Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Two Cents

This week and next, I am not watching the political convention coverage on television. It's impossible to get away from it completely, however, and this morning I watched the morning after post mortem by CBS News of yesterday's opening activities and speeches at the Republican Convention. In addition there were clips from a Charlie Rose interview with Hillary Clinton, and from Lesley Stahl's 60 Minutes interview of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

First, Donald Trump. Lesley Stahl commented to him that he wasn't very humble. His response was to tell her that he was "the most humble" person, that he was so humble that she couldn't understand how humble he was. Well.... Dear Mr. Trump, if someone makes the comment or observation that someone isn't humble, then it's highly likely that someone isn't humble.  In other words, a truly humble person would not attract such an observation. And then there's that "the most humble" phrase. To you, dear Mr. Trump, you are "the most" of everything, right? That's either exaggeration or grandiosity or both. That's neither modesty nor being humble. A suggestion: if you'd really wanted to deflect the comment, embrace the fact that you're not a humble man and be done with it.  Otherwise, you just come off as a complete and ignorant fool.

Second, Hillary Clinton speaking about Donald Trump. She made an interesting case for Donald Trump being the most dangerous presidential candidate in the history of this country in her interview with Charlie Rose. She pointed to a long article about his personality but failed to specify the article's title and author, at least in the clip I saw. She pointed out specific things that Trump has said, especially his apparent "casual indifference" to whether or not other countries such as Saudi Arabia acquire nuclear weapons, and said that demonstrated Trump's ignorance of history, of America's relationships with allies, and the history of keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of nations like Saudi Arabia. She has a strong case. Unfortunately for Trump, nearly every time he opens his mouth to talk about foreign policy, he demonstrates his ignorance. He's apparently not interested in maintaining the relationships America already has with other countries or forging new ones, nor interested in insuring that America's relationship with the world is a cooperative and peaceful one. That alone makes him dangerous, indeed.

Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert from cnsnews.com)

Third, Melania Trump's speech last evening. I did not hear the entire speech, but heard one section of it over and over again this morning on the news. That section apparently steals from Michelle Obama's Democratic Convention speech in Boulder, Colorado 8 years ago. The most damning coverage was when CBS went split screen, putting Obama and Melania Trump side by side as each spoke the words in question. Then I also heard Melania's speech over Michelle's and only one or two words didn't match. Donald Trump's campaign manager pointed out that the section in dispute was only about 55 words out of a 1500 word speech or about 3.7% of the speech. I don't know what the fair use cut off is without looking it up -- 200 words? -- but it seems to me that to be on the safe side, and to prevent the controversy that has occurred, Mrs. Trump needed to cite Mrs. Obama at that point in her speech and show appreciation for their apparent agreement on the things they both addressed in the same way. Whether or not Mrs. Obama can bring an infringement suit against Mrs. Trump, the real issue is that of appearance.  I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the Donald talking to Melania in private about her copying Michelle Obama in her speech.

My two cents.

1 comment:

Daughter Number Three said...

My understanding of fair use is that it requires citation, so there can be no fair use if it's just used without attribution.

I was listening on MPR when Melania spoke. I didn't like that section of the speech; I probably didn't like it too much when Michelle said it, either, assuming I was listening then. It's too boot-strappy for my tastes, though I admit it has more resonance coming from Michelle (and her life story) than Melania (and hers).