The curious case of the Presidential Inauguration

The Trump inauguration has happened. 

Over the next four years big business will be revered and climate change will be denied. Division will increase, inequality will rise, and the pronouncements of public office will hit a new low.

I’m not a fan.

With a lack of anything constructive to add to the Trump situation I am currently revelling in inconsequential detail as a diversionary tactic.


That’s a funny word isn’t it?

Here in the UK it pops up on the cultural radar every four years, trends on Twitter for a bit, and then hibernates until next time. The President is inaugurated at the inauguration, and then whooommff! Gone. 

No more inaugurating, anywhere, for 48 months.

And when your mind starts to wander like this, you begin to spot other niche, event specific words.


There are only two occasions when something will ever get brandished. When a football referee is brandishing a red or yellow card in the direction of an unruly player, or when an unknown figure is spotted brandishing a weapon. Flip those two scenarios around and things look rather different.

There are those who think that, such is the standard of behaviour in the Premier League, referees brandishing weapons might be a good start. It would make the prospect of suffering an aggravated burglary slightly less menacing too.

And there’s ‘hail’.

We hail taxis, and that about it.

We used to hail Cesars if we spotted them knocking around our neighbourhood, and I suppose lots of people still hail Mary, but they only do that figuratively. If you want to actually, physically hail something, a taxi is your only option.

The other thing about words is that, for no apparent reason they become the centre of our cultural world, and then disappear just as quickly.

Remember here in the UK when Tony Blair and his gang were desperately trying to justify starting a massive and complicated war – you know, the one that set in motion a train of  events that led to ‘terrorists’ driving vehicles into crowds in European cities?

Reports, dossiers and experts were called for, and this word ‘caveat’suddenly leapt from the letters pages of the Daily Telegraph, to become the crux of every news report in a six month period.

It turns out that when you’re trying to hedge your bets, present your truth, and cover your back, you get tangled up in an awful lot of caveats. I suppose you do what you’ve got to do to avoid an invite to The Haig for one of their tribunals.

And now, in 2017, gone!

We never hear of them.

Caveat is the language of a different era. We’ve all moved on. Truth is now such a moveable concept that caveats are redundant. As are experts and dossiers, for that matter. Replaced by opinions and social media.

Which brings us depressingly back around to Trump.

And this is the problem.

The prospect of such a figure occupying such a position is that no matter how trivially your mind wanders, it always comes back to him.


(Image: By Architect of the Capitol –, Public Domain,




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