The Corner

Culture

The SDP, and More

(Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)

I wrote an Impromptus column for today, retrievable here. It proposes a term: SDP, for short. That stands for “self-protective denigratory prelude.” What do I mean? Say you want to say something non-hostile about Trump or Hillary. But you’re worried about what others will think, so you have to put him or her down first, before saying your non-hostile thing.

“I take a backseat to no one in my detestation of [Trump or Hillary], so please don’t hate me for saying this, but …”

That is an SDP, a self-protective denigratory prelude. I’m vowing to commit less SDP in my life.

Elsewhere in this Impromptus, I have some language notes, including “Sam Hill.” A lady in Pueblo, Colo., says “Sam Hill,” because she forswears to say “hell.” “What the Sam Hill is going on around here?”

This morning, a reader wrote me the following:

Having lived in Colorado for only 50 years (so far), I have noticed an interesting pronunciation variance for “Pueblo.” Every Colorado native I have ever known who is more than 70 years old says “Pee-EB-lo.” Everyone else pretty much uses the Spanish pronunciation.

I also have a new Jaywalking out. I talk about matters French, including infidelity (!), Bastille Day, and the Le Pens. I also play some Debussy, and the Canadian national anthem, à la française. But there is also golf and basketball and other red-blooded things. Try it here.

Finally, I’d like to say a few words about Tillerson. I had grave doubts about his nomination — and he did not exactly shine as secretary of state. But in a sense, he did. He has a better understanding of the world than Trump does, and than many others in the administration do. He also has a great deal more respect for the truth.

As a businessman, Tillerson received a “friendship medal” from the hands of Putin. I thought this boded ill. But he turned out to be far more clear-eyed about the Kremlin than Trump, and far more truth-telling, too.

“He tells it like it is,” Trump fans say of the president. Well, that depends, to say the least.

I found in Tillerson a certain integrity, at odds with the spirit of the age. He could not even say he hadn’t called the president a “moron.” I’m glad he served. The president should have had the manhood to fire Tillerson in person, or at least over the phone. According to State Department officials, Tillerson learned of Trump’s action from Twitter. Anyway, onward. (I’ve been a Pompeo fan for many years, and look forward to his performance.)

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