Rhetorical Flux: Trump and Silverman are more than just trolls - they're assholes
"..the best way to get rid of Trump as a frontrunner for
the GOP nomination is ...to call Trump out, simply stating (and not just thinking) that the Donald is an asshole."
By Steven Kurlander
Monticello, New York - January 1, 2016
Published in Context Florida - January 3, 2015
The year 2015 is over and there's been a variety of boring lists or designations put out there highlighting the best and the worst of people, songs, photos, recipes, books and the greatest and most dramatic events of the year.
For example, Time Magazine named Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel its “Person of the Year
Do any of you really care?
I never did. I find such lists and designations rather tedious and insignificant. If I were forced to pick a person of the year -- this year and every year for last 24 years -- it would just be the same simple choice: my wife, who has spent yet another year putting up with me.
But that changed this Christmas. You know why? I had to look up what “gender fluid” meant.
While about half the world celebrated the birth of Jesus, alleged comic Sarah Silverman gained great notice by insulting millions of Christians.
She tweeted “MERRY CHRISTMAS! Jesus was gender fluid!” Gender fluid refers to a state of a person’s gender identity being in flux.
She then followed up by referring to the style of Santa’s pubic hair.
The headlines noted that Silverman had people “freaking out” and referred to her mainly as a troll.
For those who don’t know what a troll is, it is “one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”
To me, throwing that garbage out there on Twitter was not an act of just a troll, but simply a plain “asshole” trying to stay relevant as a not-so-funny comic with a pseudo-leftist agenda..
Silverman, and Donald Trump too, became my top two picks for Assholes of the Year in 2015.
Our country is enamored with what can be called “rhetorical flux,” which are statements that get great social media play because they are provocative, crude or insane. As seen from Silverman’s tweet, such rhetorical flux bounces back and forth, depending on the reader, from being crude and offensive to acceptable and newsworthy.
Think about it. Everyone has within his or her circle of friends, relatives and acquaintances at least one asshole who always says or does something that pushes the boundaries of propriety.
While you won't admit it, most of the time you put up with this person because he or she can make you laugh, or cringe, or express something that you may not or can not express.
You know why Donald Trump can get away with all those horrible statements about Mexicans, Muslims, John McCain etc. and zoom up in the polls? You know why Sarah Silverman can call Jesus a hermaphrodite and gain worldwide recognition?
Because whether Americans want to admit it or not, they love, or at least put up with, assholes.
Silverman and Trump surely know how to exploit this weakness of the American character and surely will continue building their careers acting like assholes.
Acknowledging this, the best way to get rid of Trump as a frontrunner for the GOP nomination is not to wring your hands and state he’s not presidential material or that he is a bigot, misogynist, racists, etc.
All a Chris Christie, a Marco Rubio, a Ted Cruz, or a Jeb Bush has to do is call Trump out, simply stating (and not just thinking) that the Donald is an asshole.
He’d be finished. By stepping away from the decent political dialogue that is failing them and engaging in such rhetorical flux, it would actually undermine Trump’s masterful use of it.
The Bottom Line: Despite their tolerance or even enjoyment of assholes, Americans really don’t want a blatant one as their president.
Happy New Year and thank you for your loyal readership in 2015 and the year to come.
Steven Kurlander blogs at Kurly’s Kommentary (stevenkurlander.com) and writes for Context Florida and The Huffington Post and can be found on Twitter @Kurlykomments. He lives in Monticello, New York. Column courtesy of Context Florida.
Christmas 2015: Being thoughtful about goodness & A Wonderful Life
"Whether it's through one's religion, philosophical virtues, or a personal code of moral conduct, the concept of Christmas fits all. It's about the evolution of a better inner and outer world for the inhabitants of our planet."
by Steven Kurlander
Monticello, New York - December 24 2015
It's almost Christmas Eve. I've received a number of emails today, mostly advertisements, heralding the upcoming Christmas holiday. I've read my morning news, a mix of mainstream news and political blasts from both the left and right. Like most days, it's depressing to read the state of our world and our nation the day before Christmas. I'm sitting here not feeling the festive Christmas mood they advertise, or they promote in religious terms. Instead, I'm being thoughtful.
Maybe it's the weather. There's no snow here in the balmy Catskills, and there should be this time of year. It was weird this morning when I went outside, on a rainy, December 24th with no jacket, in short sleeves, the temperature in the 60s. I felt the same sort of Christmas weird living in Florida, looking at palm trees decorated in Christmas lights, watching fat Santas run around the beach in shorts.
As a Jew, I have never celebrated the birth of Jesus, but I understand and embrace the sense of hope, change, and enlightenment that the concept of a coming of a Messiah, a savior, teaches us. But I don't believe that such altruistic realizations come about from supernatural events, but instead from a thought process individually capsulized within one's inner self.
Bottom line: There's room and a need for improvement in our lives. Mankind (if that term is still politically correct) is supposed to evolve not only in a technical sense in terms of production and living standards, but morally in our interactions with one another and our own inner makeup.
Whether it's through one's religion, philosophical virtues, or a personal code of moral conduct, the concept of Christmas fits all. It's about the evolution of a better inner and outer world for the inhabitants of our planet. I believe wholly in that concept.
As a young man who chose to come back to live in my Bedford Falls in Monticello in upstate New York, I used to watch the Christmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life" and take away a message that greatness can be achieved growing up and making your life in a small town (and sadly realize that there's never true escape from it).
But as I have grown older, and maybe wiser and more thoughtful, I learned that there was a more important message to glean from the interaction of George Bailey and his guardian angel Clarence.
We are all prisoners of our doubts and our evolving regrets that shape our continuing lives and destiny.
And once in a while, like in the movie, we need a knock in the head or even a moment of solitude in a winter storm, to come to frame the proper perspective of our time on earth.
Christmas is good time to do so.
It's true that Christmas has become too commercialized and its meaning has been lost to many more concerned about getting gifts. But whether you celebrate Christmas Eve as a Christian, eat Chinese Food and watch a movie as an American Jew, or do whatever else you do on Christmas Eve, be thankful that you are alive, that your belly is full, your home is warm (or cool), and that we live in a great prosperous country.
More importantly, realize that the supernatural concept of a Messiah or the dictates of a Guardian angel all begin with an altruistic thought about true goodness that the human spirit can achieve and the understanding that one can achieve betterment for themselves and others around them from such innate goodwill.
Steven Kurlander is a New York Attorney and Communications Strategist who provides strategic communications and grassroots networking and marketing services to governmental, political, corporate and not-for-profit/association.
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