What to call the Trump? February 18, 2017 8:40 AM   Subscribe

We've gone back and forth in the election threads for over a year now. And plenty MeTa ink has already been spilled alternately bemoaning and re-litigating names for his Trumpiness, how annoying nicknames are, why some people want them, etc. etc. It's been recently argued that his name is already pretty silly for the English. From Lord Dampnut to [], this topic seems done to death. Can we just settle this and put it in the damn wiki? Has it already been? Isn't this a better place than the unwieldy election threads?
posted by aspersioncast to Etiquette/Policy at 8:40 AM (123 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

First, apologies for holding this overnight, it got lost in the busy day yesterday.

Second, folks have been using a lot of different nicknames, and other folks have been saying they find it annoying or confusing or tacky/unbecoming/not serious enough/etc. On the mod side, we're not looking to enforce any hardline policy on this, other than kind of basic "don't be awful" stuff. So I see this MeTa as a "let the community discuss what informal norms megathread participants would like for these threads" kind of thing.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:47 AM on February 18


I think the nicknames are stupid, but it just seems like a "roll eyes, move on" situation to me.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:52 AM on February 18 [34 favorites]


Call him Trump. It's his name. I can't think of anything more insulting, considering his behavior. We call Hitler by his name because it's his name. I think we can handle that standard for Trump.

My personal opinion is that refusing to use the precise word for the actual thing is childish, but other than silently judging the people who do it, I can deal if that's what people want to do.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:18 AM on February 18 [35 favorites]


I'm not in favor of policing whether or not to call him Trump as opposed to any of the many, silly nick names. I think it's ultimately a distraction when we have bigger fish to fry.

That being said, my partner and I are fond of the term for him that Laurence Fishburne recently used on an episode of the Daily Show: "45."

It's about as plain jane and objective as you can get, since you're referring to him strictly by what number president he is. Yet it still feels subversive because it strips him of 1) the actual title of president, and 2) the humanity of having a name.

This is my recommendation if one absolutely has to call him anything other than Trump. But in the long run, I agree with blnkfrnk that we need to call him by his name, as we would with Hitler or any other fascist. To refuse to say his name, I think, is to tacitly admit that his name holds some kind of power (a la Voldemort). It's also admitting that one can't handle hearing or saying his name. Which, even if that is true for a lot of us, isn't the kind of power that Trump deserves to have over us. I'll say his name until I'm blue in the face. Trump Trump Trump. I am not afraid of that motherfucker. Someone else said in a previous thread that it's not like saying "Trump" is going to make him appear before you in a puff of smoke, or whatever. Let's remember this.

Funny nicknames are still fun, and I'm all about using humor and insult to subvert the fascists, but I don't like the idea of calling him by nicknames for the sole purpose of avoiding saying his name because to say it would somehow be to lend him credibility or legitimacy. It doesn't lend him credibility or legitimacy. He's made certain of that through his actions.
posted by nightrecordings at 9:47 AM on February 18 [17 favorites]


I call Obama, Obama. Bush, Bush. Clinton, Clinton. Bush Sr, Bush Sr. Reagan, Reagan. Carter, Carter. Ford, Ford. Nixon, Tricky Dick. So I see no reason to call Trump anything other than Trump. I don't care so much about the nicknames except that there are times I do not even recognize right away who the person is talking about.
posted by AugustWest at 9:48 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


Why do we need to settle this? Let people call him whatever they want, what does it matter? "The house is burning to the ground!" "Yeah and also who left this mug on the coffee table without a coaster?"
posted by billiebee at 10:03 AM on February 18 [72 favorites]


I think the nickname thing is juvenile and lowers us to his level. I don't feel like it shows our civil, thoughtful, clever community in its best light. If I weren't already pretty well convinced of my love for this site, the nicknames I see in the Trump threads would give me pause. They just aren't my cup of tea.

That said, these are tough times and if a childish nickname is getting you through the day, you go ahead and use it with my blessing. If that's your oxygen mask, comrade, put it on first.
posted by potrzebie at 10:05 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


Calling him names other than Trump does literally nothing to harm him, his administration, or his policies, but it annoys the fuck out of lots of people. Seriously it's like he's Voldemort with how reluctant so many people are to just call him by his name. If you gotta go with something other than his name, I think shitgibbon is the best one.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:07 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


I don't care so much about the nicknames except that there are times I do not even recognize right away who the person is talking about.

Yeah, I find all the nicknames make the conversation harder to parse and follow, so basically they don't do anything to harm Trump but do, imo, harm the threads. Maybe it'd be different if there were a couple of widely accepted ones, like Dubya?
posted by lalex at 10:14 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


Maybe it'd be different if there were a couple of widely accepted ones, like Dubya?

Agreed. Disparaging nicknames are pretty inevitable but they definitely make everything harder to parse, and good god the election threads are already long.


Why do we need to settle this? Let people call him whatever they want, what does it matter? "The house is burning to the ground!" "Yeah and also who left this mug on the coffee table without a coaster?"

That's pretty much exactly why I posted this. Someone in one of the interminable potus45 threads restarted this interminable nickname debate that's been going on since they were election2016 threads, and I wished for an out-thread place to push that particular hashed/re-hashed argument, since it feels like a total distraction.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:28 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


ohhhh ok I see someone in a megathread was insisting on using PVL instead of Trump, to the point of replacing "Trump" with "PVL" in quoted news article excerpts. Come on, people.
posted by lalex at 10:35 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


I hear what you're saying, but I can't see how we're going to reach a consensus. Some people don't like the nicknames, some people do, some people need them, and we can't make anyone do anything. And even if we were to somehow agree on the One True Name, people who don't read MetaTalk or the Wiki won't know anyway. Maybe the best people can do is flag future in-thread arguments about it as a derail, and maybe if the mods are dealing with those comments they can link to this thread or the last one.
posted by billiebee at 10:36 AM on February 18 [5 favorites]


(In case anyone is as totally confused as I was, PVL = Popular Vote Loser.)
posted by lalex at 10:36 AM on February 18 [10 favorites]


I assumed it was Pissface Von Liar but ok
posted by billiebee at 10:38 AM on February 18 [18 favorites]


Regarding replacing "Trump" with "[nickname]" in quotes or excerpts: It is already really, really hard to make sure that you're not posting something that's already been discussed in the megathreads, and altering snippets someone might use as search strings is not helpful.
posted by lalex at 10:42 AM on February 18 [8 favorites]


We call him anything we fucking want.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on February 18 [14 favorites]


I CALL HIM STINKY MCDOODOOHEAD WHO LOOKS LIKE A BUTT, A'CUZ I'M REALLY FUNNY
posted by indubitable at 10:52 AM on February 18 [5 favorites]


I really, really dislike it when people use nicknames for him. If you don't want to call him President Trump, at least say Trump or Donald or Donnie, if you have to be snarky, which sometimes you have to be. There's no need to name call.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:53 AM on February 18


I'm prone to using his initials or #45 myself, and I largely don't mind when people want to vent their spleens with more colorful nicknames EXCEPT for when they actually change his name in articles or even his twitter handle--I find that unecessarily confusing, and we've had several exchanges already because readers were confused about whether the tweets were coming from his real twitter or a parody account because posters were changing the name. I think that needs to stop just for the sake of clarity of reading.
posted by TwoStride at 10:57 AM on February 18 [13 favorites]


I think "failing US president Donald Trump" is just fine.
posted by sour cream at 10:59 AM on February 18 [12 favorites]


Use a nickname if you must, but it does make it harder to read comments using obscure nicknames and causes the threads to become increasingly readable only to those already up on the current set of jargon. I have no idea how many lurkers read the megathreads on an occasional basis (any server stats that might shed light on that?) but having these discussions publicly in plain language readable by people casually popping in is, I think, a good thing. The more we replace Trump's name with in-jokes like PVL and Dampnut (I've been reading the megathreads pretty regularly and even I have no idea where that one came from), the more opaque these conversations are to the outside.

I am sympathetic to wanting to use nicknames, though, since just writing "Trump" feels like giving a certain level of respect or at least acknowledgment of normalcy that I don't have. When in the moment I just can't bring myself to type "Trump" I follow Hillary Clinton's lead and write "Donald" instead. It's a tiny, perhaps insignificant, act of defiance, but it makes me feel a little better and, I hope, is still pretty obvious to anyone reading.
posted by biogeo at 11:00 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


Yeah as I said in-thread, the main issue is that it's confusing and people don't understand you when you insist on calling Trump PVL or _r_mp or Purmt (that's a real example.)

I mean, apparently the people using these alternate terms think they are being obvious, but when you're scrolling through a giant thread of text in whatever personal context you are in, it's usually a distraction and throws me out of the flow every time. I have to stop and translate to English.

So I dunno, if people can't bring themselves to speak his name can they at least use a comprehensible alternative made up of actual English words?
posted by threeturtles at 11:02 AM on February 18 [9 favorites]


I don't say or write his name for the same reason I don't refer to the person who assaulted me by his name. I refuse to acknowledge the monster has an identity.

In our private conversations, my husband and I just use "him" or "he" with a slight vocal inflection because we know what we're talking about. (Although "fuckstick" comes up when he does something particularly egregious. So basically every day.)

When talking with others I say "the person currently running this country," which is ridiculously long but allows me to be technically accurate without naming him.

Of course, neither of these choices is useful here. This comment is more me breathlessly running up to you saying, "oh thank god you guyz I'm not the only one who can't say his name hug me."
posted by _Mona_ at 11:03 AM on February 18 [8 favorites]


Also the threads have enough insider acronyms already. Using more, deciding on them on an individual basis just makes the threads more insular and intimidating to people who haven't followed every single post since June.
posted by threeturtles at 11:04 AM on February 18 [6 favorites]


ohhhh ok I see someone in a megathread was insisting on using PVL instead of Trump, to the point of replacing "Trump" with "PVL" in quoted news article excerpts. Come on, people.

That was my post. I expanded the PVL to Popular Vote Loser at the first occurrence, then used the initials after. The man's name was not deleted in the excerpt.

Why do I use Popular Vote Loser (PVL)? Several reasons.

* This man lost the popular vote. This is a fact.
* It highlights that by at least one metric, he is a loser. He hates being called a loser.
* PVL does not reference any physical characteristics of that man.
* It deprives him of the attention that goes along with mentioning his name.

Political satire has been around for thousands of years, including messing with people's names and giving them descriptive nicknames. I am not going to quite calling him the Popular Vote Loser because it must never be forgotten that he did not win a majority of votes.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 11:05 AM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I suppose it should go without saying that I'm fine with the nicknames. It's also possible to add them to the wiki.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 11:08 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


We already had a similar discussion last month, albeit one more focused around avoiding disrespectful names. The overall feeling seemed to be that people had many different opinions, but a number of users made it pretty clear they'll call him whatever they damn well please and nobody is going to stop them. It seems unlikely there can be a real guideline that everyone will follow so much as people stating their preferences and putting up with those who disagree.

Personally, I'm not a fan of name-calling as a general rule, and usually just use some variant of his name or "the President." I agree that some of the nicknames are downright esoteric, many of which I haven't bothered to try to understand, but it's usually easy enough for me to figure out who they are referring to in context. I also recognize that his name is frankly traumatizing for some here, and acknowledge that people are going to keep using the nicknames whether I personally like them or not.
posted by zachlipton at 11:14 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


You can and should write however you like. But to accomplish three of the four points you mention, you could just refer to him as "Donald Trump, loser of the popular vote" the first time you mention him in each comment, and in my opinion it would be much easier to read and understand. As for depriving him of attention, I think that ship has already sailed.

I definitely don't mean to tell you how to write, just offering an alternative option if you like it, and my opinion as to its relative merit. If you feel really strongly about replacing "Trump" with "PVL," please do that. But for me personally, it slows down reading and comprehension, and I think it makes the threads less useful to lurkers and casual participants. I think this latter point is unfortunate since the quality of conversation in the threads is overall very good, and I think they have the power to inspire resistance and disseminate truth beyond just the few dozen people who participate regularly.
posted by biogeo at 11:14 AM on February 18 [9 favorites]


Feel free to just ignore the thread if you don't want to use a nickname, think it's fatuous, whatever. This community does a reasonable job of humorously arriving at enough of a consensus that , for those of us who might care, it seems worthwhile.
Participation, as in all things MeFi, is purely voluntary.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:23 AM on February 18


I don't think that's quite fair, OHenryPacey. If people are doing something that makes it harder for others to participate, I don't think it's unreasonable to raise it as a topic for discussion, and I'd certainly rather not force people out of the thread. I just feel that, in this case, it's not going to amount to much more than "I'd generally prefer if people didn't do this thing" and people may or may not adjust their behavior as a result.
posted by zachlipton at 11:28 AM on February 18 [7 favorites]


It's usually pretty dumb, and I'd prefer his actual name get tied to his historical memory. I want the word "Trump" to bring the same automatic shudder reflex as other villains' names.
posted by EarBucket at 11:29 AM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I think if the president's name is traumatizing (and it is, I know, for many) that's a degree of trauma that's out there in the world, and not something that MetaFilter can really fix. Certainly it would take more than childish name-calling to bring most MeFites down to "his level"; unless you're actively trying to violate the rights of your fellow human beings, you're not at his level yet. That said, getting creative does make it confusing to read (and impossible to search - you'd have to remember which particular epithet was used in order to find the comment again), so I would argue against too much proliferation.

And yes, a Wiki entry! This site is one possible refuge for people wondering what to do now, in the face of everything, and it doesn't do to be almost completely incomprehensible to newcomers.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:29 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, it's fun when someone really brings their insulting nickname game.
posted by EarBucket at 11:32 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


biogeo: Dampnut (I've been reading the megathreads pretty regularly and even I have no idea where that one came from)

"Lord Dampnut" is an anagram of "Donald Trump."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:34 AM on February 18 [13 favorites]


I don't think that's quite fair, OHenryPacey. If people are doing something that makes it harder for others to participate, I don't think it's unreasonable to raise it as a topic for discussion, and I'd certainly rather not force people out of the thread. I just feel that, in this case, it's not going to amount to much more than "I'd generally prefer if people didn't do this thing" and people may or may not adjust their behavior as a result.

My read was that this was a thread to perhaps arrive at a consensus nickname (to put in the wiki), rather than a referendum on whether or not to use a nickname at all (which seems to be the discussion so far).
Folks are going to use a nickname. There have been any number of public calls to "not use his name".
So wading in and saying "I don't want to use a nickname" seems beside the point.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:35 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I don't like the nicknames in general, but hey, free country.

But I hate "shitgibbon." Gibbons are magnificent animals, and they don't need the bad press. It's bad enough that we made up the term "great apes" which is nothing more than literally all of the other apes except for gibbons. Gibbons don't get no respect.

Sorry, it's been bugging me all week.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:36 AM on February 18 [14 favorites]


OHenryPacey - I think the OP intended this MeTa to just be a place where people can discuss nicknaming, pro and con, so people won't keep discussing it in the thread.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:36 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the clarification.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:38 AM on February 18


We call him anything we fucking want.

Right, and knock yourself out. I've done it too, and will continue to sometimes when I feel like it.

But I also remember when someone writing 'Barack HUSSEIN Obama' or 'Obummer' or 'BusHitler' or something like that made me instantly stop reading, or predisposed me to think the writer was an idiot. So, to the extent it matters to me what reaction other people have (and who I'm talking to) I try to choose intentionally.
posted by ctmf at 11:42 AM on February 18 [28 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the nicknames, but realize people aren't going to stop using them. I do wish (as has been stated) people would not do so when quoting headlines or news articles - leave the quote as is. And if you're going to use a nickname, an actual English word or otherwise parsable name is much, much preferable to _rump or [] or other weird gobbledygook some people use. Every time I'm reading and encounter this weird punctuation it completely interrupts the flow and my train of thought. I've taken to skipping the rest of those comments entirely when I encounter them.
posted by Roommate at 11:46 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


"Lord Dampnut" is an anagram of "Donald Trump."

Okay, I never realized that.
posted by yhbc at 11:52 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


I'd also like to point out that at any given moment in the political threads we are usually talking about Trump AND Ryan AND McConnell AND AND AND...and I find it difficult to parse which silly nickname is which evil villain.

For example, if I came across Purmt and didn't catch the context clues, I would have assumed that was a Senator with whom I am not yet familiar.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:07 PM on February 18 [9 favorites]


I think the OP intended this MeTa to just be a place where people can discuss nicknaming, pro and con, so people won't keep discussing it in the thread.

My frustration with this is: didn't we already do this -exact- MeTa not a month ago? (in this thread, here)

I'd really like to stop relitigating this particular point every time the fact that someone uses a nickname as part of their coping strategy gets under someone's skin.
posted by Archelaus at 12:15 PM on February 18 [11 favorites]


Sending you an Internet hug, _Mona_!

I hate, hate, doubleplusnope HATE saying his name because his name is his schtick, the whole source of his grift. And even though I understand that saying his name now doesn't give him any more brand/name recognition, saying or writing it feels (however irrationally) like contributing to his bottom line, or at least like giving him what he wants. I didn't even like saying it before he ran. Everything about him just inspires this reflexive wave of nausea, and the avoidance of his name is like this small sliver of relief from the constant disgust caused by having to see his face and hear his voice all over my news feeds.

So count me on pro-team-nickname. Sometimes it's nice to have the horror interrupted with occasional confusion.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 12:15 PM on February 18 [11 favorites]


I call him Trump b/c Dumbledore's Army. I enjoy you all's dumb nicknames for him. And in defense of the Purmt person, they used like three different anagrams of Trump in a couple of sentences and I thought it was sort of funny.

This concludes my thoughts re: nicknames
posted by gerstle at 12:40 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


If calling him Donald was good enough for Clinton, it's good enough for me. But I'm also fine with most other nicknames. #45 is short and makes sense and has the advantage of making him look smaller (he's only one amongst many). DJT is short too and very clear.
Each of these denies him his brand, which he loves so much.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:47 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


I just want to say that people who don't care for the general grossness of nicknames referring to his balls and so forth, we are not concerned with "lowering ourselves to his level" since you have to actually assault or murder somebody to do that. more that we (I) do not like to repeatedly hear about his parts and do not really understand the apparently irresistible urge to talk about them. Talking about the Russian piss tape is quite enough for me on that score without bringing in the Lord Anagram thing. it also makes it hard to believe that people are genuinely upset. in the way that we don't respond to Nazis, in this time of actual Nazis, with taunts about "Shitler," generally. not because humor is taboo but because that isn't very funny.

nobody wants advice but still. save the epithets for the oral epic you compose in the flickering twilight of the world after the sun goes out. that's a good time for the tan-spackled piss lord to take his place alongside the rosy-fingered dawn and the wine-dark sea. hector, tamer of horses; donald, hater of wives, blighter of lives, taper of ties. or whatever. nobody will be in any state to complain about it then so it should be very satisfying.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:52 PM on February 18 [5 favorites]


The nicknames would be good be if they were funny or interesting, though 99% of them don't seem to be. I can't think of any that have made me laugh, offhand. But maybe one will. Keep trying and let's all be creative out there, is my general outlook I guess. Let's all have fun today, champs!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:55 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


Stumped is the hashtag I've been using, because we're both baffled that he's in office. In my calls and emails it's he/him/this administration/the current administration. But I'm liking 45, because .45s are dangerous and implicated in a lot of crimes.
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 1:24 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


"It was funny the first time," -- your mom, weighing in on this topic
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:27 PM on February 18 [8 favorites]


Call him Trump. It's just a matter of time before the word "Trump" enters the vernacular as an all-purpose insult regarding a person's character.

Just don't call him "President Trump"— there's no need to rub our noses in the fact.
posted by she's not there at 1:51 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I think there could be more attention paid to the conflict between different rationales for name-calling. Name-calling has in the past been variously justified as: a) it's a good/appropriate personal coping mechanism, b) it's valid satire, c) it is valuable polemic (e.g. name-calling as a kind of activist or radical strategy and rhetoric). The rhetorical choice of framing this as a nickname (innocuous sounding) instead of name-calling (who, me?) is itself something to think about.

In contrast, there is not enough awareness that social scientists and psychologists have been concerned that name-calling is a cognitive biasing propaganda technique. Name-calling, as taught in a typical intro media/communications class (The University of Vermont in this case), is explained as:

Giving a person or an idea a bad label by using an easy to remember pejorative name. This is used to make us reject and condemn a person or idea without examining what the label really means.


Notice phenomenologically that it is in reverse: the speech act causes/manipulates a person to discriminate against something--the reverse of the justification that people have a problem/issue/critique of something therefore they use it. So the broad subtext there is that propaganda has destructive consequences for public/political interactions, and name-calling can be a contributing ("normalizing") factor that is possibly underestimated and its mechanism popularly misunderstood. On a website like Metafilter, this material seems relevant for obvious reasons.

There are costs and benefits. I'm not presuming to know the locus that demarcates the different rationales. Plausibly, a person can cope, can write satire and polemic, without using name-calling because there exist alternative ways to use language. On the other hand, who knows, maybe those anthropologists/psychologists/politicalscientists writing those lectures really are just preaching the usual bullshit from the ivory tower. Primarily, I am wary of a discussion that characteristically proceeds without reference to the body of knowledge that researchers have made available in recent years in this regard and is being taught in classes like the above. Not being aware of that is like speculating about global warming without checking with the climate scientists.

So I think what can help is a gentle nudge to, indeed, raise awareness and increase understanding so that the discussion can be more comprehensive. I'd prefer that as the space where the discussion could be at, versus the question of whether it should be prohibited or discouraged.
posted by polymodus at 1:54 PM on February 18 [4 favorites]


You put forth this argument like there's not already a host of -entirely reasonable- reasons to discriminate against Trump.

I mean, the name calling as a causal factor seems like sort of a low percentage, given the many and entirely reasonable things to discriminate about, such as his being a lying liar who is constantly lying, just for starters.
posted by Archelaus at 2:00 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


My British four-year-old finds "President Trump" very, very funny.
posted by alasdair at 2:07 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I call him 45 or Toupee Fiasco on Twitter because I don't want a bunch of rare Pepes in my mentions. I call him Donald IRL because it would piss him off to know that a fat, mouthy middle-aged woman was calling him by his first name.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:10 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


What to call the Trump?

Wow, talk about begging the question.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:22 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


didn't we already do this -exact- MeTa not a month ago? (in this thread, here)

Ack, see I thought this might have existed but couldn't find it or I would have just linked to that.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:48 PM on February 18


Wow, talk about begging the question.

Heh. Yeah, I guess it was.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:50 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


But I also remember when someone writing 'Barack HUSSEIN Obama' or 'Obummer' or 'BusHitler' or something like that made me instantly stop reading, or predisposed me to think the writer was an idiot. So, to the extent it matters to me what reaction other people have (and who I'm talking to) I try to choose intentionally.

I'm inclined to agree that the name calling risks seeming as ludicrous as those who refused Obama any respect. And I've been working really hard with my kids and friends to not become this year's nominees for "best tinfoil hat." That said, he's pretty much DJT to me.
posted by beaning at 3:11 PM on February 18


Okay, it can be DJT but it has to be pronounced like the sound Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane would make on the Dukes of Hazzard when the Duke Boys would speed past him and he would be startled and dump his coffee all over himself
posted by XMLicious at 3:20 PM on February 18 [8 favorites]


I will never use his name. Ever. The only name he ever gets from me is whatever temporary appellation I decide to assign. I refuse to concede anything to that guy. He gets nothing. He is undeserving of even the most elementary civility. I will not acknowledge that he has a right to his own name or indeed any permanent designation, or that I should expend effort on his behalf remembering it. I will never use his name.
posted by um at 4:11 PM on February 18 [9 favorites]


I worry that Metafilter is becoming an increasingly insular community and the political discussions themselves are echo chambers. Inventing (even clever and funny) alternative names for people makes those discussions even harder for others to understand and join.

Maybe many of us need to create or reinforce a tighter, more insular community right now to address feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty. That can't always remain the case because a closed community will eventually grow stale and wither. I fear that this is getting off-topic so I'll stop here.
posted by ElKevbo at 4:22 PM on February 18 [16 favorites]


Ehh, If hating fascists is our problem think our closed community of most of everybody will do just fine.
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


This debate is equal parts fantastic and stupid. People and things get renamed, or nicknamed, because human language sloshes around looking for a more accurate way to describe a thing or how one feels about that thing.

Using his first name in a diminutive- "donnie"- followed by vulgar descriptor makes it clear enough. Then you can get creative depending on how you feel that moment or what just happened: donnie shitstain, donnie littlehands, donnie groper, donnie dumbshit, donnie hitler, failing donnie, lil donnie shitstain siting in the whitehouse fucking up the country has not got a friend...you can sing it.

No one living through this should be admonished for "sinking to their level" for not using his last name, or renaming him any damn way they want. Language may be our last weapon in this fight. Let it slosh around.
posted by vrakatar at 5:04 PM on February 18 [4 favorites]


The one that made me laugh the hardest is Twitler.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 5:49 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I'm disappointed that President Agent Orange didn't catch on after the Grammys.
posted by Mavri at 5:59 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I vote for President DTMF :)
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:30 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I am with anyone who wants to deprive him of the monetary reward of branding his name. In any small way we can.

I personally use 'toddler' because it helps to resolve the horrifying cognitive dissonance of so many headlines and stories these days (is this real? I'm still not sure), for instance, 'toddler has tantrum during press conference' or 'toddler bans muslims'
posted by Dashy at 6:47 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


A big part of why the topic is coming up again, I think, is that we had at least four or five different people in the last thread ask, "Wait, who's Lord Dampnut?" I've seen people extend the nickname into a @lorddampnut Twitter handle, too, which seemed to trigger much of the confusion by looking like, you know, a plausible Twitter handle that somebody might have.

Clarity overrules everything else, I think. The nicknames really do make the threads harder to follow.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:51 PM on February 18 [11 favorites]


I've been calling him by his name but thoroughly support insulting nicknames and those who want to use them. Twitler is probably the best though.
But as was already said above:

"I hear what you're saying, but I can't see how we're going to reach a consensus. Some people don't like the nicknames, some people do, some people need them, and we can't make anyone do anything. And even if we were to somehow agree on the One True Name, people who don't read MetaTalk or the Wiki won't know anyway."

And that, folks, is gonna be the eventual verdict on this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:58 PM on February 18


I dunno. If we find the One True Name which we can then throw into a volcano to undo his evil, I volunteer to carry that fucker straight to Mordor.
posted by Archelaus at 7:00 PM on February 18 [10 favorites]


Yeah it came up again because 4 or 5 people had to ask about various nicknames because they were confused enough to try googling and still had no idea what things meant. And then 4 or 5 people responded to each of those confused people to explain. And in threads that get long QUICK, that's a bit of a problem.

I mean obviously no matter how often people are asked to be more clear there are some people who are not going to stop using their own personally created term. But in the same vein, I'm not going to stop saying it's annoying when the discussion is raised.
posted by threeturtles at 7:13 PM on February 18 [5 favorites]


Thanks, Obummer
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:17 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Hi, I am not a fascist. I am, however, autistic. I have an incredibly hard time parsing the "funny" nicknames and it does make it an insular conversation I can't break into. Because while I spent 45 seconds puzzling over the nickname instead of being able to read the rest of the comment, the thread moves on. If every single comment takes a minute longer to read than it "should" because I have to stop to puzzle out a nickname, there's 90 new comments every single time I get to the bottom of the thread.

It's an accessibility issue for me. Something like 45 - ok, cool. I puzzled it out and now I've got it. But a thread with a new nickname every other comment? That is not a thread I can participate in.

You aren't just insulating yourselves from fascists.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:12 PM on February 18 [23 favorites]


"That Man In the White House."
posted by Chrysostom at 8:21 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I was fond of using Cheeto Benito in the run up to the election, but now SCROTUS scratches that itch and it's immediately comprehensible even if you don't know what the initials stand for.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:24 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I'm starting to think this thread (and the recurrence of this particular discussion) is symptomatic of larger problems with the politics thread as a whole.

It's large, sprawling, hard to keep up with, and is starting to serve the same actual functions as the 24/7 news cycle. So much is going nuts about this presidency, and so constantly, that trying to split it down into separate threads would sprawl out so much worse, and I get that, but we're hitting a point where the politics thread has months-old baggage and its own wiki, and jargon.

So I think the problem is less "the names in particular," here, and more a side effect of how large and fast-moving this is getting.

Not sure if that problem is symptomatic of the Trump presidency in particular, or if there's been cultural shifts (either in our information sources or here on the blue), or both. Just thinking aloud.
posted by Archelaus at 8:30 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


One does not simply carry that fucker straight to Mordor, Archelaus. There's paperwork and shit.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:31 PM on February 18 [5 favorites]


Some of the problem is that each of these nicknames has personal meaning but not necessarily group meaning at this point. To me, SCROTUS is a play on SCOTUS and so would seem to refer to the nominee Gorsuch or the SCOTUS as a whole. But you seem to be using it in lieu of POTUS to stand for Trump--which is fine but takes thinking about.

IC is another that had a bunch of folks scratching their keyboards before it was clarified to be Intelligence Community (seemingly used to refer all the different organizations such as NSA, CIA, FBI, etc).

Hence why folks who aren't familiar with the million acronyms out there are getting confused and unable to follow or join threads.
posted by beaning at 8:35 PM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I appreciate the need for coping mechanisms. I understand that this is genuinely traumatic, because I know it is for me personally. Current events have given me nightmares, which is a first for politics for me. I also wouldn't piss on an elected member of the GOP if they were on *fire*, nor am I likely to ever forgive a single person who voted for Trump. Those people are dead to me. I don't give one shit what people say to them, except that harsher is probably better.

That said, I'm in the 'can't keep up' crowd. I literally do not have time in a day to read every comment anymore - I mostly managed it during the election, but I can't do both this and work, not long term. (I only even knew we were having a second MeTa about this right now because Archelaus brought it up.)

I would take it as a kindness if people would keep the nicknames intelligible so that it's easier to dip into a thread and figure out what fresh new horror we have on any given day. I don't think that would be tenable as policy even if the mods were interested, I'm just asking it as one poster to the crowd: please be communicative over clever, if that's okay. I get it if it's not, and I'm not going to start dismissing people because they're venting, it's just hard enough to keep up as it is.
posted by mordax at 8:52 PM on February 18 [10 favorites]


It sounds like the two biggest issues are thread growth making it nearly impossible to jump to the relevant bits, and confusion from nicknames. For the latter, would it be reasonable to ask that nickname-users also deploy the <abbr>  tag so that readers can mouseover their nickname of choice for an acronym translation or clarification? Regarding the former, I know the <mark> tag was disabled, but is it still available to mods, who could highlight worthy links for better visibility to folks who only have time for the bullet points?
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 9:47 PM on February 18 [4 favorites]


One last thing: I'd like to politely suggest all POTUS45 threads include some version of the housekeeping block from some of the immediate post-election threads. It's a good resource for veterans and newcomers (and lurkers, of which I was one until recently).
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 9:52 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


I'm sticking (mostly) with POTUS45 on here, as it's accurate, avoids constant uses of "Trump", and is a subtle reminder that there were presidents before, and there will be presidents afterwards. In other online conversations I've used the same label, though in those with Hebridean friends I stick mostly with An Asal.

I don't mind or care what people use, and they should use whatever they need to get them through the day. Like it or not (pretty much all: not) after several years of "Surely this..." with him as a candidate, then the nominee, and now POTUS45, he is likely to be around for several more with this status, barring ill health or death. Even then, POTUS46 doesn't look like a barrel of cuddly liberal laughs, so it is very probably several grim years ahead.

And thus, whatever people need to do to get through this - and that includes whatever they choose to call POTUS45 - so be it. That, and having much bigger/more important issues on a daily and lifelong basis to grapple with than tsk-ing and doing a 386 on people venting about him in their own individual manner.
posted by Wordshore at 10:31 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


For the latter, would it be reasonable to ask that nickname-users also deploy the tag so that readers can mouseover their nickname of choice for an acronym translation or clarification?

I am happy to do this.

Example syntax (remove space after '<>

< abbr title="Abbreviation Tag Example">ATE< /abbr>


Working example:
ATE for kicks.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 11:32 PM on February 18 [5 favorites]


The Man in the High Chair
posted by Sebmojo at 3:00 AM on February 19 [11 favorites]


I prefer calling people by their names, but appropriate modifiers are ok. I like Charles Pierce's use of "president* Donald Trump", and there's always the traditional "short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump."
posted by TedW at 3:18 AM on February 19


I'm a native British person and trump means to fart, so trump is fine wth me.
posted by unliteral at 5:09 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, it's fun when someone really brings their insulting nickname game.

Yes please. If you're gonna nickname the beast, then be creative about it.

For the latter, would it be reasonable to ask that nickname-users also deploy the tag so that readers can mouseover their nickname of choice for an acronym translation or clarification?

No, that's not reasonable, because 1. mouse over doesn't work on mobile and 2. every one of you has a pretty computer sitting in your head, so you'll figure it out at some point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:38 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]


I just added "IC" to the old election thread wiki, and there could certainly be an entry there for the nickname debate linking to this and the previous nickname thread.

Unless there's already a potus45 wiki going? Oh god, that's a lot of housekeeping. Sorry mods.

would it be reasonable to ask that nickname-users also deploy the <abbr> tag

I work with html every day and still had to google the angle bracket escapes to display that tag, so . . . probably not? Plus what Brandon Blatcher said.

Still happy to be reminded of its existence, although I suspect it would just make everything more confusing in practice.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:36 AM on February 19


I'm hoping der Gropenfuhrer will catch on, personally.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:34 AM on February 19 [5 favorites]


More seriously, though, I don't care at all. People should call him whatever they want. We sure don't owe him anything. And considering how often we end up talking about him, the variety may even help break up the repetition.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:38 AM on February 19


My take is, it's pretty dire to watch the news these days, and if one needs an outlet on occasion, and if it's assigning silly names to dangerously unperceptive people in leading positions, so be it. It's personal, and complicated.
posted by Namlit at 9:39 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]


I thought this was all settled years ago when John Stewart named him Fuckface Von Clownstick, but here we are.
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:04 AM on February 19 [10 favorites]


Ugh, can we please stop referring to Jon Stewart by using silly nicknames like "John"?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:27 AM on February 19 [10 favorites]


Short-fingered millionaire sex-criminal Donald Trump.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:32 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Food for thought, from The Atlantic: On Not Saying His Name
Why have many of the president’s critics taken to talking about him without using the words “Donald Trump”?

For some, the refusal to name Trump amounts to denial or dissociation. But for many of the tactic’s adoptees, it’s a signal of resistance—an indication that the speaker rejects Trump’s legitimacy. This approach didn’t seem to hurt Trump’s momentum during the campaign, but now that he’s in office, it’s one way that his opponents appear to feel able to challenge his standing.

Given the influence Trump’s name wields, snubbing it is an attempt to withhold some of that power while staking out higher moral ground, said Jenny Lederer, an assistant professor of linguistics at San Francisco State University. “In his case, especially, people feel like not repeating his name is [a way of] not speaking to the brand and the value system that goes along with his political ideology.” Lederer, whose research focuses on the way people talk about controversial political issues, told me that a refusal to name on this scale is only possible because “Trump” is already so omnipresent that discussion of him doesn’t require any reference.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:34 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


We should call him late to dinner, every single time.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:24 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Don't call Trump, just text him. Would drive him nuts not to have that face to face interaction!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


To me, SCROTUS is a play on SCOTUS

Well it's an amalgamation of POTUS and SCROTUM that conveniently takes advantage of our SCROTUS using the words "so called" and it fitting inside the acronym of "So Called Rule of the United States".
posted by Talez at 7:40 AM on February 20


> I've seen people extend the nickname into a @lorddampnut Twitter handle, too, which seemed to trigger much of the confusion by looking like, you know, a plausible Twitter handle that somebody might have.

LordDampnut, Dampnut and Lord_Dampnut are all taken. Ask me how I know.
posted by Horselover Fat at 10:02 AM on February 20


I'm personally in favor of calling him by his name. I think it makes everyone (right and left) look childish when they use an improper name for a person. There are arguments of substance that are devastating against him.

I like '45' if you must refer to him as something other than his name though.

But as a raging liberal I will roll my eyes and not take anything seriously from someone that 'subverts' a name to call someone something other than their name (or preferred name). I can't imagine that doing this in online forums will *ever* change an opinion.

But that's not why I'm piping up. I noticed today that the NYT consistently refers to him as Mr Trump (although often times not the first time they mention him in an article, the first time is often "President Trump"). It was pretty common to call Obama "Obama" instead of "President Obama" in publications, same with Bush (although maybe less so), but it really struck me as odd giving him a different title. Honestly, I think the NYT is being a bit subversive when they give him the title "Mr." Can you imagine any publication referring to Obama as Mr Obama? It sounds silly. I'd love to hear an NYT style guide person talk about why this is done (or anyone in the NYT that might know the answer to this).
posted by el io at 12:20 AM on February 21


It is house style to use the honorific: Mr. Trump, Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton, etc.
posted by pracowity at 12:32 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


At the very least call him "horrific: M. Trump." I mean, give reality a chance.
posted by Namlit at 12:39 AM on February 21


el io - pracowity is correct. The Times always uses the honorific.

Ex:
Mr. West

Mr. Mathers

Mr. Broadus
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:44 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


As for calling Trump names, I approve all funny insults of Donny Trump. Make me laugh, please.

But the most direct way we can insult him and chip away at the family fortune is for us to keep associating his own stupid words and stupid deeds with his real name. Scratch the gold plate off that supposedly solid gold sign.

If you do have to pick an alternative name for him, Agent Orange is the smart choice. Agent Orange implies indiscriminate destruction of people and nature (including unexpected harm to the people wielding that weapon), it hints at secret agent (for the Russians?), it's cartoonish, and it mocks his tangerine tan.
posted by pracowity at 1:09 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Or my favorite example, "Mr. Pop."
posted by mama casserole at 5:36 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


That's The Economist's house style, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:35 AM on February 21


Except they drop the full stop: "Mr Trump" and so on.
posted by pracowity at 11:29 AM on February 21


Apparently SCROTUS dates back to at least 2003.
posted by Lexica at 1:06 PM on February 21


For the latter, would it be reasonable to ask that nickname-users also deploy the < abbr > tag so that readers can mouseover their nickname of choice for an acronym translation or clarification?

Hmm, the < abbr > tag doesn't seem to work on my iPad. I see a line beneath the text, but I can't get the mouseover to show.
posted by Pendragon at 5:07 PM on February 21


So it sounds like the < abbr > tag doesn't work at all on mobile. I only suggested it because it seemed like a shortcut for bridging the gap between folks who prefer nicknames and those who find them alienating or difficult to parse. The tag seemed like it could be slightly less work by saving commenters and readers alike a trip to the wiki, but a wiki list is probably the best solution across platforms.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 11:58 PM on February 21


I'm just waiting for the Syracuse basketball team to take the court wearing Trump masks.
posted by jonmc at 4:51 AM on February 22


Thanks for the style guide information, folks!

(I once had the opportunity to chat with a couple of economist reporters... I had but a single question for them - did the Economist style guide tell them to avoid the word 'tabled' as it has opposite meanings in the UK/US... Sadly they did not know the answer to the question).
posted by el io at 10:53 AM on February 22


The answer to your question is yes:
Table

Avoid table as a transitive verb. In Britain to table means to bring something forward for action. In America it means exactly the opposite.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:17 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


But shitgibbon is universal.
posted by Splunge at 3:22 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


"Our so-called president," to use his words right back at him.
posted by msittig at 12:48 AM on February 24 [3 favorites]


SCROTUS, 45, and Vulgar Yam, in that order, work fine for me. Asshole In Chief, also.
posted by MissySedai at 8:01 PM on February 25


But really? Why can't people call him what they want? The fact that he occupies the White House is pretty traumatizing for many folks, and sometimes all that keeps us sane is assigning him a snarky soubriquet.
posted by MissySedai at 8:04 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


They can. Nothing's being outlawed here.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:58 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Vulgarian-in-Chief.
posted by Zed at 10:15 PM on February 26


Call him any name you want, the worse the better.

(As an aside, lately I've been devoting my not-unlimited time and energy to things other than metafilter and this discussion is as sterling an example of why as I could ask for. I mean, fuckin' hell, people.)
posted by octobersurprise at 12:26 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


(counterpoint to the aside: Well, this is MetaTalk, and this is where we do unspeakable things to plates of beans as a matter of course. Most of Metafilter isn't like this part)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:34 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


As an aside, lately I've been devoting my not-unlimited time and energy to things other than metafilter and this discussion is as sterling an example of why as I could ask for. I mean, fuckin' hell, people.

And yet you managed to find the time to check in and tell everyone here we're doing it wrong. Thanks!
posted by Lexica at 7:05 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


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