Brilliant description of that boss. Reminded me immediately of someone I used to work for around that time. A man who was clearly a psychopath, though more in the utter-indifference-to-others than (I hope) in the killing-and-eating people sense. It was the second or third business he had established through a kind of charisma and sheer force of will.

And the second or third one he was in the process of destroying through versions of the behaviour you describe here. Through brilliant salesmanship, he would hire very talented people, persuading them to leave secure jobs elsewhere and take a leap of faith in his organization. Within months they would quit in horror, even with nothing else to go to, in sheer horror and hurt at the bullying treatment meted out to them.

There must be some socially useful role for these types, but I am not sure what it is.

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WorldbyStorm - August 23, 2016

Thanks. He’s stuck with me – as you’ll have noticed. My favourite moment was when a new manager of one of the outlets recruited at great effort and some expense from a rival used the boss’s first name at a meeting. All the chummy informality went out the door, a coolness entered the air. Afterwards the boss pulled him aside. The new man dropped across to me later in a state of some confusion. Apparently the boss had said to him on the qt – keep in mind Richard (not his real name 🙂 ), I’m your boss not your buddy.

Got to say one thing for him. At least we all knew precisely where we stood.

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