How to troll on Twit­ter like Trump

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Tri­cia Bishop Tri­cia Bishop is The Sun’s deputy ed­i­to­rial page ed­i­tor. Her col­umn runs ev­ery other Fri­day. Her email is tri­cia.bishop@balt­sun.com; Twit­ter: @tri­cia­bishop.

This week, the New York Times de­voted two full pages of its print paper to the 280 or so “peo­ple, places and things Don­ald Trump has in­sulted on Twit­ter since declar­ing his can­di­dacy for pres­i­dent,” though a run­ning tally has been avail­able on its web­site for quite some time and will, pre­sum­ably, con­tinue to grow.

I took the lib­erty of putting the text of those tweets into a data­base and crunch­ing some of the as­so­ci­ated num­bers, as­sum­ing it would lead to an in­sight­ful anal­y­sis of Mr. Trump’s psy­che. I as­sumed wrong. What it does show, how­ever, is not with­out value, al­beit mostly en­ter­tain­ment. Here are the high­lights:

First, let’s just say, for those of you who haven’t been fol­low­ing the pres­i­den­tial race closely, Don­ald Trump is dis­gusted with a wide, wide va­ri­ety of en­ti­ties, in­clud­ing: en­tire coun­tries (Ger­many, Iran, China, Mex­ico, etc.), beauty queens (two for­mer Miss Uni­verses and model Molly Simms — a.k.a. “a dis­as­ter”), a Saudi Ara­bian prince (“dopey” Al­waleed bin Talal), other politi­cians (es­pe­cially “lyin’” “sad” “math­e­mat­i­cally dead and to­tally des­per­ate” Ted Cruz and “crooked” “failed” “very dumb” and “to­tally con­fused” Hil­lary Clin­ton), most me­dia (not us, though!) and at least one golf re­sort (Ban­don Dunes in Ore­gon).

Closer to home, he thinks for­mer Mary­land gov­er­nor Martin O’Mal­ley is a “clown” — one of 14 uses of that term — and Bal­ti­more Mayor Stephanie Rawl­ingsBlake is a “joke” (13 uses).

His fa­vorite Twit­ter in­sult is “crooked”; it was his third-most-used word be­hind “a” and “the,” ap­pear­ing 201 times out of roughly 8,800 tweeted words and di­rected al­most ex­clu­sively, as you might ex­pect, to­ward Hil­lary Clin­ton (200 crookeds for her, and one for an anti-tax ad­vo­cacy group).

Mr. Trump’s next most pop­u­lar put down is “bad” (78 oc­cur­rences), fol­lowed by “dis­hon­est” (73), “fail­ing” (62), “failed” (47), “weak” (40), “light­weight” (32), “ter­ri­ble” (31), “worst” (30), “rigged” (30), “dis­as­ter” (26), “dumb” (25), “phony” (25 — though there is also one use of “phoney”) and “boring” (22).

“Nasty” — the cur­rent in­sult du jour thanks to the last de­bate — only ap­pears 10 times, di­rected at nine peo­ple, in­clud­ing Bar­bara A. Res, a for­mer Trump ex­ec­u­tive and an oc­ca­sional op-ed con­trib­u­tor to th­ese pages (hey Bar­bara!). Some of my per­sonal faves in­clude: “goofy” (19 uses), “dopey” (18), “wacko” (3), flunky (4), flunkie (2) and sleaze­bag (1, ap­pro­pri­ately lobbed at his fel­low tweet-a-holic, An­thony D. Weiner).

Mr. Trump has com­plained on Twit­ter about those who talk about him with­out know­ing him; who want to “breast pump in front” of him; who don’t “have a clue,” “strength or stamina”; and who he be­lieves claim “phony Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage.”

He’s got a bone to pick with ac­tors Alec Bald­win, Whoopi Gold­berg and Sa­muel L. Jack­son; mu­si­cian Neil Young; ma­gi­cian Penn Jil­lette and the state of New Jersey, which he de­scribed as “deeply trou­bled.”

Over­all, he used more than 1,700 dif­fer­ent words to con­struct the in­sults (con­tra­dict­ing the as­sess­ment of a col­league, who said the tweets ap­peared to show Mr. Trump has a 200-word vo­cab­u­lary), with an av­er­age of two syl­la­bles apiece. Sev­eral five syl­la­ble words — “cred­i­bil­ity” and “in­ac­cu­rately,” for ex­am­ple — sug­gest he’s still fol­low­ing the “just be­low 6th grade level” pat­tern he’s been us­ing for cam­paign speeches, ac­cord­ing to a Carnegie Mel­lon Univer­sity study. (Pres­i­dent Bush pre­vi­ously scored at a 5th grade level.) And none of it likely mat­ters much to Mr. Trump’s sup­port­ers, whose Face­book posts had the most gram­mat­i­cal mis­takes of any pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, ac­cord­ing to gram­mar check­ing com­pany Gram­merly Inc.

Some peo­ple have opened par­ody ac­counts on Twit­ter and tried to keep up with Mr. Trump’s cut­ting re­marks: “Zzzzzz chick stuff be­ing talked about, boring, ev­ery­one take a bath­room break,” @re­alDoneldTrump posted dur­ing the last de­bate.

And “Pa­thetic zoonotic dis­ease anal­ogy — SAD! Must #MakeS­cienceGreatA­gain so my sur­ro­gates don’t sound stupid,” tweeted @Sci­en­tistTrump in re­sponse to a Mike Huck­abee tweet say­ing the New Yorker’s en­dorse­ment of Hil­lary Clin­ton was akin to ticks endorsing Lyme dis­ease.

Then there’s @ArtHouseTrump, who has nearly 13,000 fol­low­ers. He’s posted a lit­tle over 300 tweets, and penned one say­ing “Be­lieve me, I know more about cin­ema than the film crit­ics do!” But he seems to un­der­stand he’s no match for The Don­ald. And prob­a­bly shouldn’t as­pire to be, any­way.

“Ugh,” he posted Oct. 7. “Don­ald Trump is not ac­tu­ally funny... I don’t even know what I am do­ing with this stupid ac­count any­more... I feel bad. I’m sorry.”

If only Don­ald would come to a sim­i­lar real­iza­tion.

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