It don’t get no more scathing than his instantly famous Washington Post column about you know who, post-Putin.

Let us consider why, amid two years of howling verbal shitstorms, it is Will and Will alone who has captured the attention of the world. What’s he got?

A strong, funny, opening sentence featuring an apt extended metaphor with alliteration and assonance (I’ve bolded the Ps and the long As):

America’s child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care…

More put-down comedy:

Precision is not part of Trump’s repertoire. He speaks English as though it is a second language that he learned from someone who learned English last week.

You may recall this from the similar technique of Paul Krugman on the subject of Newt Gingrich:

A stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.

Merciless no-muss no-fuss direct statement:

Trump has a weak man’s banal fascination with strong men whose disdain for him is evidently unimaginable to him.

The winner-word here is banal – really cuts the dude down to size, as in Arendt’s unsparing banality of evil.

Even more — and bear with me here – when you couple a word dominated by the word anal with Uranus – a word NO ONE can read or speak without translating it into your anus – I think you also begin to… infer… Will having some real fun with the anomalous ass in the White House:

[J]ust as astronomers infer from anomalies in the orbit of the planet Uranus the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer and then find still hidden sources of the behavior of this sad embarrassing wreck of a man.

Even as[s]tronomers works for Will here as he uh bends over backwards NOT to say that the hidden source of Trump’s anxious Russophilia is long-rumored twisted sex play in a Moscow hotel, about which Putin knows…

Finally, Will knows how powerful iambic pentameter can be. As in:

this sad embarrassing wreck of a man.

The finely controlled language of his whole piece implicitly juxtaposes Will’s (and his assumed reader’s) calm Shakespearean maturity and Trump’s mad-hatter hauteur, and this final poetic line (still the well-deployed assonance: sad/embarrassing/man) is the quintessence of the basic move: crude content/elegant style. You recall how it works for Shakespeare:

Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen

In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed

A poor, bare, forked animal as thou art

Like most really good writers, Will has learned from him.

As in all of the tragedies, the elevated language invokes a noble past and promises a noble future; but for now, words of contempt and hopeless pathos must in our phrases be enseamèd.

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5 Responses to “Scathing Online Schoolmarm Doffs her Hat to George F. Will.”

  1. dmf Says:

    may be partly true but mostly I think people are desperate for signs of Republicans in revolt (or at least feeling revolted), we aren’t that literary a culture…

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    dmf: Agree we aren’t that literary; but you don’t have to be literary to be responsive to first-rate writing.

  3. theprofessor Says:

    “After my election I have more flexibility” said Donald Trump. Oh, wait. It was actually the godlet Obama who said that and then followed through, in spades, while the worshipful media and Nice People twisted themselves into knots trying alternatively to justify or ignore his lethargy. The record about who was squishy on Russia in real terms is very clear, and the main offender is not Donald Trump. This is not to say that Putin was Obama’s bosom buddy. That status was reserved for Erdogan and, of course, his good friends the Iranian ayatollahs.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    tp: No one’s going out of their way here to defend Obama, who I voted for and admire but do not worship. But at this point in Trump’s presidency, I think we’re past comparisons with former presidents. He’s a whole new kettle of fish.

  5. dmf Says:

    whataboutism comes to the UD comment page, sad

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