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Utopia Talk / Politics / TDS explained (non-trolling)
Thu Nov 28 09:33:42
We make fun of tumbleweed pretty hard here for his inability to comprehend when Trump is being humorous, but he's hardly the only person who suffers from this condition. If you are hostile Trump, it actually warps your perception of him so much that you lose the ability to accurately parse the intent behind anything he says.

(apologies for using an establishment fake news site)


Trump Pokes Fun at Himself. Why Do Only Some People See It?

His self-aware sense of humor is a powerful weapon. If you can spot the joke.


November 09, 2019

There’s a common conception, among foes of Donald Trump, that the 45th president tweets every day in a kind of fevered state: alone by his bedroom TV set, wrapped in a smoking jacket or maybe a satin Snuggie, typing in fits of narcissism, defensiveness and self-aggrandizement. And maybe that is his mood, much of the time. It certainly has been for most of this past week, as the president took to Twitter to attack the “degenerate Washington Post” and the “Impeachment Hoax”—and to drum up votes for “very loyal” Sean Spicer on Dancing with the Stars.

But if you’re paying as much attention to all of his tweets, not just his angry, appalling and self-serving ones, you'll find some striking moments when Trump isn’t just raging outward, but making fun of himself—even showing a wry acceptance of the caricatures favored by the left. He has challenged his followers to find the secret meaning behind his famed “covfefe” accidental tweet. He’s made light of the notion that he would seek a third term, joking about leaving office “in six years, or maybe 10 or 14 (just kidding).” In August, as he was floating the purchase of a certain Danish territory, he tweeted a picture of a gold-plated Trump hotel photoshopped onto a craggy shore, along with the words, “I promise not to do this to Greenland!” He makes cracks about himself in person, too; at a rally in Louisiana this week, he poked fun at the rambling rhetoric that sometimes gets him into trouble: “I do my best work off script. ... I also do my worst work off script.”

These were genuine, self-aware, sometimes even self-deprecating jokes—if you were in the mindset to receive them. Of course, many Trump opponents aren’t. And given his impeachment-triggering behavior and his penchant for crossing the lines of decency, it’s no surprise that many find Trump to be no laughing matter, or have trouble finding lighthearted spots in an ongoing stream of hyperbole and bile. One New York Times column called his “A Presidency Without Humor.” Comedy writer Nell Scovell, who has written jokes for David Letterman and Barack Obama, once declared that if Trump does have a sense of humor, it’s confined to the instances when he “clearly chuckles at the misfortune of others.”

But Trump’s winking stance, jarring and inconsonant though it may be with the rest of liberals’ conception of him, is one of the essential, even primal ways the president keeps his base on board, laughing along. For Trump and his defenders, a little gentle self-mocking does more than just warm up a room. It can neutralize his opponents’ attacks. And it can let Trump off the hook even when he probably isn’t joking, as when Marco Rubio argued last month that Trump was only kidding when he declared that China should investigate Hunter Biden.

But it’s most powerful when it makes his supporters feel that they’re in on Trump’s jokes in a way the establishment isn’t. In a sense, this effect is an extension of the 2016 campaign formulation, likely coined by GOP strategist Brad Todd and popularized by Peter Thiel, that Trump’s supporters “take him seriously, but not literally.” Because Trump’s fans take him seriously, they recognize when he isn’t being serious, and laugh when his opponents miss the joke. In the same way “Fox and Friends” can make viewers feel as if they’re part of a knowing club, Trump’s jokes give his supporters a way to feel superior to the elites, to mock what they see as a humorless and predictable political establishment. After Trump’s Greenland tweet, one fan on Twitter captured that feeling: “I can picture President Trump sitting in the OVAL, after a productive day, chuckling as he tweets to trigger the left. BEST POTUS EVER!”

This split-screen reaction to Trump’s jokes—fans seeing a twinkle in his eye, opponents seeing creeping authoritarianism—happens offline, too. At a veterans’ event in Louisville, Ky., last August, Trump joked about wanting to give himself the Medal of Honor: “I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify,” he said of his aides. “I said, ‘Can I give it to myself anyway?’ They said, ‘I don’t think that's a good idea.” His foes freaked out, and some news outlets covered the crack as if it were a serious statement. But as the Louisville Courier-Journal reported from the scene, “Trump was smiling as he said it, and the crowd laughed.”

Throughout history, most presidents have displayed moments of wit—it’s part of the charisma required to hold the job—but few have tried as much as Trump to maintain a comic presence. In part, that’s because he holds so many performative, campaign-style rallies, where he revels in the crowd’s reaction. In part, it’s because he communicates so much on Twitter, a platform overloaded with amateur comedians, lobbing their best one-liners into the void.

On Twitter and beyond, Trump is best known for insult comedy, and for his tendency to pick demeaning names for his opponents. (The latest, for obvious reasons, is “Shifty Schiff”—which isn’t as clever as some of his opponents’ nicknames for him, like “Prima Donald” and “Cheetolini.”) Some would say it’s not comedy at all; most would at least agree that’s it’s on the less sophisticated end of the president’s humor attempts.

But even on days when he’s under attack, he often finds ways to slip in notes of self-awareness, sometimes accompanied by a built-in commentary on the political environment. In a recent news conference with the president of FIFA, he joked about wanting to “extend my second term” until the United States hosts the World Cup in 2026, then turned to the press and quipped, “I don’t think any of you would have a problem with that.” On the day of a contentious meeting with congressional Democrats, as the impeachment inquiry accelerated, Trump posted a photo of a frowning Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Steny Hoyer, accompanied by one line: “Do you think they like me?”

To be sure, Trump is not the first president to enjoy a little self-parody. But as with all aspects of his messaging, he prefers to do it on his own terms. Obama had an arsenal of dad jokes and good timing at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; George W. Bush poked fun at his own malapropisms, even calling a White House meeting the “Strategery Meeting” after a “Saturday Night Live” joke. Trump, on the other hand, has griped about SNL impressions and skips the correspondents’ dinner entirely. If anyone pokes fun at Trump, it’s going to be Trump.

Self-mocking humor is riskier and harder to pull off than insult comedy—it requires better timing, more wit and a base of shared information between the teller and the audience. But it has also been a staple of American politics, says Gil Greengross, an evolutionary psychologist at Aberystwyth University in Wales who has studied self-deprecating humor. Greengross’ favorite example comes from Abraham Lincoln, who once, accused of being two-faced, shot back, “I leave it to you: If I had two faces, would I use this one?”

For a politician, self-deprecating humor serves some distinct purposes, says Frank McAndrew, a professor at Knox College in Illinois, who studies the psychology of social situations. Self-mocking is an icebreaker, a way to shrink the distance between a powerful politician and the general public, to give the impression that you’re approachable, despite your exalted address. It’s also a way to offset your foes’ most cutting attacks. McAndrew points to Ronald Reagan’s famous quip, in a 1984 presidential debate against Walter Mondale, in response to a question about his age. Reagan promised to not make a campaign issue out of “my opponent’s youth and inexperience”—a line that at once acknowledged Reagan’s major campaign weakness and neutralized the subject for the night.

With a self-deprecating joke, McAndrew says, “You lead with the thing they were going to trap you with. It takes away their ammunition.” Seen that way, Trump’s joke about the Medal of Honor, told to a room of veterans, was a kind of preemptive strike. A man who had never served in the military was making light of his weakness before an audience of people more deserving—neutralizing a line of critique that someone in the room could have raised.

But the power of self-deprecating humor goes even deeper, Greengross contends: You could actually credit it with helping to perpetuate the species. He points, as explanation, to a peacock. Females are drawn to males with vivid, symmetrical tail feathers, he says, because, on a biological level, a beautiful tail takes a lot of energy to produce. If a peacock with top-notch feathers can be healthy anyway, in spite of trading away some precious physical resources, he’s got to be especially strong; a catch. In the same way, a famous quarterback can afford to mock himself on TV; he has such an abundance of cool that he can afford to give some of it away.

In evolutionary psychology, Greengross says, this idea is known as the “costly signaling theory” or “handicap principle.” If someone with high status is able to thrive in spite of highlighting a weakness, he’s actually displaying strength. According to this principle, a joke from Trump about his political rivals’ hatred of him conveys more than a sense of humor. It also underlines the fact that Trump has become president while facing down deep hostility—and is now in a strong enough position that he can joke about it.

A decade ago, Greengross conducted a study at the University of New Mexico, where he worked at the time, to test whether self-deprecating humor fit the “costly signaling” framework. Participants listened to audio recordings of people repeating stand-up comedy routines. Some of the joke-tellers were identified as having high status in society; some were described as low-status. Some of the routines were self-deprecating; some were full of put-downs of others. Then, participants were asked to rate the comics on various measures of attractiveness, from intelligence and presumed physical allure to potential as a sexual partner. The study’s subjects consistently ranked the people who used self-deprecating humor as more attractive—but only if they were also described as having high status. If a teller was seen as weak, the act of putting himself down just reminded the audience of his weaknesses.

This is what happens to Trump, it’s clear, when he drops his self-aware jokes on an unwilling audience. In September, for instance, Trump tweeted what seemed like a winking reference to his much-maligned description of himself as a “very stable genius”—followed by a cryptic “Thank you!” It was clear, from the volume of “Mr. Ed” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” memes in the responses, that while some people were laughing with him, a lot were laughing at him.

Evolution might also give a reason, beyond some kind of innate humorlessness or “Trump derangement syndrome,” that Trump’s opponents aren’t inclined to laugh him off. Yes, liberals see Trump as dangerous, which makes them more likely to take his jokes about thwarting democracy at face value. But they also see him as low-status—undeserving of the presidency— so his jokes about himself only confirm their low opinion. He thinks of himself as a peacock; they think of him as a turkey.

In front of a friendly crowd, though, Trump is free to unleash his self-mocking self, knowing he’ll get the reaction he wants—provided the subject is right. It’s notable, after all, that Trump’s moments of self-aware humor tend to stem from subjects where he feels on top: his ability to plop a Trump hotel in any location; his ability to win an improbable election; his ability to grab attention with a single, well-placed tweet. These are areas where he can afford to take himself down a notch, and revel in the roars of his supporters.

Wrath of Orion
Thu Nov 28 09:58:09
At least Rugian is still finding new ways to support Trump. Gotta give the little guy credit for his dedication.
large member
Thu Nov 28 09:59:06
Ah, the 3 dimensional chess argument.
Thu Nov 28 10:01:15
Thu Nov 28 10:02:55

Firstly, it's 4D.

And secondly, this isn't a conscious move on the part of the president. He didn't decide to make a bunch of butthurt American and Euro leftists reeeeeeeeeee out at everything he says.
the wanderer
Thu Nov 28 11:50:42
his supposed jokes aren't what make him a totally unfit piece of shit

plus many of what his fans dismiss as jokes weren't jokes

Thu Nov 28 15:01:19
Trump himself is the joke, I have to laugh whenever the idiot opens his mouth. I hope he gets 4 more years. Can you even imagine his mental state in a few more years? Brain-dead USA.
Thu Nov 28 15:19:43

You want to talk about walking jokes? Your chancellor thinks she runs Europe and the way to make Germany great again is by turning it into a Turkish colony. Shut the fuck up.
Thu Nov 28 15:21:04

And yet you constantly come on here and claim that things Trump said in a clearly humorous manner are proof of his unfitness. Stop pretending like you understand the man, you dont.
Thu Nov 28 19:21:29
The left has lost their sense of humor, this is why trump will win his reelection. Every candidate on the left lacks any semblance of charisma or personality. The average voter will have zero enthusiasm to vote for them and will either stay home or vote for trump.
the wanderer
Thu Nov 28 21:22:35
If i 'constantly' do it, then cite 3 or more examples of me saying a joke made him unfit for office
Fri Nov 29 00:30:45
"He didn't decide to make a bunch of butthurt American and Euro leftists reeeeeeeeeee out at everything he says."

That is exactly his strategy. And it works.
Fri Nov 29 01:10:32
I don't think his rocky picture was intended for the TWs of the world to reeeee about it like they did.
the wanderer
Fri Nov 29 02:12:08
it was intended for a lil boy prez who probably smiled big as he ate his happy meal then told an adult to post it on his twitter
Fri Nov 29 09:12:18
Tw unironically proves OPs thesis to be correct.
Fri Nov 29 09:18:09
the wanderer Thu Nov 28 21:22:35
"If i 'constantly' do it, then cite 3 or more examples of me saying a joke made him unfit for office"

Hell, let's just use some of the examples that the OP provided:


On Greenland:

the wanderer Fri Aug 16 12:27:39
perhaps he wants it to play up the benefits of climate change

or the childish moron saw the recent stories about the massive amounts of melting there & thought no one else would notice

the wanderer Thu Aug 22 10:53:36
is expecting a President to behave like an adult unfair? of course Trump can't do it, but doesn't make it ok


On the Medal of Honor:

the wanderer Thu Aug 22 11:04:47
because he did... there's no doubt he wants one, do you doubt that part? whether he asked is unknown

recall he took a Purple Heart from a deluded fan during campaign... no indication he said 'no no no, that's ridiculous, you keep it... in my pampered life i've never even had a non-combat injury' only that he asked if it was real or a copy.


On Term Extensions:

the wanderer Thu Jul 11 11:41:22
heaps of crazy shit:

A big subject today at the White House Social Media Summit will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies. We will not let them get away with it much longer. The Fake News Media will also be there, but for a limited period..

...The Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media. They have lost tremendous credibility since that day in November, 2016, that I came down the escalator with the person who was to become your future First Lady. When I ultimately leave office in six...

...years, or maybe 10 or 14 (just kidding), they will quickly go out of business for lack of credibility, or approval, from the public. That’s why they will all be Endorsing me at some point, one way or the other. Could you imagine having Sleepy Joe Biden, or Alfred E. Newman...

...or a very nervous and skinny version of Pocahontas (1/1024th), as your President, rather than what you have now, so great looking and smart, a true Stable Genius! Sorry to say that even Social Media would be driven out of business along with, and finally, the Fake News Media!

wow... he deserves 25th Amendment'd on that tweet series only

a shame 'fake media' won't cover the whole social media summit as i'm sure his ignorant ass will make a fool of himself every time he speaks
Fri Nov 29 09:48:13
Rugian doing the lords work I am far to lazy to do.
the wanderer
Fri Nov 29 11:55:35
on Greenland...

i was commenting on his desire to buy Greenland (w/o ever consulting anyone)... not the stupid photoshop. so wasn't about the joke, & i didn't cite it as a reason he was unfit for office


on the Medal of Honor...

i maintain he wasn't joking, & bet he did ask if he could get one


on Term Extensions...

my comment there had nothing to do w/ his 10 to 14 year claim (although he is NOT joking about wanting more than his 4 year term, he has repeatedly said he should be given extra time because of the 'russia hoax' - which a report will soon conclude was not a hoax at all as was obvious, plus will go against all of his false claims... not that Fox News will notice, they'll focus on the lawyer editing the Carter 'a noboy' Page email as if it proves Trump right on something, even though i believe it will still say the FISA on Page still warranted... & again he was a nobody who already left campaign, so OBVIOUSLY was not a means to corruptly monitor Trump as has been known from the start........)

Trump's 'social media summit' was an embarrassing joke of almost exclusively trolls & idiots... & his damage to the media will be long-lasting (turning the idea of bias to flat out hatred of 'fake' news using 'made-up' sources)

recall HR disbelieved every negative Trump story reflexively, Trump didn't even have to deny... plus whatever is going on w/ kargen where he doesn't even think Ukraine aid was put on hold

jeering the media is a staple of his rallies, it's disgusting

so your only semi-accurate example is the Medal of Honor where we disagree on whether he was joking, plus i didn't cite it as a reason he's unfit

now defend him asking the president of Ukraine to investigate Crowdstrike... then defend him still having those beliefs months after everyone in the world knew he had those stupid easily disproven notions

that's one of the multitude of reasons he's unfit
the wanderer
Fri Nov 29 11:56:36
'noboy' = 'nobody'
Fri Nov 29 12:01:29
Tw, you asked for examples, you were given examples, shut the fuck up now.
the wanderer
Fri Nov 29 12:04:05
2 of the examples don't apply, & 1 is debatable as to joke & still not applicable to me calling him unfit

so 3 failures


...and along w/ your defense [that won't happen], you can also [not] include why he mentioned nothing of substance on either call w/ Zelensky, clearly NOTHING he talked about was from the material prepared for him by intelligent professionals like Fiona Hill which he almost certainly never even looked at
the wanderer
Fri Nov 29 12:08:25
and for Greenland let's also recall his petty childish Denmark trip cancellation after his feelings so hurt by the prime minister saying his idea was absurd

so, along w/ Zelensky, yet another example of him failing miserably at his job duties... take note, kargen, if able
Fri Nov 29 23:02:51
How come Rugian types so much and always ends up saying nothing of substance?
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