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Jan 25, 2021

The Insults Are In and A Winner Declared!

How the preceding reign of terror could have been avoided

By Ed Goldman

Many years, homes, pounds and non-elective surgical procedures ago, I overheard two four-year-old boys arguing in the driveway I shared with my neighbor. 

One called the other a “poo-poo-head,” which was unimaginative but had a ring of clarity. The other hesitated, probably looked around and then said, “Oh yeah? Well you’re a piece of…of SIDEWALK!” This made the other explode in tears­—and I imagine later kept him from pursuing a degree in civil engineering.

Edgy Cartoon

Fred and Ed, Together Again

Insult humor probably goes as far back as anamneses, the first quasi-humans. They lived around four million years ago, give or take a week.  I don’t want to speculate on the subject matter but I suspect their wit leaned less toward Oscar Wilde and more toward (how to put this?) waste management. And the flinging of same.  

I’ve been thinking about insults lately. I receive my fair share of them for my writing and (how to put this?) my being alive. I’m not sure why I say “fair share” since I don’t really believe there’s a celestial ledger that keeps track of insults, and a winged clerk who assigns them. On the other hand, maybe there is. I’m a confirmed rag-nostic. 

Well, now that some of the dust has cleared, arrests have been made and my Medal of Freedom is apparently lost forever in the mail, I have to ask the leaders of the Democratic Party (my party) why they (we) didn’t use the former president’s ignorance, stupidity and insult rhetoric against him every time he said something equally insane and inane.

For just as former President Trump (The Man Who Would Be Torquemada) gave apparently scathing nicknames to his political opponents—Little Marco, Lazy Jeb, Pocahontas, Sleepy Joe—why didn’t anyone fight back on the same subterranean level and call him the one thing guaranteed to have made him blow a fuse, thereby igniting the epoxy that holds that ginger throw-rug in place?

Dumb Donald.

Do you recall Trump’s reaction during the one-and-only, one-on-one “debate” he and Joe Biden had, when Biden said Trump needed to be “smarter” about his response to the coronavirus? Turning more florid than usual, Trump snapped, “Don’t ever use the word ‘smart’ with me. You’re not smart, Joe.” Since Biden is what clinical psychologists often refer to as “an adult,” the exchange didn’t proceed like this:

BIDEN: Am too smart.

BOZO: Nuh-uh. I am but you’re not.

I’m telling you, friends, “Dumb Donald” would have been an infallible trigger. It even might have provoked Trump to reveal his insanity at an earlier date and a timelier invoking of the 25thAmendment. For those of you not up on your Constitution, that section declares that “the President’s Cabinet may remove him from office if a simply plurality of its members, who have yet to dive over the rail of the Ship of State, feel that the President’s brain is rice pudding.”

For all we know, world leaders were referring to Trump as Dumb Donald all the time, using the camouflage of a different language to escape detection. 

The adorably huggable mass-murdering North Korean President Kim Jong-un managed to get his translator to use “dotard” to characterize Trump but that implies senility more than innate imbecility. For younger readers and Lifelong Learners, this is how the word “dumb” looks in Korean: 우둔한.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the bare-chested mass-murdering President of Russia, another seeming pal of Dumb Donald, could have said anything to him and Trump wouldn’t have understood. This is how the word “dumb” looks in Russian: глупый.

Then there’s French President Emmanuel Macron. The French word for “dumb” is “débile.” But because Macron is multilingual, he could have called Trump just about anything and still made it sound charming. Even “a piece of sidewalk.” 

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).