Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dear Readers: Should you buy Week One of Covfefe?

Within one week of the infamous covfefe tweet, a dozen e-books were published for Amazon Kindle with the neologism in the title.

I Can Has Covfefe? by Bruno Zogma

This guy has prepared a piece of literature that simultaneously is and isn't about covfefe. The word is used here simply to mean "nonsense." This e-book is a monologue by a character who is yelling at a friend. It's pretty original, and not only in its use of a word inadvertently coined by the president six days ago. I mean that it is original in its utter strangeness.

Covfefe: A Collection of Unrelated Short Stories by C. L. Mann

A normal, properly book-length collection of short stories with a sense of humor, despite some distracting formatting problems with incorrect paragraph indentations and random line breaks.

Toward the end, the mood goes somber. One paragraph contains bright blue links to Wikipedia which opens up the most plausible explanation that the author was doing research for historical accuracy and then did not reread his or her own book to notice and remove the links. From this last part of the book, there are nine intentional citations of URLs (no titles/authors). Such references are a little odd for a short story collection.

The magic word appears nowhere in the book. I have no idea where the title came from.

Covfefe Bigly: An Erotic Wonderland by Biff Bowen

Fake erotica using a fake word. This is an actual story, though a silly parody. Not bad.

Donald Trump's Best covfefe Moments: Quotes By Donald 'Covfefe' Trump by John Citizen

Replaces the nouns in familiar Trump quotes with the word 'covfefe.' The quotes make just as much nonsense with the replacement as without. Point taken! The man never made sense to begin with. This is really quite funny.

Covfefe: A word by any other name... by Sage Smith

Similar to the effort of John Citizen, this book replaces the nouns in familiar movie quotes and aphorisms, but this works somewhat less well than Citizen's take. No reader will recognize all of the quotes, especially with the keywords blotted out. Moreover, the lesson seems to be simply that these quotes are flattened by taking out the most powerful words, which is not at all surprising. The collection sells at the stiff price of $5 which leads one to conclude that this special formatting of one small quote per page was planned to milk the Kindle Unlimited per-page pricing structure. The formatting was not executed well, seemingly with carriage returns instead of page breaks, causing the user to see arbitrarily centered text depending on their device. You might profit from this collection if you want to select a quote or two to start your own line of meme merchandise.

Covfefe: Prince of Words: A History of the Most Important Lexical Advance of Our Time by Breaking Burgh

Like a blog post. A couple of the quotes are shared with Sage Smith's version. Rather funny. $2.99 seems a bit overpriced.

Covfefe: A "Coffee Table" Book by Anon

Again, like blog post interspersed with clip art, but shorter than most blog posts and making less sense. $2.99 is not a good price for it.

Donald Trump and the Mystery of Covfefe by Doctor Conservative

Ditto. Very poor formatting. The clip art is cut into quadrants and displays in random places.

Covfefe by Liv Augusta and Jay Kistler

A collection of a dozen acrostics, one word for each of the seven letters in the holy name. That would be 84 words in the entire book; there is no introduction. It is a fool's errand to place a value on poetry based on word count, but the enduring quibble is that the book description does not exactly indicate that you are buying only 84 words of anything when you pay 99 cents for it. The book description is: "A short digital booklet of acrostic poems exploring the meaning of the word 'covfefe.'" That it is, and now we know.

Various Things That Are NOT COVFEFE by D. D. C. Books

Compelling photographs of wildlife, plus still life with waffles and vegetables in the kitchen, plus swimming pools and Earth orbit. This is obviously the work of professional photographers. Photo credit is not given. There are no words of any kind.

Mein Covfefe by Courtney Driver

Based on the book description, this looks like it would be the most politically substantial. Unfortunately, the content is technically corrupted and will not download.

Covfefe! Donald Trump's Craziest Tweets compiled by Al Freedman

These are screenshots of Trump tweets. Only four are visible. It appears that the author intended to include another half-dozen, but they do not display. There is no commentary. $2.99 is a very bad price for this. The President will tweet at you all day for free. You can even follow him on Twitter.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

'This is Pride Month': So simple, even a burrito can do it

Making a statement in favor of LGBTQ rights and dignity is easy. Today in the United States, it isn't even politically risky, since a clear majority of Americans say they believe that same-sex relations are morally acceptable, should be legal, and should be permitted the rights of marriage.

A football team can make a statement. Two Los Angeles football teams, the Rams and the Chargers, are sponsoring June 2017 Venice Pride in Venice, Calif. Spokespeople for the teams mentioned motivations like "acceptance and equality" and "equity, diversity and inclusion."

A fast-food chain can make a statement. In Massachusetts, the burrito restaurant Chipotle will donate 50% of the proceeds of each sale on Sunday, June 4 to Boston Pride if the customer mentions the promotion, according to an email sent by Boston Pride.

The president can make a statement, but he will not. On June 1, the White House issued proclamations to celebrate June as "National Homeownership Month," "National Ocean Month," "African-American Music Appreciation Month," and "Great Outdoors Month," according to Nick Duffy, who added that the president "maintains a hardcore base of gay Republican supporters. They mainly point to that time he waved an upside-down rainbow flag." (The event in question was one week before the election; the flag was hand-lettered with his own name. Note its literal message "LGBTs for Trump," not "Trump for LGBTs.")

(Update: As of June 30, the White House still would not comment on CNN's question about the neglect of Pride Month.)

Photo by Carlo Allegri for Reuters | Huffington Post

In the past, then-Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama issued proclamations supporting Pride Month. Obama also hosted receptions for leaders in the movement. Zack Ford wrote that the current president, "who has long claimed to be an LGBTQ ally, could have become the first Republican president to acknowledge Pride Month with a proclamation, but he didn't — and the silence is deafening." Furthermore, Ford wrote,

"he hasn’t taken a single pro-LGBTQ action in office. Instead, he’s withdrawn guidance protecting transgender and gender-nonconforming students, dropped out of several court cases related to LGBTQ rights, and appointed countless personnel with viciously anti-LGBTQ records."

LGBTQ issues were mentioned during his campaign only "when he was trying to convince the queer community to embrace Islamophobia."

As candidate, on June 13, 2016, he implied that supportive words may not be necessary because he was going to demonstrate his commitment with actions. What kind of actions? Cracking down on immigration. He was blaming immigrants for holding anti-LGBT values and, by making this comment, he tried to shift attention away from his own values.

"Why does Hillary Clinton want to bring people in in vast numbers who reject our values? Why? Explain. Ask yourself who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community, Donald Trump with actions or Hillary Clinton with her words?"

Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, stated:

"LGBT Americans face an assault on their rights from the White House and House Republicans, who are gutting HIV prevention and treatment initiatives, dismantling protections for transgender children in public schools and conspiring to render LGBT Americans invisible in the census."

The website of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that self-describes as "the nation’s largest Republican organization dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives and allies," does not publicly challenge the current administration on the subject of Pride Month. In fact, their website does not mention Pride Month at all. It is not clear if they celebrate it.

My burrito will make a small statement, but the president will not.