Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Melania Trump's plagiarism and Ersatz politics . . .

Is anyone surprised at Melania Trump's plagiarism of a Michelle Obama's speech?

It was a painful speech to watch. Besides Melania's strange, eerie, almost robotic manner, everything she said seemed forced and empty. Let's not forget that Michelle Obama is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University and, of course, Harvard Law School. She is also a life-long activist, starting notably with her involvement in the Carl A. Fields Center at Princeton. To hear Melania Trump steal Obama's speech is pure farce. Melania Trump, on the other hand, is a model who dropped out of her first year of college who represents little but ostentatious wealth, a wealth that she has because of her marriage to a mean-spirited, racist whose only activism is the effort to make himself richer and more powerful.

To be fair, I suspect that Melania Trump is not directly responsible for the plagiarism of Obama's speech. Mrs. Trump is probably not bright enough to even be aware of Obama's words, let alone steal them. It was probably one of the speech writers who, like some college freshman, thought by changing a word or two here and there he/she would technically not be guilty of plagiarism.

But putting the words of an accomplished woman like Michelle Obama into the mouth of a rich, awkward woman like Melania Trump, is indicative of the entire Trump phenomenon. The Trumps are an empty mockery of everything we should value. There is no content here, only a vacuous self-aggrandizement, a kind of ersatz politics which attempts to take rhetoric devoid of real meaning and turn it into an empty political victory without real goals. It is like something out of a Sinclair Lewis novel. Trump is like Elmer Gantry without the style, craftiness, or charisma.

People without insights of their own are compelled to steal the thoughts of others. And if your only goal is to make yourself richer and/or more powerful then the only content and meaning of your words is the raw ambition which motivates them.

There is no question of plagiarism here; it is too blatant and obvious and is there for everyone to see. It makes sense though. If you are not that smart yourself, if you have no actual accomplishments to build upon, it makes sense to pattern yourself on someone who has the smarts and/or the dedication to actually do something.


Owen Gray said...

The Gantry parallel goes directly to the point, Kirby. Gantry stopped selling vacuum cleaners and started selling salvation -- a phony salvation.

John B. said...

Beginning with Limbaugh, the breed of snake-oil hucksters that the Republicans have come to depend upon for promotion of their messages has always reminded me more of Lonesome Rhodes than Gantry. I once heard that Limbaugh first developed his act as a comedy routine but decided to go along with the audience he had attracted when he realized that it was taking him seriously.

Kirby Evans said...

@ John B. Thanks for the comment. The Lonesome Rhodes reference is a very good point that I hadn't thought of.