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Monday, 03 December 2018 14:53

Words and raiment

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

It is said that clothes make the man. But we might add that words round him off. (Disclaimer: No gender bias is intended here. The word “man” is used in a generic sense.)

A person may be very elegant in designer clothing in the latest fashion but if the words the person utters are inappropriate, crude and at worst, are of the gutter quality, his elegance makes him worse than a peasant in country clothes.

I am thinking of two world leaders as I write this.

Donald Trump does not come across to me as a natty dresser, certainly not in the league of George Clooney. Trump’s tie always seems to me to be much too long and while his suits are well-fitted, he just does not seem to carry them well. It may be just as well that he is not a natty dresser for then there is no dissonance between his looks and his words. For the president of a great country like the USA to refer to another country as a “shit hole” country is one example of bad manners. His way of referring to other world leaders can make one squirm. And his misogynistic language towards women may perhaps explain why he has been married three times.

Our own PRRD will never be an example of sartorial elegance and so we can say that clothes make him but not in the sense that we want to. Seeing him wearing our elegant Barong Tagalog with two buttons undone makes me want to cry. And what is this addressing a formal meeting and dressed in a black T-shirt? Not only that, but as he walks to the podium he has both hands in his pants pockets. Okay, if the man is not for sartorial elegance at least let him be polite and keep his hands out of his pants pockets, as young boys are taught while growing up. I am embarrassed for his mother.

Having had my say about his sartorial el    egance or lack of it, what might we say about his style of using words? For one, he is no Churchill or even a Lincoln. Okay, if he is not a man of words, might we say that he is a man of action instead? I don’t quite know how to answer that. I don’t really expect a president who expresses himself in the soaring words of eloquence but I do expect someone who does not use gutter language. We had a president who became a butt of jokes for his malapropisms but his problem at least was not toilet or sewer humor.

I get the impression that this current president feels unwell unless he is quoted in the use of inappropriate language and then has someone like the spokesperson explain away what he really meant.