OPINION: Let's make plagiarism great again
I'LL admit there's something fun about speaking like Donald Trump.
You know, the President of the United States.
There's a childlike simplicity to the language he employs - a chance for the speaker to retreat into the furthest recesses of their brain and just let fly without concern for proper grammar or karmic consequences. Bad!
Some people say Trump's style of speaking is part of an overarching communication strategy designed to appeal to the unconscious biases of the listener.
Other people - only the best people, folks - say the emperor has no clothes and the 45th President just has the vocabulary and impulse control of a five-year-old.
I'm still waiting for the evidence that will disprove the latter hypothesis.
But in the meantime, we've got politicians here at home jumping at the chance to ape his communication style every opportunity they get.
Sometimes it's harmless, like when our local MP Ken O'Dowd got up in Parliament on Thursday and egged on Labor MP Jim Chalmers to "Make Australia Great Again".
I'm pretty certain he was joking - though maybe that's because Ken doesn't strike me as the proto-fascist type.
But it gets a little less funny when Clive Palmer, mercifully the closest thing Australia has experienced to a Trump, whips up a giant billboard at Benaraby with "Make Australia Great" plastered across it, but denies he's running for office.
And when Gladstone LNP candidate Chay Conaglen, less than 48 hours into his first-ever campaign last year jumped on a minor error in another publication by calling it "fake news", it was hard to escape the conclusion he'd been chomping at the bit to employ the phrase from the start.
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher hasn't shied away from using that term on social media either.
This stuff might be done with a wink and a nod but there are real issues with borrowing from Trump's vocabulary and making it part of our everyday political discourse.
It normalises the idea that what politicians say doesn't really matter.
It implies this is all a game, and the objective is to whip up emotions and get a reaction no matter what the cost.
If our politicians insist on copying an American politician's style, I recommend Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.
Here's a sample from his Twitter feed:
"Fred and I hit a deer on hiway 136 south of Dyersville. After I pulled fender rubbing on tire we continued to farm. Assume deer dead."
Fred and I hit a deer on hiway 136 south of Dyersville. After I pulled fender rubbing on tire we continued to farm. Assume deer dead— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) October 26, 2012
There's also his ongoing, Quixotic feud against the History Channel:
"I turn to History channel frequently bc I like history. There is nevr any history unless u r an antique dealer. Change name!"
I've turned to history. Channel. Several times this wkend always Pawn Shop. No history. Change nAme of channel to no history— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) June 23, 2012
I shld not give up. Staff just notified me there is some history on History Channel So I'm watching Go there quickly— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 4, 2017
Just watched history on An American Experience abt Thomas Edison the inventor Thx Comcast on Arlington Va Channel 19 DO U GET MESSAGE HISTORY CHANNEL???— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) December 30, 2017
It's the pure id of @realDonaldTrump without the very real concern the author possesses the nuclear codes - plus a hint of country twang.
If our politicians start speaking like Chuck Grassley, I think we'll be all right.
Andrew Thorpe is a journalist at The Observer.