The Repercussions of Insensitive Rhetoric

Stupid Trump

Donald Trump’s callous statements on Twitter have caused for intense backlash.  Because @realDonaldTrump represents the “real” Donald Trump, the account is susceptible to much more scrutiny for it’s demeanor than compared to something fake like a parody Twitter account.  What seems to be greatly influenced by Trump’s Twitter account is a new savage trending topic called, #KillTrump.

Here are some of the posts with the #KillTrump hashtag from the Twitter network:

Through these tweets, we are witnessing people openly express their passion for Donald Trump to be murdered.  While this trend does seem to have a literal interpretation and a figurative interpretation, meaning that it is meant to either help kill his campaign or actually physically kill him, at first look, this hashtag has a very serious and angry connotation.  It is important to notice that these tweets are not anonymous. When a Twitter user expresses his or her self in this way, with a public hashtag, they are putting themselves out to be scrutinized from it as well.  This should be equivalent to protesting with signs that read “Kill Trump”. However, through the internet, or Twitter in this case, people get to hide behind the profile they created for themselves and not face the real-life scrutiny or affect that they would face in the physical world.  But still, these tweeters that participate in this trending topic are so fed up with what Donald Trump has to say, they are willing to have him killed and allow for their excessive views to be seen by the entire world on Twitter.

It is also interesting to point out that through Twitter, people are able to have what is basically non-restrictive discourse about killing another human being.  Because of the rhetoric that Donald Trump has tweeted, or just said on television or etc., he has sparked enough negative emotion to make people feel the need to openly express their hope that he, a real human being, is killed, and Twitter is a medium for this conversation and expression.  Through Twitter, people have the opportunity (and take it) to speak their emotional feelings about Trump and start what seems to be a form of a movement.

#KillTrump is not just a discursive topic.  Just like Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” (oh man), it is a phrase that sparks an idea that encourages passion to make some sort of change in the real world.  This is made apparent by the first tweet above, which features a picture of graffiti in the real world that reads, “Kill Trump”.  #KillTrump, by its literal definition, implies someone to make a performative action in the real world.  And it is not just any action, it is the must brutal action one human can do to another (subjectively I guess).  #KillTrump is supposed to get people angry just like, “Make America Great Again”. “Make America Great Again” implies that at one point, America was great and at some other point in the past, America lost it’s mojo.  This is intended to make people angry because it implies that something or someone made America less great at some point in the past and now America must find a way to be great again and to get revenge on that point in time when America was less great.  In other words, America is having intense mood shifts that someone needs to address.   According to his campaign, the only person qualified to do this is, Mr. Donald Trump. Angry yet? How ironic it is for a man who believes he can “Make America Great Again” also has a collected group of Americans who not only do not want to him to attempt to “Make America Great Again” by becoming president, want him to no longer exist?

This #KillTrump movement is an outcry by people who cannot take his ideals anymore and want a change.  Just like other trending topics that aspire to create a movement like, #BlackLivesMatter striving to end racial injustice specifically seen by police authority on African-Americans around America, #KillTrump strives to achieve a real-world goal of putting an end to his absurdity.  Twitter has become a space for these movements to gain momentum.  @realDonaldTrump has racked in 10,000 followers since my first post, “Tell Me That’s A Bad Joke, Mr. Trump!“, which recorded his Twitter followers yesterday. He was at 5.38 million followers yesterday and today he is at 5.39 million. And based on an analytic study by socialbakers.com, Trump’s followers have been on a steady increase since he announced his presidential bid in July.  So despite the severity of his rhetoric, his publicity is steadily rising, and #KillTrump seems to be merely existing as well.

The ability on Twitter to express a person’s hatred for another person is only limited to 144 charters.  While tweets do have the ability to be reported to Twitter’s headquarters, they are open to obscene diction or statements that are ludicrous, @realDonaldTrump sees both sides of this.  Trump uses Twitter to his advantage by completely speaking his mind, and in return, people can also speak their mind in return. Twitter will continue to act as a medium for expression of all sorts.  Donald Trump seems to have taken the ability of speaking your mind to a breaking point that spawned, #KillTrump. It will be interesting to see where the momentum goes from there.  Maybe @realDonaldTrump will gain more followers or #KillTrump will gain more participants.

We Will Now Be Taking Questions

Just as any presidential candidate is supposed to do, Donald Trump finds himself answering political questions midst his presidential bid.  Twitter has now become an easy platform for citizens to ask presidential candidates political questions.  What is strange is when political questions are also asked to parody Twitter accounts like, @DrunkMiggy. Yup.  Let’s see what we can learn from when similar discourse happens between similar accounts within the same Twitter network.

For @DrunkMiggy, this is how it started:

The first question @DrunkMiggy decided to answer was regarding immigration:

@DrunkMiggy appropriately answered:

Here we see an example of @DrunkMiggy taking political questions as a character, who is not real and obviously not actually running for president of the United States.  This seems to be going on because @DrunkMiggy simply called for it to happen.  By taking honest political questions, @DrunkMiggy easily sets himself up for jokes.  His response to the immigration question, “All good Cuban players should come to Detroit” is a perfect parody Twitter account response. He once again does not include a period at the end of his sentence but we’ll let it slide.  His answer is near perfect because it takes the question from the perspective of an ignorant baseball player that acknowledges stereotypes while disregarding the immigration crisis that is currently happening in America.  The classic absurd response to a real life and sensitive situation situation. This is a an expected reaction from @DrunkMiggy.

@realDonaldTrump took valuable time out of his day as well to answer some political questions.  For Trump, his askers reached him through a live feed that was organized by the trend, #AskTrump.  Mr. Trump went the extra mile, however by answering his questions through video, because everyone knows you can’t fake sincerity or passion through video…right?

Trump tackles immigration with one of his first questions too, small world!

Trump is so revved up by immigration he claims it would be the first issue he would tackle if he became president of the United States.  According to Trump, “we owe 19 trillion dollars” in a way where illegal immigration is directly to blame.  He also says, “we have tremendous problems”, “we don’t know what we’re doing” and “everything’s falling apart”.  Those are some undoubtedly vague, depressing and fearful words from the GOP candidate. However, the way he expressed them through the video did not seem entirely depressing.

While his answer was vague and a bit incoherent, if those same words were written in a tweet, I think they would look more ridiculous.  Is this part of the reason why Trump and his campaign decided to send videos of his answers rather than tweets?  Sincerity does seem to come off a lot stronger through a video rather than a short piece of writing, if executed correctly.  Trump maintains eye contact throughout the entire video while making hand gestures that are either just distracting or probably actually effective.  The video lasts for 21 seconds and he does not waste a second of it  This creates an illusion that makes it seem like he has a lot to more to say about this issue. Whether his ability to speak in rounds on the issue is true or not true or his ability to speak about the issue can actually only last 21 seconds, this video implies that he has an opinion on immigration that he can verbally support without interruption or break.

Another aspect of the video is that this type of video is not as searchable through the network as his tweets are.  In order to pinpoint this specific response to immigration, a text search will not cut it.  For this reason, a video is a bit more hidden than his tweets but it is also more revealing of his character in real life.

Does this video contradict his Twitter account functioning as a parody account? This video seems to provide a more meaningful sense of “real” that exploits the fact that there really is a person behind @realDonaldTrump.  When addressing the question of whether or not this person seems legitimate, he could definitely be illegitimate.  His demeanor in this video can suggest that he is acting.  All of the body language qualities he shows are textbook that any actor would have to similarly master.  With this being said, his genuineness can be questioned.

While the tweets from the post before this one in, “Tell Me That’s A Bad Joke, Mr. Trump!“,  definitely show similar signs to parody Twitter accounts, there are many contradictions to the comparison.  The first one including the outrage that has sparked towards Trump’s insensitive rhetoric.

A fellow Twitter-goer responds to this video and sparks intense outrage with a distressing performative statement towards Trump:

This extreme accusation and imprecation includes a very serious tone.  It is hard to imagine this type of anger directed towards a parody Twitter account. That is for sure.

With this tweet brings us what will be the start of something serious and intense, brought on by the insensitive rhetoric of Mr. Donald Trump.

Tell Me That’s A Bad Joke, Mr. Trump!

A comical luxury found in the vast cyber-world within the Twitter network’s live feed of diverse statuses is the parody account.  Parody Twitter accounts appear all over the network.  They obtain a persona of a fictional character or, in many cases, a real life person.  For example, while Miguel Cabrera, all-star hitter and first baseman of the Detroit Tigers, has his own personal and official Twitter account, there is also a parody account based on him named, @DrunkMiggy.  The name and demeanor of the account references Cabrera’s real life alcoholism that he has struggled with in the past (but has lately overcome).  The parody account also has no official affiliation with the real Miguel Cabrera.  @DrunkMiggy acts as a medium for absurd comments that are meant as jokes.  Because parody Twitter accounts are understood by the large Twitter community as comical voices, there is much understanding for it’s humorous rhetoric and therefore, little negative affect from the Twitter community.  This especially goes for the many cases when Twitter parody accounts make comical jokes about sensitive real life situations.

Donald Trump’s real Twitter account, which is mainly meant as a medium for his presidential campaign at this point, in certain ways, functions in the same way that a standard Twitter parody account functions.  Trump’s rhetoric seems to imply jokes by speaking crudely and inconsiderately about sensitive real life issues, sound familiar?  One thing that is clear about Trump’s Twitter account is that it is affective in getting attention and creating affect.  As of Monday, December 21st 2015, Trump had racked in a total of 5.38 million followers, which is…a lot  (but may not seem like that much when compared to Twitter’s number one leader in followers which is Katy Perry with over 62 million, but again that’s the top leader).  His account, @realDonaldTrump, is also a real life tool to help build his public reputation or as of late, help his presidential campaign grow in publicity.  He is often using Twitter as a tool to show off his collection of positive poll ratings or just reinforcing his political, yet politically incorrect, ideals.  What is found to be most interesting about Donald Trump’s tweets is that while they seem to be most easily interpreted as jokes, it is unclear if he is writing with a serious intention or making an attempt at comedy. Let’s see how Trump’s tweets compare to the parody Twitter account, @DrunkMiggy.

After a serious earthquake in Nepal in late April of 2015, which killed thousands of people and injured even more, @DrunkMiggy made a joke which involved the earthquake and his alcoholism.

This passage, while containing only one clearly noticeable technical grammatical error by not including a period at the end of the sentence, is a working clause.  The anonymous author behind @DrunkMiggy even made sure to spell “than” correctly instead of “then”, which would indicate a reference to time rather than a comparison.  Well-done.  This statement, which was created as an attempt at comedy, understates the serious earthquake that occurred in Nepal and overstates how much alcohol Miguel Cabrera can possibly consume, despite the fact that both ways of measuring these individual results are not actually comparable.  For this reason, this is an absurd statement.  This tweet is an insensitive comment because @DrunkMiggy uses a tragedy to fuel his crude joke.  This is highly seen in parody Twitter accounts because after all, Twitter is often directly influenced by time and events.  And what is clear from this particular tweet is that this is easily perceived as a joke because of it’s absurdity.  This is the obvious difference between @DrunkMiggy and @realDonaldTrump.  @DrunkMiggy is clearly making a joke when with @realDonaldTrump, it is hard to tell.

When comparing Trump’s account to the parody account, @DrunkMiggy, we should again first consider that @realDonaldTrump does represent a real person.  Because his account represents a real person, we should observe the many ways we can interpret his tweets, through close reading.  Because again, @realDonaldTrump is not a parody account.

Here’s a tweet from Donald Trump which includes the sensitive issue of sexual assaults in the U.S. military.

Trump states an observation that is based on a fact about sexual assaults in the military which is then followed by a question and in the process of the tweet’s creation, he also appears to be completely grammatically correct.  Trump asks, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” This question first implies that someone or some “genius” group is behind allowing men and women to serve in the military together and secondly that in his view, this should not be allowed because once again, in his view, the act of putting men and women together in the military accounts for unmanageable sexual assault.

When considering the question’s first implication, that there is a group of “geniuses” who have the authority to decide whether or not to “put men and women together” in the military, it is critical to understand what group he is talking about.  Is he specifically speaking about the government or a mysterious group of intellectuals that hold the mere authority of putting men and women together in the military? It’s hard to say.  America has had men and women fight in wars together since World War I.  It sounds like he wants to get to the bottom of where this problem started so maybe Trump’s question should be more specifically directed toward the president who was behind this decision, Woodrow Wilson, asking what he expected when he allowed women to be part of the military. Unfortunately, Wilson passed away a few years ago in 1924 so he is unable to answer what may be a genuine question from Donald trump.  Too bad, maybe Wilson would have given him an educated answer.

Another interpretation brought on by this question implies that Trump is attempting sarcasm using the word, “genius”.  Maybe his use of the word “genius” is actually meant to connote something along the lines of, “idiot”.  In this case, does this mean that Trump is implying that women should not be allowed in the military or better yet, that there should be a separate military for men and women like there is for sporting leagues? An ARMY and a WARMY, like the National Basketball Association is split up by the NBA and the WNBA? I guess this is something we would have to work out with the countries we go to war with.  I assume battles would include a disclaimer of rules, something like, “THIS BATTLE WILL NOT ALLOW FOR ANY NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND WITH THIS BEING SAID, THIS BATTLE IS EXCLUSIVELY FOR MEN, THE WOMEN’S BATTLE WILL BE HELD IN THE GYMNASIUM AT 3:30pm!”

An interpretation from the tweet that seems clear is that he is creating the assumption that having men and women together in the military is going to result in sexual assault, no doubt.  The question, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?” implies that he thinks this togetherness is a bad idea.  If he thought it was a good idea, he probably wouldn’t have asked the question at all, unless he was excited about all the unreported sexual assault cases going on in the U.S. military.  The question comes from the factual statement he lead the tweet with, which states an issue.  Because of the way he structured this tweet, his question is believed to be specifically directed towards the same issue.  He is suggesting that the individuals in the military should not be liable for their actions because sexual assault is bound to happen when men and women serve in the military together.  And so, according to Trump, these horny soldiers should not be expected to control themselves when they have sexual urges because they’re horny and they’re soldiers and I guess, sexually untameable Americans.  The soldiers are not at fault, it is the genius’ fault who allowed them to fight together in the first place.  Sounds like he has a lot of trust in the American people, let alone the people serving in the military.

By asking this question, Trump also ignores the crucial point of his factual statement; not only is the number of sexual assaults staggering, the number of reported sexual assaults is even more staggering.  According to his factual statement, this means that not even 1% of the sexual assaults in the military were reported.  If Trump is not striving to make a joke, he is missing crucial issues of the problem he is addressing.

If we were to imagine that this tweet came from a parody Twitter account, it would make perfect sense.  Trump takes a sensitive issue and asks a sarcastic question resulting in an absurd statement.  He ignores the disturbing reality to sexual assaults in the military and makes a stupid joke as a result.

We see something similar when Trump made a debatable comment about global warming.

Here, we have another literate tweet by Donald Trump but it’s coherency is disputable.  Trump is questioning the legitimacy of global warming (like any GOP nominee should).  He seems to be creating a conspiracy theory against China.  In Trump’s mind, the Chinese haven’t stopped creating myths since they got things rolling back during the Shang Dynasty.  To continue on, while ignoring the scientific facts that contradict Trump’s whole theory about global warming, he’s created a decent plot that just calls for some minor story development adjustments.  His story involves an underdog country that is riddled by it’s belief in a fabricated concept called global warming, thanks to an antagonistic country that has a plan to produce products for the entire world, while probably taking over the world at the same time.  Sounds like a blockbuster, maybe just in time for Christmas?

Trump is calling global warming a “concept” that was “created”, which denotes global warming’s authenticity.  Global warming is indeed a “concept” but is also an actual threat to the Earth.  When speaking about climate change, Bill Nye, also known as, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” says, “it’s not something you should be debating or denying” and many other scientists agree with him as well, including Nye’s astrophysicist pal, Neil Degrasse Tyson.  Tyson has his own official Twitter account with which he uses to promote his ideals as well. Here’s an example of one.

Is Trump’s tweet an absurd statement yet?

Trump’s tweet is twofold because while negating global warming, this tweet also works to develop a brilliant, yet fake scheme that Trump believes China has organized.   If this tweet was believed by the population, (big “if”…at least you would think) a sense of fearfulness for the American economy and manufacturing industries would spread around the country.  People would fear for their jobs, and “anything but our jobs!” Since this tweet was tweeted from a serious Twitter account, it received a lot of attention and most definitely debate, and like Oscar Wilde has expressed, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. The tweet has received almost 20,000 retweets since it was posted in 2012.  A good way to get a lot of attention is through an absurd statement…Kudos to China for creating a heck of a myth.

Trump’s effort to take sensitive matters and speak foolishly about them is what predominantly makes his Twitter resemble a parody Twitter account.  Based off of these specific Trump tweets, @realDonaldTrump’s absurd rhetoric shows no sensitivity towards what should be recognized as sensitive public issues.  This insensitivity is what further proves that @realDonaldTrump functions as a parody account.  Concerning the point that this account actually represents Donald Trump, a real person, general common sense should likely encourage a filter to these types of tweets, unless they were strictly written for comical use.

In the case of @realDonaldTrump’s tweets being interpreted as strictly a joke, they are much more reasonable.  When his tweets are being appropriately interpreted as serious, Donald Trump’s rhetoric is subjectively frightening.  It is frightening because of its extremism and ignorance that is comprised in this person, let alone a powerful presidential candidate. But what is probably more frightening is the number of followers that Trump has attained.  A good question is whether twitter followers is analogous to supporters or just people interested in his rhetoric.  The absurdity does not end here.


 

Works Cited
 
“The Meaning and Origin of the Expression: There Is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity.” Phrases.org.uk. Gary Martin, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.
 
Mooney, Chris. “Bill Nye: Climate Change Is “not Something You Should Be Debating or Denying”.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.
 
“Time Line: Women in the U.S. Military.” (2010): n. pag. History.org. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

What and Why

For this final project in our New Topics class, I will be conducting a research project that close reads the tweets of Donald Trump while comparing his language to the language used in a parody twitter account, known as @DrunkMiggy (referring to the all-star baseball player, Miguel Cabrera)

I am interested in this topic because while Donald Trump’s presidential bid is scary, the things he says are funny and sometimes in a way that resembles a satire.  The clear and distinct difference between Trump and a parody twitter account like, Drunk Miggy is that Donald Trump appears to be dead serious while Drunk Miggy is only there for laughs.

Through this close reading and analysis I am hoping to find similarities (and even distinctions) between the two accounts that will lead me to more eye-opening realizations about the way twitter network operates.

Furthermore I believe that not only do Trump’s tweets come off as jokes in many cases, people react to them as if they are jokes as well.  Is this part of the reason why he has so many damn followers? Sort of like a car on fire that you can’t help but watch? Judging from my first look I think this is true.

Another focus will be on the discourse that trump engages in and the discourse that he stirs up as well. This will involve the tweets that Trump responds to and that people who get involved in his debates on the network too.

Once I finish close readings of Trump and Drunk Miggy’s tweets, I hope to find more directions to take this project.  And as hard as it will be, I will avoid having a conclusion that just leads to “Donald Trump is an idiot.” That conclusion is not the main interest and besides, why do a research project on something that anyone can figure out by themselves?