The Dotard Vs. Rocket Man

Dotard (n.) an elderly person suffering from senility or other mental infirmities

By now you’re probably well aware that a few days ago, Kim Jong Un called Donald Trump a dotard, in the long-running name-calling spat between the two obnoxious, hateful children, which could also lead to the deaths of millions.

I first became aware of this on social media,when every second post on any respective feed seemed to be an article entitled Kim Jong Un just Called Donald Trump a Dotard, and you Won’t Believe what it Means! or Twitter just Discovered what Dotard Means, and it Can’t Handle it!

All of which surprised me, because I couldn’t have expected that so many people had never heard of the word. It’s not one we use much nowadays of course, but through reading I’ve come across it many times, and generally in contexts where its meaning is obvious.

But I’m not really interested in criticising people for not knowing the word, though perhaps I might just suggest that reading is always a great thing, for many reasons. I think what surprises me most about this whole situation is that it’s the 21st century and this is what global politics is about. A spiteful orange buffoon, inexplicably elected to the position of US President, calling a dangerous dictator with nuclear capabilities Rocket Man in a speech at the UN, with said dictator firing back with a mentally-deranged dotard crack (in fairness to him, he seems much more eloquent than Trump).

It’s all just so childish. At least the people of North Korea didn’t get a choice in who to lead them, but it must surely be infuriating for Americans to see the person elected to represent them make such an embarrassing spectacle of himself, and risk the lives of millions while doing so by provoking a volatile dictator. It defies logic to see an elected politician behaving that way. I think what also bugs me in particular is that he doesn’t even use language with a hint of the intelligence and cunning needed for the usual evasions and vagueries of political discourse. In so many ways this is quite literally like two big babies having tantrums.

There is perhaps one glimmer of hope revealed in the language of these two idiots. The phrase to dote on someone, meaning to be infatuated with them, shares the same origin as dotard, perhaps because we think of strong romantic affection as being related to insanity (I’m crazy about him/her). If Trump is a dotard, then perhaps it’s not such a stretch to think that the spat between him and Kim is more like that between two confused adolescents who have feelings for each other, but can only express them in mocking and antagonism. I mean, Rocket Man: you can’t deny the phallic implications of that. Perhaps rather than struggling to survive a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the future will instead see us looking back at this time as the retrospectively obivous beginnings of a beautiful relationship.

20 thoughts on “The Dotard Vs. Rocket Man

  1. I was vaguely aware of the word, without being able to say where, and probably not ever using it. I would have pronounced it with two full syllables, similar to retard as a noun. Various sources say that it has a reduced second syllable, so now I’m imagining ‘High on a hill was a lonely dotard’.

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  2. I am depressed, though not surprised, that so many Twitter users have never heard that very useful word ‘dotard’. After all, the old lunatic himself is a Twitter user and doesn’t seem to have read anything resembling a book, ever. Watching him struggling to read his autocue, I would say he had a pretty low reading age.

    The awful thing is, for a moment when I first heard that splendid ‘dotard’ comeback I almost (almost) liked Kim Jong Un. What have we come to when the President of the US is so vile that Kim Jong Un appears likeable, if only for a nanosecond, and even Vladimir Putin feels like a saner and safer alternative?

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  3. Ha! He actually cancelled the offer to invite Steph Curry to the white house but meanwhile Steph has already rejected. This really got many athletes pissed off cause he had already called the NFL players ‘sons of bitches’. I keep wondering how on earth that came out of his mouth. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and some others have angrily reacted to him and I am so sure there are many more to come. I think his problem is that he doesn’t think before he says the silly things he says. He needs to chill

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  4. […] Again, this is the level of discourse we have to deal with. Is son of a bitch a phrase we should expect the President of the United States to use? Personally, I don’t think so. The origins of bitch to refer to a female dog go so far back that it’s hard to pinpoint its exact origin (because we’ve domesticated dogs for so long, though it more than likely comes from Old Norse). It began to be used as an insult for a woman pretty early on, about the 15th century. Curiously, not long afterwards, it could be used in a complimentary, playful sense to refer to a man, just as we might refer to a roguish rake as an old dog nowadays. […]


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