Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Many People Have Said I'm the World's Greatest Writer of 140-Character Sentences'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Many People Have Said I'm the World's Greatest Writer of 140-Character Sentences'

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SEXTON

HOW TRUMP THINKS: HIS TWEETS AND THE BIRTH OF A NEW POLITICAL LANGUAGE by Peter Oborne and Tom Roberts (Head of Zeus, PS10.99) FOR years after its invention 11 years ago, Twitter seemed a natural ally of liberalism and even political correctness, appealing as it does to a social consensus on the topics of the day, offering virtuous things for admiration and approval and offensive things for ridicule and contempt. It has taken the rise of Donald Trump to demonstrate that the very nature of Twitter also makes it an even more brutally effective weapon for everything the politically correct, or just fair-minded, abhor.

As Peter Oborne notes in his incisive introduction to this carefully annotated, chronological anthology of Trump's tweets: "Twitter allows a candidate to appeal at a personal level to anyone who is against anything and make him or her feel like part of a vast shared community without having to meet or even acknowledge any of its other members."

Trump "viscerally understood the power of this new medium to simplify complex ideas, to remove nuance and subtext and, above all, to remove any boundary between assertion and fact". He is the first politician to have grasped that it can create a world of belief impervious to reality.

There have been derisive collections of Trump's blurts before (easy to gather, copyright free), including one arranging them as haikus and one, forthcoming, turning them into a "coloring book" all good for a scoff.

But reading through this parascholarly presentation of his texts, apparently the idea of the publisher Neil Belton, changes your perception of them. They don't seem merely preposterous any more.

The editors themselves say, "We were inclined to dismiss Donald Trump as a buffoon when we embarked on this study." But their book reveals his use of Twitter has been a game-changer. By giving these yelps the context they otherwise lack, they show us how they evolved, from Trump's initial naive delight in the medium's power to reach people directly to the point where he could proclaim nearly everything apart from his own utterances to be "FAKE NEWS". …

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