[KB] The Trumpster's Burlesque, etc.

Edward C Appel edwardcappel at frontier.com
Mon Oct 31 14:16:41 EDT 2016


	On the Trump/burlesque/lack-of-empathy theme, I noticed after the Al Smith Banquet in New York, Trump walked out at the end without much glad-handing of the attendees who came up to meet the candidate/speakers.  I think I read that this is characteristic of Trump.

	Hillary, on the other hand, as is her custom, greeted and talked to just about everybody she  could. On C-Span especially, that routine of hers is followed again and again.

	Trump’s corresponding narcissism knows no bounds. On one of her shows last week, Rachel Maddow showed a clip of Trump talking about his days at the Military Academy as a teenager. Trump was, he said, the “best baseball player in New York.” He was also the best in his school at wrestling and football. Asked why he didn’t follow up with a go at baseball after graduation, Trump replied that baseball wasn’t much of thing back then.

	Really? In the age of Mantle, Maris, and Mays?


	Good point on Trump’s  ridicule of the handicapped journalist as a burlesque act. Hadn’t thought of it.  I say in my Limbaugh study, in summary, “To get at the essence of what burlesque is, one might call it absurd, hilarious, even brutal exaggeration or ‘amplification’ of linguistic/dramatic forms.” The “brutal” aspect comes front and center in that ad you speak of.

	And speaking of burlesque “exaggeration,” here’s what Trump says in his book,The Art of the Deal---he called it at one rally next in importance to the Bible:

	“’The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts---people want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.

	“’I call it truthful [!] hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration---and a very effective form of promotion.’”

	Quoted in the Puskar piece I’ve already referenced.

	Hence, the question, what really are the actual motives and attitudes undergirding Trump’s burlesque-now-possibly-turned-tragic-frame “act”? Saturday, on the Joy Reed show (MSNBC), Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio said, “There’s a lot of role playing going on here.” How do we then separate, even if we could, the play-actor from the psychologically-driven narcissist, with patent dilusions of grandeur?


On Sat, 10/29/16, Phillip Tompkins <tompkinp at Colorado.EDU> wrote:

 Subject: RE: [KB] The Trumpster's Burlesque, etc.
 To: wessr at oregonstate.edu, "'Edward C Appel'" <edwardcappel at frontier.com>
 Cc: kb at kbjournal.org
 Date: Saturday, October 29, 2016, 7:01 PM
 Consistent with these
 ideas of burlesque is Trump's tasteless imitation of
 journalist with palsy.  There is a
 campaign television ad being shown in
 Colorado in which a man with palsy in a wheel
 chair watches the video and
 expresses his
 sense of violation by Trump.
 -----Original Message-----
 From: KB [mailto:kb-bounces at kbjournal.org]
 On Behalf Of
 wessr at oregonstate.edu
 Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2016 10:40 AM
 To: Edward C Appel
 Cc: kb at kbjournal.org
 Subject: Re: [KB] The Trumpster's
 Burlesque, etc.
 Ed, I
 don't know anything about the next KBS conference.
 You're right, I'm sure
 there is good stuff out there but coming from English
 I always had to give speech scholarship lower
 priority and now in retirement
 I read mainly
 philosophy. But I do usually try to catch up on some things
 missed in the weeks before a KBS
 Another thought
 occurred to me about Trump and burlesque. One of the
 Burke stresses about burlesque is
 that it helps to put painful things at a
 distance. Burlesque protects by not imagining
 people "with too great
 intimacy. For to
 picture them intimately, he must be one with them"
 53). Possibly there is a Trump variant
 derived from his personality
 because of his lack of empathy he can't "be
 one" with anyone. He
 burlesques everyone by carrying himself in a way that
 them at a lower level, distant from his
 heights, doing it easily because he
 is never
 in the shoes of the other, imaging how it feels. Such things
 derogatory nicknames for his rivals come
 Just a
 Quoting Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com>:
 > Bob,
 Yes, I'm willing to participate in a panel at KB on
 Trump's rhetoric, 
 > or on the
 rhetoric, in general, of this painful political season.  I
 > imagine every convention or conference
 in the communication field, at 
 > least,
 will feature such panels over the next year or two.
 > As for whether my scheme fits into
 Burke's "poetic categories": Note 
 > my citations in the attachment.
 There've been even more studies on the 
 > burlesque frame in communication since
 > And outside of academic journals,
 lots of articles on Trump's rhetoric 
 > have appeared, from David Denby's
 eloquent put-down in The New 
 Yorker,"The Plot Against America: Donald Trump's
 Rhetoric," to 
 > eulogistic studies,
 like, "Donald Trump May Sound Like a Clown, But He 
 > Is a Rhetorical Pro Like Cicero," by
 Gene J. Puskar on 
 > ThinkProgress.org,
 and "The Rhetorical Brilliance of Trump the 
 > Demagogue," by Jennifer Mercieca on a
 website named Conversation.com. 
 Mercieca is a communication scholar at Texas A&M, but
 the website is 
 > not a journal. Another
 positive take on Trump's rhetorical skills is, 
 > "What Hillary Clinton Can Learn from
 Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump," 
 by Marshall Ganz and Hahrie (sp?} Han in The Nation. I
 > mentioned Fershtman's
 article. There are, of course, others.
 By the way, do we know yet where the next Burke Conference
 will be 
 > held? Last I heard, it might
 be in PA.
 > Thanks again, Bob, for
 reading and responding.
 > Ed
 >  On Thursday,
 October 27, 2016 3:10 PM, Edward C Appel 
 > <edwardcappel at frontier.com>
 >  Bob,
 > I'll think
 about the "paper" business. I have two other
 studies ready 
 > to go for the next KB.
 Can't present three.
 > Then, again,
 on my likely appearance at the coming conference, I have 
 > to intone, at my stage in life :Lord
 willing---if I am permitted such 
 > an
 obscurantist reference on an academic listserve!
    On Thursday, October 27, 2016 2:03 PM,
 "wessr at oregonstate.edu" 
 > <wessr at oregonstate.edu>
 >  Ed, thanks for your attachment.
 > You might consider
 turning it into a paper for the next KBS conference 
 > to see if Trump provides material to flesh
 out your "in-between genre"
 enough to give it a place in Burke's "poetic
 categories." In this 
 > attachment,
 Trump seems simultaneously to be object and agent of 
 > Burkean burlesque--a target of your
 burlesque and himself an agent who 
 burlesques the world.
 > Bob
 > Quoting Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com>:
 > KB mailing list
 > KB at kbjournal.org
 > http://kbjournal.org/mailman/listinfo/kb_kbjournal.org
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