February 9, 2016

"She just said a terrible thing. You know what she said? Shout it out because I don’t want to — OK, you’re not allowed to say..."

"... and I never expect to hear that from you again. She said — I never expect to hear that from you again! — she said he’s a pussy. That’s terrible. Terrible."



For the annals of saying something without saying it. But he said it! No, he didn't. It's the old use-mention distinction.
The use–mention distinction is a foundational concept of analytic philosophy, according to which it is necessary to make a distinction between using a word (or phrase) and mentioning it, and many philosophical works have been "vitiated by a failure to distinguish use and mention."
Trump even chided the woman... and yet, the chiding was comical. The man who normally denounces political correctness — who says we haven't got time for political correctness —  is scolding a lady for saying Ted Cruz is a "pussy."

So, he got the word out, got his distance from it, displayed some comic chops, and reminded us that political correctness isn't something to be completely thrown out. You transgress it strategically, and you call it back strategically. Keep them guessing. He wants to be unpredictable.

ADDED: Clint Eastwood calls a kid a "pussy" to "man him up a little bit":

30 comments:

rhhardin said...

Unfortunately for analytic philosophy, use-mention doesn't work out. There are literary effects for instance. My own favorite example is

This sentence has three a's, one b, two c's, two d's, thirty six e's, three f's, three g's, eleven h's, nine i's, one j, one k, three l's, one m, eighteen n's, twelve o's, one p, one q, eight r's, twenty six s's, twenty t's, two u's, five v's, seven w's, three x's, four y's, and one z.

Use or mention? "a's" is obviously mentioned but what about "three"? Its letters are counted, so it's mention; but three is also the correct count, so it's use.

John said...

Why is pussy bad?

I've always understood it to refer to a pussycat. As in he's a real pussycat. Or fraidycat.

Not ladyparts. That just makes no sense.

Too many people have their minds in the gutter.

John Henry

rhhardin said...

Pussy refers to the cat. Cruz is a cunt is the alternative, which is more or a Britishism and does not indicate weakness.

I'd go for Cruz is a beaver.

Shouting Thomas said...

You are beginning to see that the barbarians are at the gate, prof?

When will you renounce your role in the pussification and faggotization of men? When will you renounce the idiot religion of feminism?

Will there be an apology? An attempt to ameliorate the damage?

Lead the way, prof.

(Perhaps you already are.)

rhhardin said...

If you're doing deep philosophical thought, going down through the turtles, you usually stop where you manage to both use and mention a term. That makes it impossible to think through, and it seems like a solid bottom.

You can explain consciousness when you get to the brain being programmed, which stands in for writing, which covertly imports language, and seems to be a bottom, unless you notice the trick. The trick then becomes more interesting than the original problem.

Brando said...

I'm just wondering what Trump will have to do to get attention by this summer. It's only February and he's already calling Cruz a pussy.

Ann Althouse said...

"Use or mention? "a's" is obviously mentioned but what about "three"? Its letters are counted, so it's mention; but three is also the correct count, so it's use."

Why does it have to be one or the other? "Mention" is used to get off the hook for something sometimes. That escape only works if you didn't also use it. I don't see why you're even intrigued by the trick of finding a way to use and to mention at the same time. The point is to claim that you've ONLY mentioned a word. If you haven't, you're still on the hook.

Virgil Hilts said...

Occasionally writers get accused of using their morally bad characters to say things that no one else can or should say. I remember that All in the Family was accused of this. Archie Bunker would say all sorts of racist, intolerable crap, which was OK because he was a baffoon, but a lot of people were laughing with Archie not at him. Fun to watch what they could get away with airing 40 years ago: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81989600/

rhhardin said...

Why does it have to be one or the other?

Because of analytic philosophy.

Mention brings in literary effects, which are lit crit and not analytic at all.

Favorite bottoming out:

When there was as yet no shrub of the field upon earth, and as yet no grasses of the field had sprouted, because Yahweh had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the soil, but a flow welled up from the ground and watered the whole surface of the earth, then Yahweh molded Adam from the earth's dust, and blew into the nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living being.

Who can think back past the literary effect "blew the breath of life" accounting for Adam's living and the literary effect happening to you at the same time, which is more or less you living.

You can spot the trick but can't avoid feeling it.

rich hahn said...

I looked it up and pussy, in this context, means a weak and timid man or boy. I just used it to describe VA Representative Randy Forbes. My new favorite word to describe a male politician.

rhhardin said...

Trump wants you to think of Cruz as a woman, a cross-dresser. His mention brings in a literary effect.

So mention doesn't get you out of blame.

How is he using mention?

rhhardin said...

L mentio, calling to mind.

David Begley said...

Did Trump learn this at Wharton? He's really smart, you know?

traditionalguy said...

Season 2 of THE WORD POLICE LAW AND ORDER vs. Politically Incorrect Trump .

The TV guys now bleep his words out every time to prove the word is so bad that it breaks their equipment. But no one gets to know what the word was.

IMO Trump has extra glee adding in more Vulgar Bad Words to expose a certain New York City hating Southern Baptist Vice Protector Tyrant named Cruz who is too much a pussy to use real words.

wendybar said...

Ralph Peters got suspended from Fox News for calling Obama a pussy...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfzSlldIUHQ

Char Char Binks said...

The only funny scene in Gran Torino is Clint singing the theme song at the end after his character died.

Meade said...

crush puss, bro (NSFW)

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, no, we're being totally victimized!!!

dmoelling said...

It's the best Trump can do. No wonder he doesn't have any repeat business partners.

Beldar said...

"Displayed some comic chops?"

No. It wasn't funny, if you're more than seven years old.

poker1one said...

Get a life Beldar and a sense of humor. What Trump did is part of his standard campaign speech, riffing on the fact that he didn't chastise an audience member, way back in Rochester, N.H., who stated that Obama was a muslim. Now Trump hears a lot of shout outs during his campaign events and picks some to declare, "I have to admonish you for that," which is a return to the press (pussies) outrage that Trump didn't object to the muslim crack.

The interesting thing about all this is how the media, and this includes Althouse, make issues without much knowledge of the...um, err, issue.

Katie Couric did this and now she's a Yahoo! employee, what a move, career wise.

Comment Whiz said...

Those who feign outrage now are the same ones who sat with their family and laughed at the ribaldry of "Seinfeld" on prime time national TV.

eric said...

Trump knows how to work a crowd. He also knows how to handle the blowback afterword.

I'd say he is doing yoemans work by showing future politicians how to handle these things.

David said...

Apparently Trump is proving quite good at engaging audiences in smaller settings with a Q&A conversational format. He's funny, warm and sometimes (get this!) self-effacing.

Can you think of any other candidates that can pull this off? Maybe Bernie, but that's it.

Original Mike said...

I like Eastwood but that clip did not make me want to see the movie.

rhhardin said...

Call it pussygate.

rhhardin said...

Pousse y gâte, pousse y gâte,
Er Arabe, yeux bine?

J. Farmer said...

Oh man, I am generally a fan of Eastwood's works as a director, but Gran Torino was just awful. The choice to use amateur Hmong citizens in place of experienced actors was a mistake. And the writing was as subtle as a knee to the groin.

The Godfather said...

It's interesting that the networks bleeped out "pussy" but "crap" now seems to be acceptable. In my salad days, neither word would have been permitted in "polite company". I grant that neither word is in Lenny Bruce's (or George Carlin's) list of forbidden words. Still, I would prefer to have a president who doesn't say "fuck" in public, although I would tolerate his/her saying that rather than fucking up the country as the present president has been doing, and as candidates Clinton and Sanders promise to do.

Scott said...

Strange how the networks are falling all over themselves to bleep the word, making Trump look bad. Not too long ago when the group Pussy-Riot was jailed in Russia, they had no such compunction.