Kublai Khan’s grunts and Donald Trump’s tweets
It occurred to me last night. There exists a formal analogy between Trump’s tweets and the grunts Kublai Khan emits as he comments on the presentation of his counselors in the TV series “Marco Polo.”
Both Kublai Khan and Donald Trump are pompous potentates used to get their wishes fulfilled by underlings groveling up to them, no matter what the consequences are. Both conceive their self-worth and power as the only goal worth pursuing and maintaining.
When Kublai Khan grunts he signals approval or disapproval of a proposition that is usually complex, involving delicate diplomatic considerations. However, the grunts are barely articulate, far from being commensurate with the subtleties of the issues at stake; only a well-acquainted watcher of the series will even discern modulations in length and pitch.
Similarly, Donald Trump, who perceives the world through the myopic lens of a CEO, has surrounded himself with willing underlings groveling up to him, approaching him with foreheads hovering an inch from the floor. His tweets, limited both by character count and his attention span, cannot possibly deal with the complexity of the issues the nation faces today.
There exists an entire cottage industry interpreting grunts and tweets because they leave so much ambiguity. What can he have possibly meant? The moment the counselor leaves Kublai Khan’s court he will have to make a decision. He may have to consult his peers, advisors and linguistic specialists to come up with a cogent interpretation satisfying everyone including, most importantly, the Emperor.
The same ambiguity of interpretation was highlighted in an article of the New York Times right after Trump tweeted, using all of 140 characters, about the need to restock nuclear weapons.
We should seriously reconsider having a president who rules this country by grunts. If we get to that level of communication, a pig might be a much better answer considering their high intelligence.