A lot of people are upset with the president for embarrassing our country last week, but he might have done me a favor.
Any guy who, like me, sometimes stoops to profanity in moments of pique can point to President Donald Trump as an example of how any man — even the leader of the free world — can understandably let slip with the occasional obscenity.
During a conversation with lawmakers on immigration, Trump reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “(blank)hole countries,” a remark that appeared verbatim in many — but not all — newspapers. My employer has opted not to print the term, but I have permission to use alternatives such as “poop hole” and “doody hole.” I hope you get the idea.
And I hope one day Trump’s trail-blazing profanity will yield benefits for a guy who, for the sake of a good punchline, sometimes wouldn’t mind pushing the bounds of what words are appropriate to publish in a family newspaper. If it’s suddenly OK to put the term “dookie hole” on the CNN news crawl and on the front page of the paper, who knows what will come next? Trump has set a new, lower standard. A president’s precedent.
There are all kinds of bad words I’d love to sneak into this column — not the big ones, mind you, but something stronger than “turd hole.” Until last week, I never could’ve hoped to swear in the paper. But now that The Associated Press quoted Trump cussing in a lead paragraph on a top national story, there’s no going back. One day, even family-friendly papers like the one you’re holding will cave to cursing. Thanks, Mr. President.
Many Americans were shocked not only by the vulgarity of Trump’s language, but by the thought that the man in charge of our melting pot considers arrivals from certain countries to be, in the parlance of the Hillary Clinton campaign, undesirables. Many feel the president embarrassed the United States.
But let’s be honest with ourselves: That ship has long since sailed. It left port 20 years ago when we found out where Bill Clinton puts his cigars. And under Trump, it has been full steam ahead. After claiming Mexico only sends us criminals, accusing China of raping our economy and calling Germany “a total mess,” we’ve gotten used to making waves overseas.
And those are just his missteps on the international scene. At home, he has mocked a disabled reporter, called CNN “fake news,” cited “alternative facts” to cushion attendance estimates at his inauguration and committed a multitude of other gaffes too numerous to mention. It’s a bit late for us to start blushing.
There’s little doubt the president is taking America down a peg in the world’s estimation. It was one thing for George W. Bush to speak English like it was his second language, but it’s quite another for Trump to call Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” and stoke a spitting contest that could incite nuclear war.
I know some readers aren’t comfortable with foul language. I could claim I’m not, either, but then my wife might share with the world her suspicion that I suffer from an undiagnosed case of Tourette syndrome. Before last week, a litany of profanities uttered in a moment of frustration — perhaps while watching the dreaded Minnesota Vikings win a playoff game in improbable fashion in the final seconds — would’ve seemed juvenile. Now it seems presidential. But perhaps I’m repeating myself.
In any event, it’s an exciting new world for those of us in media hoping to add salty language to our comedic repertoire. Just look at “Saturday Night Live,” which used Trump’s term — despite being instructed to say “s—-hole”—several times during last weekend’s broadcast, along with a few other choice words, including an F-bomb inadvertently dropped by host Sam Rockwell.
Lots of us are watching the president and following his example. It’s coarse, of course, but some of us can’t wait to see which curse will be next to get the presidential seal of approval.