To Trump or Not to Trump

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“All Cretans are liars,” says Epimenides the Cretan.

 

“You’re absolutely right,” says his friend Demosthenes, always eager to please. “We Cretans never tell the truth, do we?”

 

“You can say that again.”

 

“We never tell the truth, do we?”

 

“Stop. Not funny. Also, don’t be an idiot. When I said, ‘You can say that again,’ clearly what I meant was, ‘Do not under any circumstances say that again,’ because after all I’m an inveterate liar, right? So I meant the opposite, numbskull. Also, what sense does it make for a Cretan like you to say, ‘We never tell the truth’? That’s a true statement, isn’t it? So obviously you just contradicted yourself. You asserted that you were telling the truth about the fact that you never tell the truth.”

 

“No, no, I didn’t contradict myself.”

 

“So you’re admitting that yes, yes, you did?”

 

“No, I’m not. I didn’t contradict myself at all. I was lying when I said that we never tell the truth.”

 

“So in fact we always tell the truth? You’re still stuck, my friend.”

 

“No, the truth is that sometimes we tell the truth, sometimes not.”

 

“Which are you doing now? Telling the truth or telling a lie?”

 

“Come to think of it, to be completely honest, I’m not sure.”

 

“Huh. Let’s employ a hypothetical. We have a man — let’s call him, oh, ‘Donald Trump.'”

 

“Excellent. I’m enjoying this already.”

 

“What if I tell you that Trump is a liar who tells the truth. And that the converse is also true: Trump is a truth-teller who lies.”

 

“How can that be?”

 

“It’s simple, really. Ultimately, everything that Trump says is self-serving. He may appear to be talking about geopolitics or the economy or his political rivals or his enemies in business and media, but every word that comes out of his mouth has one and only one referent: Trump himself. So whatever he says — for example, take the quote, ‘If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?’ — when translated from English into the language of Trump, means this: ‘Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump.’ Follow me so far?”

 

“Yes. Really and truly, yes.”

 

“Okay, so Trump is never not talking about himself. In that sense, he is always telling the truth: “Trump is the great and powerful! Trump, now and forever! If you are not Trump, you suck!” At the same time, since the rest of the universe knows that, contrary to his own belief, Trump is not commensurate with reality, we know he’s always lying. Every time he opens his mouth, he spews out a falsehood.”

 

“Even when he says, ‘Trump is the great and powerful’?”

 

“Especially when he says that.”

 

“So Trump’s from Crete?”

 

“Hell no. I pity the country that would have to claim that nitwit as its native son.”

 

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