Close Reading: Trump’s “not” joke

Remember a few months ago when we said Combat! blog wasn’t going to be about politics anymore? That was before a cartoon character got elected president. Not the good kind of cartoon character, either—Donald Trump is like a character in one of those nineties cartoons where everyone is bored and sarcastic. He’s the guy who doesn’t move the plot forward but says what we’re all thinking, i.e. what a marketing team thinks children are thinking. In that vein, the President of the United States executed a “not” joke on Twitter yesterday:


Although he does not play the “not” joke strictly according to Hoyle, this tweet is a significant achievement. He manages to make “not!” into a Trumpian exclamation. But there’s a lot of other stuff going on, too, and that’s why this tweet is the subject of today’s Close Reading.

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Friday links! Supernatural explanations edition

We think of history as a pretty much continuous forward march of human knowledge, but it’s not as if there are a fixed number of things we are ignorant about. We know more than our medieval counterparts, sure—but can we really say that what we don’t know is any less? There’s our expanding territory of knowledge, and beyond that there is conjecture, limitless the way the space outside a picture frame is limitless. Today is Friday, and ours is a baffling universe. Won’t you comfort yourself through supernatural explanations with me?

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