Friday, January 13, 2017

Thirty Seconds to a More Politically Powerful Vocabulary: "Emoluments" and "Provenance"

All right class! Last time around we learned the word "emoluments," and I apologize for telling you it meant some sort of ointment you put on your skin. It's actually an important word in what was once an obscure clause in the US Constitution that is likely to become very well known if a President Trump pisses off a critical mass of important Republicans without maintaining a critical mass of supporters willing to take to the streets (well, and depending on how the seriously-armed US Armed Forces come down: always the key issue when politics get truly, uh, serious).

            This news cycle — sorry if that's only a couple of days — this news cycle, a key word is "provenance," as in the sentence from what seems like ages ago, "What the hell was the provenance of that 2005 tape of Trump's talking with Billy Bush of ACCESS HOLLYWOOD about grabbing women?" So from Google, Search Results prov·e·nance
 /ˈprävənəns/ noun
the place of origin or earliest known history of something."an orange rug of Iranian provenance"synonyms:   origin, source, [...] pedigree, derivation, root [...] the beginning of something's existence; something's origin."they try to understand the whole universe, its provenance and fate"a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality. [...]
            It's like "chain of custody" on crime shows but more scholarly — and spookish, so throw in spy shows as well, and political thrillers. (There's also history and other real-world stuff, but you kids aren't into that so we'll stick with TV and movies.)

            So, add to "emoluments" the vocabulary word "provenance" and have it handy for the debates when/if we get to those critical mass points and they break more for "jaw jaw" as Winston Churchill put it, than "war war" — of that (un)civil, "takin' it to the streets" variety.

            And so finally so; So: What are the details of the PROVENANCE of the "KGB Candidate (sic)" accusations about Donald Trump, what do those details tell us about the deep implications of the conflicts concerning Mr Trump — and, ultimately, with which of the groups of players should ordinary folk ally?

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