9 November 2016

American Cretics

It is not for me to comment on Foreign Politicks. But I may say how diverted I was by the neat rhetorical device ... or do I mean demagogic trick ... of priming an audience to respond to certain simple stimuli with trisyllabic chants in the form of what Classicist metricians term a 'Cretic' (long-short-long).

"Lock her up."

"Yew Ess Ay."

"Drain the Swamp."

Perhaps the President-elect is a Yale Classicist by training? This would make him a formidable player on the World Stage.


  1. The current incumbent is also a proponent of these snappy slogans. Remember "Yes we can"?

  2. "Lock her up." - Molossus, three longs.
    "Lock her up." - very clear Molossus.
    "Drain the Swamp." - could have been a Cretic, except that position (V + sw-) makes it a Molossus.

  3. I think he can make peace with Putin and who would not like that given the hundreds of millions of Christians living there?

  4. His speeches certainly contain far more oratorial skill than we have come to expect form not modern politicians. Even today's London Evening Standard, in its horror-flecked reports, acknowledges his use of praeteritio and other classical forms.

  5. Three syllable chants are pretty common in US sports and politics. And you have to repeat them at least three times, or they sound lame. (And of course everybody political always uses the fun old "USA!" chant, except Democrats so far left that they won't cheer for their iwn country. That chant came from Olympics competition, IIRC.)

    The other thing is calling out a chant, and then clapping your hands rhythmically. (As in the North American Seminary students inventing the "Benedetto! clap clap, clap clap, clap!" cheer.)

  6. According to this, "build a rail"


  7. "Yes we can" is also old. It was the usual US translation of "Si, se puede."

  8. I respect the working class people who probably couldn't understand this. They're good people who have chosen to remain Christians instead of getting absorbed into some global world government/consciousness.

    Personally, I find the air in the countryside is a lot cleaner and I can collect my thoughts there better than in the "sophisticated" cities.

  9. La-tin Mass!is an Anapest.