Every major event in history spawns its own set of words and phrases that become indelibly attached. The Vietnam War for example gave us ‘carpet bombing’, ‘napalm’, ‘agent orange’ and the ‘Viet Cong’, to name just a few. They are often emotive words or phrases that forever define the period and are archived for generations to come. Likewise the current pandemic has thrown up a lexicon of everyday words that dominate media and daily conversation.
2020 will certainly be remembered for a global virus that shook the world but also for an upheaval in American politics that could have ramifications for decades to come. Combine the two and you discover a bizarre and at times troubling world of catch phrases, hidden meaning and political jive talk. Here then is a brief ‘lexicon of lunacy’, perhaps best read if you have black hair dye running down the side of your face (metaphorically speaking that is).
Super Spreader: A person who spreads Coronavirus throughout the community, often as a failure to observe simple social distancing and masking up. In Trump’s case, the amount of butter and maple syrup he smothers on his hotcakes in the morning adding to his increasing obesity.
Super Spreader Event: A gathering where people fail to observe normal COVID prevention protocols like any get-together of the extended Trump family. Donald Trump Jnr has just tested positive and we have to ask – who will be next?
Fake News: Originally favoured by Trump to describe any adverse print or electronic media, it’s now a convenient way to dismiss anything you disagree with including the patently obvious.
Make America Rake Again: The consequence of advertising a press conference at the ‘Four Seasons’, only to reveal it’s actually a garden centre and not a five star hotel. Even worse when the garden centre is situated between an adult bookshop and a crematorium. It’s enough to make Rudy Guiliani cry tears of black hair dye.
Constitutional Rights: The right not to wear a mask during a pandemic and challenge anybody who insists you do with an automatic weapon.
“Covid, Covid, Covid!”: An exclamation often made by psychopaths and narcissists when they realise the pandemic is diverting attention from themselves.
“Stand back and stand by”: The war cry of the white supremacist Proud Boys but also an etiquette to be observed when you have just ordered in a Maccas or KFC.
“Pole Watchers”: Whoops they really meant “poll watchers” but that’s the kind of spelling mistake that happens when Rudy Guiliani is directing your legal team in challenging the election result. Then again, who could be bothered scrutineering votes when the real action is at the local strip club.
“Fired like a dog”, “Dumped like a dog” and “Dropped like a dog”: All phrases used by Trump to describe his endless purging of staff and government officials. Ironically he is one of the few Presidents not to have an actual dog in the White House – at least not since Steve Bannon was sacked. Woof, woof!
“Standing Up For What’s Right” – The recently adopted new slogan of Fox News. It should of course read “Standing Up For What’s Far Right And Just Plains Bonkers” although its many viewers might fail to get the joke.
And finally the Collins Dictionary has chosen ‘Lockdown’ as its word of the year for 2020. A poor choice as it’s a word many of us never want to hear again, a bit like ‘Selfie’ which the Oxford Dictionary nominated in 2013. Trump and COVID have become irrevocably linked in 2020, for nearly all the wrong reasons and the word of the year should surely encapsulate the two.
The acronym ‘MAGA’ has been everywhere. Even our own Pete Evans has adopted it and a recent pro Trump demonstration in Sydney gave it prominence. It lends itself to all kinds of variations that relate to Trump’s handling of the COVID crisis, like “Massacre All Geriatric Americans”, “Manipulate All Gullible Americans” and “Most Arrogant Gasbag Anywhere”. Sad to say it’s the real word of the year for 2020 and might take a long, long time to go away.