Sunday, August 07, 2016

Trump's nuttiness

Reader b just left a delicious message which deserves to be yanked out of the comments section and offered to the readers as a full-fledged post. The words below the asterisks are his (but I'll come back for a few words afterward):

* * *

Congresswoman Karen Bass has posted a petition calling on psychiatrists and psychologists to urge the Republican Party to get Donald Trump's mental health examined.

It has already had 24000 signatures. The Twitter hashtag is #DiagnoseTrump.

Bass lists the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. Others have argued that Trump also exhibits symptoms of sociopathic personality disorder.

But wait...

...Trump publishes a a medical report on his website. Dated 4 Dec 2015, it is a statement by Harold Bornstein, who claims to have been his personal physician since 1980. Headed "To Whom My Concern" (sic), it states

"Mr Trump has had a recent complete medical examination that showed only positive results. Actually, his blood pressure, 110/65, and laboratory test results were astonishingly excellent. (...) If elected, Mr Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." (emphasis added)

A medic may have signed that document, but those words don't sound to me as though they were written by a medic.

1) Results of medical examinations are usually called "positive" if something problematic is found. If a medic writing a report wishes to say that nothing untoward was found and that a person's health is in good shape, they would be more likely to use the word "favourable".

2) "Astonishingly excellent" does not seem like medical language at all.

3) No medic today can reasonably state that anybody would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency". You would have thought that a medic who has worked for 35 years for a billionaire who boasts about always getting the best of everything would know that.

Here we have a case of irrationally hyperbolic and superlative language being used about Donald Trump, in a document published at his website.

Can anyone guess who might have written it?

Pay close attention to the sentence beginning "Actually, his blood pressure". Using a comma after the word "Actually" in that context is an example of a poor writing style. But exactly such ugly usage has appeared many times in Donald Trump's tweets.

That can be verified by running this search:.

Examples include

"Actually, she has done poorly with such men!" (2 May 2016)
"Actually, I doubt it!" (26 Jan 2016)
"actually, you always knew!" (27 Jun 2015)
"Actually, if I run, I'll win." (28 Jan 2015)
"so boring now that actually, I’m glad I didn’t (...)" (13 Oct 2014)
"Actually, they will take over Iraq and all of their oil." (14 Jun 2014)
"Actually, I don't think so." (16 May 2014)
"Actually, I'm easily #1!" (4 Mar 2014)
"Actually, I like you!" (19 Feb 2014)
"Actually, she has got no talent at all-ZERO!" (13 Jul 2013)
"Actually, I agree with that" (29 Jun 2013)

In all of these cases, it would be better style to dispense with the comma after "actually", and probably to lose the word "actually" altogether. But Trump not only overuses the word "actually"; he also habitually follows it with a comma where a better stylist would not.

Doubtless a more sophisticated stylometric analysis could be conducted which could compare the medical report with texts known to have been written by Trump, in order that the probability could be reliably estimated that he himself wrote the report.

All hands to the pumps.


* * *

Cannon here.
Actually, I use the comma after "actually," because the comma aids comprehension. But the overall point remains valid.

"If elected, Mr Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." I find it hard to believe that a doctor would write those words unless instructed to do so. (There are doctors who will do pretty much anything for money.) How the hell would any doctor know the health of all previous presidents? A real doctor would simply speak about the health of his patient. A responsible medical professional would not make a sweeping, unverifiable declaration about people he has never examined.

Since b has already dipped into the waters of grammatical analysis, I'm going to dive in. Most writers would have used this phrasing: "I can state unequivocally that Mr. Trump, if elected, will be the..." The natural order of the sentence was awkwardly skewed to make "Mr Trump" the subject of the entire sentence, not the subject of an objective clause. A narcissist would unconsciously choose that word order.

For more on the Bornstein memo, go here. Dr. Bornstein's hair is even weirder than Trump's.

Aside from all of that: Physical health differs from mental and emotional health. Richard Nixon was a pretty healthy guy throughout his presidency, but he secretly saw a psychotherapist named Arnold Hutschnecker -- the only real-life "President's Analyst" on the public record. Actually, Nixon deserves great credit for this choice. (The preceding sentence really needs that comma, doesn't it?) At least Dick Nixon was honest enough to admit that he needed someone to talk to. Hutschnecker once said that his most famous patient had no serious psychiatric disorder but did display "a good portion of neurotic symptoms" -- a diagnosis which, to this layman, sounds persuasive. God only knows what the good doctor would have made of Donald Trump.

As we've noted in previous posts, the Trump campaign engages in mirror imaging. If a number of writers in the media attack Trump on the issue of mental stability, then Team Trump -- or rather, Teamsky Trumpsky -- will attack Hillary on those grounds. Example. Since Russian media is coordinating with the Trumpers in such a thuddingly obvious fashion, I'm guessing that you will probably find similar articles on the Russia Today website soon, if they are not up right now.
Comments:
Yes, I had those suspicions when the doctor's letter first became known.

It's part and parcel with Trump calling reporters and bragging about himself, while pretending to be his publicist (http://wapo.st/1T8FTfq).

And now we find out that Melania's supposed speechwriter, the one to supposedly have plagiarized Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech, may not be a real person (http://bit.ly/2aDXTLL). I've thought from the beginning it was The Donald who "helped" Melania with her speech.
 
If Putin still wants Orange Julius Caesar to be Prez after OJC's nutty remarks about nuclear weapons, I will be compelled to lower my estimate of Putin's intelligence (and I don't mean the efficiency of his spies).
 
I did a post once on the word actually. Many times people will say…"Actually that is a good idea." end quote.
Either the actually means…they rarely hear a good idea but that was a good one, or, The person stating the idea rarely says anything intelligent, but this latest idea was "actually" a good one.
After I wrote that about 12 to 15 years ago, Doonesbury made a cartoon out of the word actually, labeling it a derogatory term when used in the example I cited. Not saying Trudeau lifted it from me, just that we thought alike, har har.
 
Turns out Doonesbury saw Trump coveting the presidency 29 years ago. Doonesbury Predicted Trump's run for the Presidency 29 years ago
 
tRump began attacking Clinton's mental health this morning, re: her short circuit comment.
 
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