Trump, the Scandalist

I once read that one meaning of scandal, lost in English but retained in some other languages, is roughly “uproar in the theater”. This might be due to star feuds or controversial staging or slipshod performance or messy personal lives of stars or other aspects of show business. This is still the primary meaning in Polish where skandale are usually about entertainment. (cases of government incompetence or malfeasance receive the name afera (affair)).

One derivative of this usage is the term skandalista, which refers to someone who builds a career in entertainment by pushing boundaries of taste and excess and pulling the public’s chain. There may or may not be talent there too but the foundation is not talent (except for generating publicity). I can’t think of an especially good equivalent in (American) English. Madonna is a scandalistka (feminine form) but I’ve never heard her described as a type beyond ‘controversial’….

This describes Trump to a T and once I have the word at my disposal (anglicized as scandalist) I understand why why resistance to him is so misguided and doomed to fail. He has a talent for turning American scandal into theatrical skandal. He doesn’t care if he’s getting bad publicity, he thrives on it and only emerges stronger from it.

His natural milieu is the rough and tumble world of high stakes business so of course he’s never going to walk away form a fight.

If I wanted to plan effective resistance to Trump it would revolve around calm and rational dialogue with no hint of hysteria or confrontation. It would be impersonal and bureaucratic and would not respond to anything outrageous he does or says. You don’t finish a scandalist by confontation, you finish them by making them boring to their target audience….

I don’t expect anyone to follow this advice, ineffective carrying on is much more satisfying at the personal level than is actually getting something done (which relies on steady plodding more than grandstanding).

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2 Responses to Trump, the Scandalist

  1. Clarissa says:

    The enjoyment that Trump’s behavior clearly causes to the “resisters” is that I see no likelihood of them giving it up. They are hopelessly addicted.

  2. Z says:

    Skandalista, I like the word!

    Ineffective carrying on is SO boring, and I have spent half my life trying to learn, or accept, or understand that most people prefer it. This is so odd to me.

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