Post-Debate Ethics Part 3 (of 4): Of Drumpf And Other Cheapshots

donald-drumpf-john-oliver

When there is so, so much of substance to justify criticizing Donald Trump, it is absurd for any critics to engage in manufactured scandals and cheap shots. It is also annoying, because it forces me to defend the guy, when I’d so much prefer to be, say, stuffing grubs up my nose.

Gawker, not surprisingly, may have set the low bar (or just put the bar on the floor) for anti-Trump tactics when it published anonymous excerpts from Trump’s answering machine to show that he was chummy with liberal media figures. This obviously made Mediaite’s Joe Concha’s head explode, as he wrote in part, in a post called “Even for a Toxic Waste Dump like Gawker, this Trump Voicemail Story is Truly Craptastic”:

Here’s a little background for anyone with an ounce of lucidity: Donald Trump once worked for NBC as host of The Apprentice….Newsflash: Politicians and media members, particularly those on the editorial side, are actually friendly with each other. Bill O’Reilly, for example, has gone to Knicks and Yankees games with Trump in years past. He doesn’t hide from it nor should he. Because before running, Trump was an A-List celebrity in New York… has been for 30 years. A-listers tend to hang out, you know, with each other from time to time…Am I missing something? Seriously. Because the next dot this comically bad story attempts to make mocks Trump for not securing his voicemail, and then has the audacity to call him hypocritical for criticizing Hillary Clinton for her use of a private server out of her home while she was Secretary of State… as if these situations are remotely on the same planet….You know what, I can’t even comment on this anymore. The genius authors, Ashley Feinberg and Andy Cush… who really have a big future ahead of them, don’t deserve any more free promotion. I’m not even going to link it here.

This Gawker scoop was so bad virtually nobody would touch it. This is not the case with HBO’s John Oliver riff on Donald Trump’s grandfather’s name, however. In an epic and generally funny take-down of Trump at the end of February, Oliver devoted part of his deconstruction to the fact that Trump’s original family name was Drumpf until it was changed by his grandfather.

“If you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy promising to ‘Make America Great Again,’ stop and take a moment to imagine how you’d feel if you’d just met a guy named Donald Drumpf: a litigious serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader whom he can’t decide whether or not to condemn,” Oliver said. Then he ended the segment by unveiling his  “Make Donald Drumpf Again” campaign, which includes a “Donald Drumpf” Chrome web browser extension and parody hats, both available at DonaldJDrumpf.com.

But of course Donald Trump was never named Donald Drumpf, and if you are the kind of person who would think less of someone because they had a German ethnic name, or mock him for that fact, you’re an idiot as well as a bigot. Full disclosure: my paternal grandfather changed his name to John Marshall from John Smellie in 1891, and so the hell what? What does that possibly have to do with me, my character, or my abilities?

Okay, I made that up, but presumably you see the point.

Strange, I don’t recall anyone on Comedy Central making “Barack Hussein Obama” jokes in 2008, when the more despicable right wing talk show hosts like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and Bill Cunningham tried to “other” the candidate by referring to him using his middle name. Oh, never mind: belittling someone because of his non-Anglo name isn’t  ugly and wrong when it’s done to rich white guys. That’s apparently the theory. I exaggerate, but only a bit, when I say that if progressives didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all.

62 thoughts on “Post-Debate Ethics Part 3 (of 4): Of Drumpf And Other Cheapshots

  1. Did you really mean to write this: “Oh, never mind: belittling someone because of his non-Anglo name is only ugly and wrong when it’s done to rich white guys.”

    I expect more something like,

    “Oh, never mind: belittling someone because of his non-Anglo name is only ugly and wrong when it’s done to black folks.”

  2. Off subject, Jack, I’ve been following Ethics Alarms for several years now and had come to anticipate that a presidential election year would fully engage your particular interests, so now, with eight months to go, can you tell me if we have hit a new low in ethical candidates? Or is this, historically, just par for the course?

    • That’s a great question! I was thinking about it: “Is this group individually really worse than anyhing we’ve ever experienced before, or is the bottom the same, but there isn’t any cream rising to the top?”

  3. , because Comedy Central is God to so many smug people incapable of independent thought

    Anyone gullible enough to make Comedy Central their God is gullib,le enough to vote for Donald Trump.

  4. My great grandfather came over from the Ukraine and the fellow writing names down as people waled off the boat changed his name from Adams to Adamowski, because of course, all Ukranian names actually ended is Ski. I’ve always been grateful my mother married a man with a shorter last name, attempting to write the entire name out would have retarded my learning to write my name by years.

    I actually liked Oliver’s take down of Trump, Drumpf included. He actually brought up examples no one had ever used before. (Donald said that he declined an invitation to Oliver’s show, and Oliver not only said that would never happen, but took pains to make sure that it hadn’t happened accidentally, after verifying that Trump was never invited, he asked the audience “Why lie about something so small?” It was a really profound example of how Donald lies like he breathes. The mitigation is that Oliver is a smug liberal, and smug liberals make awful messengers to conservative ears.

    As to Drumpf, It was a direct response to Trump calling out Jon Steward for changing his last name from Liebowitz. Trump said that people should be proud of their heritage, and shouldn’t change their names for expediency. I vaguely remember talking about this when it happened… Did you post on it here? The difference between changing your name now and your grandfather changing his name and you carrying that is material, and Oliver is wrong on the substance of it, but in a 22 minute video, it was far from the most damning point he made.

    • You’re really lucky your mom found somebody with the last name of ‘Talent’, Humble. Sorry. Haven’t had coffee yet.

    • Always thought it was the Polish names that all ended in -ski, because toboggan was too long. Ahahaha. All silliness aside, since I’m usually more a defender of the Polish, yup, smug liberals make TERRIBLE messengers to conservative ears. Like it or not, the messenger affects the message, and both sides have gotten so far apart that neither will listen, even when the other has a point.

    • I liked it too, and said so. The Drumpf bit was inexcusable. “As to Drumpf, It was a direct response to Trump calling out Jon Steward for changing his last name from Liebowitz.”

      OK, now which rationalization is THIS?

        • Well, sure, and that’s why Neil Dorr was clapping like a trained seal, and that’s why Trump is getting hit with cheap shots all over the place that the news media would be screaming about it it were done to anyone else. But if we give in to double standards like that, our credibility in asserting ethical standards are shot. I was wondering if I was the onlt one who reacts to Drumpf this way, so I just did some searching—I’m not. I just read Ann Alhouse’s comment, which I had missed while traveling:

          Many of those who seek to diminish Donald Trump have jumped at the idea of tagging him with the name Drumpf, which was the surname of his ancestors if you go way back. You have to go back before his father immigrated to America, which was 1885, but it is there in the records. TV comedy man John Oliver seemed to think it was a very funny idea to rename Trump “Drumpf,” because it sounds dumber, as many non-English names do to the ears of English-speakers.

          But is that the kind of prejudice Trump-haters should want to stir up?

          “Immigrants in modern America, however, do not often change their names anymore….. Name changes do remain popular among entertainers. For example, Jon Stewart, whose “Daily Show” is in some ways the parent of Mr. Oliver’s HBO program, was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz. As Mr. Oliver noted, Mr. Trump once criticized Mr. Stewart for changing his name, tweeting that “he should cherish his past — not run from it.”

          And many politicians have also undergone name changes, notably two presidents, Bill Clinton, who changed his name from William Jefferson Blythe III, and Gerald Ford, who was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. Mr. Trump’s potential opponent in the general election, Hillary Clinton, long held to her maiden name of Rodham, but she now campaigns without it.

          Maybe Oliver should have checked to see which side would be helped more before he went with the idea of laughing at other people’s funny names. But quite aside from that, this business of laughing at foreign names is — to use an epithet often thrown at Trump — xenophobic.

          Bingo.

          And, of course, Ann agrees with me, so she must be brilliant.

          But I’m sure Neil will now protest that Oliver was just joking, and that Oliver had made good points before that one.

          • Jack,
            Negative. I hate John Oliver, I just don’t take anything I hear on HBO seriously since its solely for entertainment. Also, most trained seals are smarter than me, as they’re free from degenerative neurological conditions which effect speech and reasoning.

            But please, find other ways of calling me stupid. John Oliver would be so proud.

            • Jack,
              I don’t know how often I can say this .. my comments are solely opinions and, as I’ve mentioned, I’m fully willing to accept they’re flawed (for the reasons stated above). Correct and chide them all you want, I just don’t get why you feel the need to denigrate ME in the process.

              Luckily, you only have about a year at the most to deal with all these irritating digressions.– after that, I’ll be Satan’s problem.

              • Neil, I give you the respect of treating your comments just as I would treat the same from anyone else. That’s how I would want it myself. I’m not going to pander or condescend. Golden Rule, through and through.

                • Jack,
                  Condescension is your bread and butter. Nothing about “trained seal” is constructive or helpful; you just compared me to an animal which performs tricks for food. Intentional or not, the analogy doesn’t imply that my reasoning is flawed, it suggests I’m incapable of reasoning altogether.

                  I’m not sure you’ve applied the golden rule correctly. If you had alzheimers, you’d want others to scold you for how forgetful you’d become? If someone vomits on your floor intentionally, animus is not only justified but called for — if someone is undergoing chemotherapy and does the same, you have every right to be frustrated, but I’m not sure chiding them for their carelessness is the most constructive way to deal with the situation.

                • Jack,
                  Except it’s not just the comments you go after, but the person making them. That’s what I object to.

                  • That’s literally impossible, Neil. I don’t know you well enough to be personal. I refer to the comment, and the skill, logic and lack of same that goes into it. You may take it personally, but I can’t help that. I do know you are capable of precision thought, so yes, I am not happy when I see less than that.

  5. Jack,
    1) Barack Hussein Obama is actually the President’s given name while Drumpf isn’t (or hasn’t been for generations).

    2) See Humble Talent’s point above regarding Jon Stewart

    3) His point wasn’t that it’s “okay” to make fun of people with silly names, but rather that Trump’s name has gained a brand recognition that is undeserved, thus “Drumpf” was meant as a way of breaking away from that.

    4) Rich white men are far less liable to be hurt or offended by such critiques even in seriousness. This goes triple for a guy like Donald Trump. I’ve never been fond of the terms “cracker” or “peckerwood,” but I wouldn’t consider my reaction to hearing them as comparable to a black person being called “nigger.” A dear friend of mine has an extremely petite build and, on occasion, I’ve made jokes regarding how “fat” she is precisely because she isn’t — offensive language can be funny when used non-offensively.

    5) There were some twenty minutes preceding the “Drumpf” digression that was full of substantive and meaningful criticism (a large portion of which was echoed a week later by Mitt Romney).

    6) The show is meant for entertainment value so making fun of people for reasons that might otherwise be unethical don’t mean carry the same weight. Anthony Weiner got all sorts of flack for his name after the scandal broke because it was funny in context, not because people xenophobia against Germans was coming back. People (including Obama himself) make fun of the President’s big ears. People make fun of the silly drawl Bush added to the “dubya” in his name. People make fun of Reagan for liking jelly beans.

    A fish has gotta swim, right?

    • “The show is meant for entertainment value so making fun of people for reasons that might otherwise be unethical don’t mean carry the same weight. “

      This blog has had discussions ad nauseum about the lines blurred between “entertainment” and “journalism” and the abuse/misuse of Jester’s Privilege. To the point that Jester’s privilege becomes less and less of a defense.

    • 1. You know, that was the excuse used by the jerks like Hannity. “Why, what do you mean? I’m just using the President’s name!” And Drumpf was once Trump’s family name. Obama doesn’t use Hussein officially either. Thus this first point is completely irrelevant to anything in the post: you’re not telling me anything I didn’t already know, and the distinction means nothing to the issue.

      And yet, it is one of your strongest points here…

      2. “2) See Humble Talent’s point above regarding Jon Stewart” You mean the “he was an asshole, so that means when I’m an asshole the same way, it’s fine” point? Check the rationalizations.

      3. “His point wasn’t that it’s “okay” to make fun of people with silly names, but rather that Trump’s name has gained a brand recognition that is undeserved, thus “Drumpf” was meant as a way of breaking away from that.”

      WHAT? He was making fun of Trump’s family name, but it wasn’t OK to make fun of his family name? Trump’s one of the most successful brand creators in marketing history. You’re not just spinning, you’re in an alternate reality.

      4. 4) Rich white men are far less liable to be hurt or offended by such critiques even in seriousness. This is getting worse and worse. Do you sit down, Neil, and decide to come up with the most desperate complaints intentionally? The post is about using foreign-sounding names to denigrate people. It’s un-American, otherizing, do you get that? Wrong. I breathed not a word about whether it hurt anyone’s feelings (are rich white men more resilient than a President? Because that was the only comparison I made.) Isn’t Jon Stewart white? Were his feeling more hurt than Trump’s because he’s just an ordinary millionaire?

      5. “5) There were some twenty minutes preceding the “Drumpf” digression that was full of substantive and meaningful criticism (a large portion of which was echoed a week later by Mitt Romney).” So you don’t really care what the substantive point of a post is, right? You just want to find ways to nitpick, even if they don’t make sense. SO WHAT????? I wrote that it was a good take-down. If Mitt Romney had finsihed his speech and ended it with “And besides, his hair is ridiculous”, would you have responded to a post about what’s wrong with ad hominem attacks by protesting “there were some ten minutes before the hair comment”? Oh, you probably would.

      6. 6) The show is meant for entertainment value AH! So if Oliver’s riff on Trump’s funny, foreign, other-sounding name included suggesting that it was Jewish, adding jokes about various Jewish stereotypes, it would all be just a joke?

      You do recognize that what Trump is being most attacked for is xenophobia, and that’s exactly what Oliver’s “joke appeals to, right?

      When I’m on my death bed, I will resent the five minutes of life I had to waste responding to this comment.

      • Jack,
        “When I’m on my death bed, I will resent the five minutes of life I had to waste responding to this comment.”

        Then don’t. Jesus. I don’t understand why you respond with animus instead of not at all? I’m not an asshole.

        -Neil

        • A careless, sloppy comment like that one demands a clean-up. There wasn’t a valid or a fair point in it, just gratuitous caviling and irrelevancies. I can no more ignore a comment like that than not clean up when someone vomits in my living room.

          • Jack,
            If it makes you feel any better, I’ll be on my death bed far sooner and will regret having typed it far more. You used to correct mistakes, now you just belittle them.

            • Oh, for God’s sake! When you’re on your death bed, one of your bigger regrets will be giving away your dignity so cheaply.

              • I don’t mean to sound insensitive. I don’t comment here much, primarily because I don’t have much time, but also because I’ve also got some medical and medication-related issues that have diminished my cognitive abilities (though for the life of me I don’t see yours in your comments). Most of what I would say has usually already been said much more eloquently than I could hope to anyway. On the occasions that I do open my trap, I fully expect and hope that Jack and the rest would give me a reality check if I’m making a fool of myself. I’d much prefer that to thinking I’m being indulged out of pity. I might be for all I know, but at least I’m not demanding it.

            • Also, for all you know, Jack may be dead tomorrow. We’re all on borrowed time. Every one of us should be treating others as if they’re facing a death sentence because, well, we all are. None of us know what’s in store for us, and none of us can be sure of the troubles those around us are currently dealing with.

      • It is a cheap shot. I don’t believe for a second John Oliver intended it to sound like a rational argument, because that’s not the point. It’s there to cap off a bunch of rational arguments, to tie them all together in a narrative and give them a name.

        The name, cheap though it is, is stickier than a bunch of rational arguments, and the idea is to stick it on Trump and let it bind the rational arguments to him. The name is supposed to allow people to avoid the cognitive dissonance of picturing Donald Trump as pathetic and immature, by allowing them to consider a person called Donald Drumpf who is pathetic and immature, and then to slowly realize they are the same person.

        A narrative ties together a collection of events and gives them a collective meaning. Trump has made a triumphant story of his life out of selected events, a story which bears his name. “Drumpf” takes the events he left out and tells a story of inadequacy, and gives it a different name so that people aren’t distracted by the triumphant story. The name is important, because a story without a name is harder to remember and refer to. They’re fighting Sun with Sun, here (Sun represents narrative, combining semantics and imagination).

        The fact that the name was “Drumpf” isn’t really important. It has a weak connection to Trump and a weak justification to be used on him, but the point wasn’t that he deserved the name. The point was to give a name that wasn’t his to the story he deserved. The fact that there happened to be a name that didn’t automatically sound glamorous that also had a weak connection to Trump was just fortuitous. They could have chosen a name “Schmuck” if they wanted to avoid having to use a poor justification. The weak but true connection was just funnier than being honest about simply choosing “Schmuck”, and while I do believe that unfortunately some people are simple enough to think that Trump deserves to be saddled with the name “Drumpf” because it was his ancestors’ name, I would expect most people to accept that the name itself doesn’t matter so long as there is one, so the funnier one won.

        I would of course prefer people to be swayed by rational arguments, but since humans are mostly weak-minded, sometimes rational arguments have no effect without a story to give them significance and stickiness. You can find more information on the principles of sticky ideas in the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.

        Unfortunately, fighting Sun with Sun tends not to be effective, because narratives tend to foster divisiveness between people who tell conflicting stories. That’s why John Oliver had to deconstruct Trump first, to remove the legitimacy from his original narrative. I’m not sure how well it worked, but humor does have a way of making people less awe-inspiring.

          • You’re welcome. I’m glad to help.

            I, too, am disappointed in the lack of effort by otherwise perceptive people to understand contradicting points of view, which doesn’t require agreeing with them, but does make it easier to agree with any parts that are true.

            • I don’t know what you think you mean by “understand.” Either an argument is a valid and logical one, or it isn’t. I understood your elegant phrasing f a rationalization for “othering” Trump, but it doesn’t make it less of a rationalization. “You don’t understand: is often the fall-back for an unsuccessful argument, with the implication that if only we could understand it, we would accept it. It’s an arrogant tactic, and itself a rationalization.

              In fact, I wonder if “You don’t understand!’ needs to be added to the list.

              • Please do add that one to the list. It’s been used on me so many times to my great fury that I’ve developed a great deal of skill in convincing people I do understand. One of the important parts is to listen.

                It looks like I wasn’t very precise in my phrasing. I didn’t mean that you don’t understand the argument itself. I meant that you seldom take the initiative to understand the person’s point of view, which can be the key to helping them see truth even when you have refuted every point of their argument and they remain unconvinced. The point of view holds pieces of the argument that remain unarticulated and perhaps even unrecognized, and feelings that if turned to a common cause would help recruit a person’s own effort toward discovering the truth in spite of their current beliefs.

                It’s one thing to make someone convince you. It’s a better thing to attempt to convince yourself on their behalf, with their help. A strong perception use like you can’t lose, since no matter what happens you’ll end up believing the truth, and you will be able to convince people you do understand, and from there, convince them that your point of view is worth understanding as well.

              • I’m not at all sure “You don’t understand” should be a rationalization. To me, it sounds like a mis-statement. It should be “I have mis-stated my case, because I have not given you what you need to understand”. To me, the word ‘transference’ comes immediately to mind; to wit, “I have screwed up but I’m gonna blame you for it.”

        • I have no problem with the humor to tear down Trump. I have a problem with his using ancestry to do it, when that tactic would never, ever be judged acceptable against a liberal or Democrat. What you describe is still the tactic used when Trump referred to Jon Stewart as his original, ethnic Jewish name. If it’s disgusting when Trump does it, it’s as bad when Oliver does it.

          • I agree that even in jest, it dangerous to sink below Trump’s level (using a tit-for-tat on Trump is sinking to his level by definition, but it’s not even an apt comparison, putting it lower.) Personally, I’d like to think I would have gone with “Schmuck.” What excuses it in the eyes of many is that the explanation for the name isn’t meant as a serious argument. It’s meant to be ironic. It’s not meant to be playing by the right rules, but by Trump’s rules. The fact that they aren’t exactly following Trump’s rules either is a bit of a sticking point for me, but as long as everyone acknowledges that, I’ll tolerate it.

            The point isn’t that people take “Drumpf” seriously. It’s the exact opposite. It’s just to introduce the idea that people should stop taking Trump seriously. That’s a tactic that can be used for good or ill, and I would’ve appreciated it if they had used one that could only be used for good, but those don’t go viral as easily because few people can faithfully transmit the idea.

            I myself attempted to use deconstruction on Trump in a blog post in a way that can only be used for good. I’ll have to see how well that works.

          • Last try: Do you primarily object because you view Oliver’s joke as an attack on people of .. German (prior to this, I wouldn’t have had even the remotest idea of what region or people that name evoked) .. ancestry more generally? In other words, using Cephalopod’s example, would calling him “Donald Schmuck,” or, even more whimsically, “Donald Duck” — have still been unethical?

            If so, I feel like that’s where our disagreement stems from. To me, the joke wasn’t a slap at heritage, but simply phonetic humor; which is what makes it feel “safe.” To use a previous (and perhaps flawed) example, jokes regarding “Weiner” (I know it’s actually pronounced differently) were funny because it was also a slang term for phallus and because of what he did, not because his family was “from somewhere else.” I realize the difference here lies in the fact that Drumpf has no direct meaning in English; however, when people laugh at it, I think it has more to do with it evoking images of words like “Frumpy,” “Grump,” “Drunk,” and “Whomhpf” (that sound things make in cartoons when they fall over) — almost like a complex pun. What’s more, these are all things contrary to the image that Trump has tried to cultivate; further underscoring Oliver’s whole that his brand was simply that — a hollow shell.

            I would never try and defend it as intellectual or high brow because it isn’t. It’s a low blow, but it doesn’t pretend to be anything different. And, more importantly, it’s not about whatever people, ethnicity, or creed more generally. My name gets riffed on all the time because of it’s phonetic similarity to and entrance-and-exiting apparatus and my birth name had even funnier connotations. Yet, never once in my life did I assume people were mocking me because of my Irish, Jewish, German, or otherwise ancestry. People laughed at my grandmother for being named Oouida (Oh-wee-duh) because it sounds silly to untrained ears, not she had Native ancestry.

            It may be childish and dumb, but that I don;t understand why it’s necessarily wrong. If this is a waste of your time, please don’t feel the need to respond. I mean this with all respect and sincerity — really. There was a time (not that long ago) when I didn’t irritate you so much .. I’m still (a little bit) that person .. for now, anyways.

            My best to you.

            • You sound perfectly lucid to me. I wouldn’t take it as a reflection on you. I get the exact same treatment whenever abortion comes up. I don’t take it personally, but I do find it a bit annoying that while growing up I had to learn to keep perfectly calm during disagreements, but apparently nobody else did.

              Not that it doesn’t give me a huge advantage in getting people to like me (and I need all the help I can get in that department), but it’s still a bit of a shock whenever people seem to think that they’re entitled to belittle me because they see something as “obvious”.

            • I have no energy to repeat myself. I thought Ann Althouse nailed it: here’s waht she wrote (I’ve already published this once):

              Many of those who seek to diminish Donald Trump have jumped at the idea of tagging him with the name Drumpf, which was the surname of his ancestors if you go way back. You have to go back before his father immigrated to America, which was 1885, but it is there in the records. TV comedy man John Oliver seemed to think it was a very funny idea to rename Trump “Drumpf,” because it sounds dumber, as many non-English names do to the ears of English-speakers.

              But is that the kind of prejudice Trump-haters should want to stir up?

              Immigrants in modern America, however, do not often change their names anymore….. Name changes do remain popular among entertainers. For example, Jon Stewart, whose “Daily Show” is in some ways the parent of Mr. Oliver’s HBO program, was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz. As Mr. Oliver noted, Mr. Trump once criticized Mr. Stewart for changing his name, tweeting that “he should cherish his past — not run from it.”

              And many politicians have also undergone name changes, notably two presidents, Bill Clinton, who changed his name from William Jefferson Blythe III, and Gerald Ford, who was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. Mr. Trump’s potential opponent in the general election, Hillary Clinton, long held to her maiden name of Rodham, but she now campaigns without it.

              Maybe Oliver should have checked to see which side would be helped more before he went with the idea of laughing at other people’s funny names. But quite aside from that, this business of laughing at foreign names is — to use an epithet often thrown at Trump — xenophobic.

              It’s stooping to Trump’s level, and validating his ugly tactics by using them against him. It’s also astoundingly juvenile. Distorting someone’s name to diminish him or her was a grade school bully tactic. I was called “Jacqueline” and “Marshmallow.” It’s not a fair or legitimate tactic no matter who the target is.

    • “Rich white men are far less liable to be hurt or offended by such critiques even in seriousness. This goes triple for a guy like Donald Trump.”

      I actually agree with both the substance and the implications of this. Trump has a membrane thin skin. We might think that he SHOULD have a thicker skin, and criticism SHOULDN’T have such an effect on him, but it does. Feelings don’t often care about things like facts. Which is why I find it disingenuous to say things like it doesn’t matter whether a black man or a woman is personally actually oppressed, so long as they feel oppressed, and then dismiss Trump’s feelings because of the reality of his situation.

      I’m not saying that you personally made those statements Neil, but proponents of either have to pick a position and stay with it: Given that being rich or white is not necessarily a shield from having your feelings hurt, and being poor or black does not necessarily make you a walking exposed nerve, should we give more weight to someone’s feelings, or to the reality of their situation?

  6. Although I actually agree in principle with most of what was said here, I think that Oliver’s riff on Drumpf was critical to his point that people are inclined to vote for Trump, not based on any qualifications he has for the office, but because of his name (which is really his brand). The riff was designed to show that, all else being equal, if Trump’s brand (which for one reason or another is equated by many people with success) is removed from the equation, nobody would even consider voting for him.

    • That’s just the other side of the coin that says they shouldn’t vote vote for someone who is “foreign.” That’s TRUMP’S logic.
      And come on—Trump’s brand has nothing to do with this—he’s been around for decades without anyone seeing him as a national leader.

  7. I thought the Drumpf section was the weakest of the monologue. The whole skit could have been better (and shorter) with it out. But I still enjoyed the hell out of it.

    Maybe there was a defect in my interpretive skills, but I took it as more of a play on the “power and positive implications” of the name, not it’s origins or whether it sounded “dumb”. The definition of “trump” by Merriam-Webster:

    Definition of trump
    1
    a : a card of a suit any of whose cards will win over a card that is not of this suit —called also trump card
    b : the suit whose cards are trumps for a particular hand —often used in plural
    2: a decisive overriding factor or final resource —called also trump card
    3: a dependable and exemplary person
    That’s a great connotation, whereas Drumpf does not have those connotations of power and positivism.
    I think he was juxtapositioning the strength of the name/word Trump against the forgettableness and phoenetic weakness (comparing the contrast of vowel and consonant sounds) of the name Drumpf. Trump is a power name, Drumpf is not. The phoenetic equivalent of red being a power color but aqua is not.

    Nevertheless, however it is interpreted, it was the weak link in the monologue. But I still enjoyed it.

    • As spinning goes, that was pretty deft. It was name-calling, play-ground level ridicule based on how a name sounds. But good job intellectualizing what was really just a low blow, no different from “Repugs,” “Killary” and “The Washington Compost.” As pointed out, conservative critics of Jon Stewart have called him Jon Leibowitz—I bet there’s even a Google extension. Not anti-Semitic? Suuuuure…

      • I don’t think it is intellectualizing or spinning to say that Trump is a strong name and Drumpf is a weak name. Being Germanic in origin is of little to no concern as there is not the xenophobic/racist/secterian basis for it that there would be for other names. It’s just a weak, flaccid sounding name. People are not falling all over themselves to make jokes and hate groups against Germans. So I think making it a xenophobic/racist issue is a leap. Face it, it’s just a really weak name that contrasts starkly with the strength and power of the name Trump and Oliver jumped on that. It should have never been an issue. There is plenty to legitimately criticize Trump about, going after his family name is petty. It is the one thing he can’t do anything about and was born into.

          • It is phoenetically weak.
            You can’t argue that.
            Length has nothing to do with relative phoenetic weakness or strength. Hall is a weak name phoenetically. Nothing biased or racist or xenophobic about it, it is just a weak name. Kennedy is strong, Brando is strong. Bush is weak. Marshall is weak name, but saved by the very phoenetically strong first name of Jack.

            • What? Marshall’s a great name! It relates to ground keepers and authority figures, and because two SCOTUS justices including the one who declared the court’s power to declare laws unconstitutional, it has special force in the law. You just think soft consonants are inherentlt weak. They are easier on the ear. Jefferson, Washington…nah.

              • I’m not saying Marshall is a bad name or that it does not have a proud and great heritage. My married name is Weber, my legal name Smith and my maiden name Dershem….none of those are strong. My first name, Lisa, doesn’t even help. They aren’t bad names, but they are weak names.

  8. I actually think “Drumpf” sounds more dignified.

    A distant relative of Americanize their name from “Roche” to “Roach”.

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