Sam Smith – Early this year Sarah Sloat, in Inverse, reported that a “2016 analysis found that Trump’s grammar was roughly at the fifth-grade level. While most GOP candidates used words and grammar on the campaign trail that would be associated with students in grades six through eight, Trump’s were deemed the most immature, the researchers write. An analysis by The New York Times found that Trump frequently repeats the same divisive words — like ‘stupid,’ “horrible,’ and ‘weak.’”
Yesterday afternoon – thanks to advice from my nine year old granddaughter – I saw a movie – Wonder – which definitively proves that Trump is not up to the fifth grade level. The film tells the story of Auggie Pullman, a fifth grader with a facial deformity he describes as “mandibulofacial dysostosis,” which Trump probably couldn’t even pronounce.
Auggie, who had been well home-schooled before joining a regular fifth grade, had to deal with bullying, disparaging comments and the other hazards of atypical youth.
On its own it is a moving, enjoyable and in no way trite film, but as I watched it after nearly two years ot Trumpish lies, hyperbole, and ignorance, I had this strange emotional reaction of what might be called jamais vu – never seen – as opposed to the more familiar – déjà vu – or already seen.
I realized I was watching a fading saga of anger, abuse, fear and hazard transforming itself into friendship, decency and, yes – if we haven’t forgotten the word – apology. In one instance as reported by Wikipedia:
[Auggie] overhears his best friend Jack telling Auggie’s bully Julian and his friends that he would “kill himself” if he looked like Auggie. Feeling hurt and betrayed by Jack, Auggie decides to quit school, but his older sister Olivia (also known as “Via” by her family), convinces him not to.
In science class, Auggie and Jack are assigned as partners for a project. When Julian asks the teacher if he could be Jack’s partner instead, Jack declines. But when Julian calls Auggie a “freak,” Jack punches Julian in the face leading to a fist fight. Mr. Browne and Ms. Petosa break up the fight, and as a result, Jack is suspended for two days for his actions. Knowing that Julian would get them both in trouble for bad-mouthing Auggie, Jack refuses to tell Mr. Tushman what happened. Jack sincerely apologizes to Auggie, saying he didn’t mean to say the stuff he said about Auggie, and they become friends again.
In short, this fifth grad perp was able to achieve something totally beyond the intellectual and moral capacity of our president and his gang. This is in part because real fifth graders know that life is not just about saying the right words but about doing the right things. And when you fail at the latter, you still have a chance to set it straight.
By the end of the film I had this strange dream that somehow the Trumpistas could be assigned to Mr. Tushman’s school to learn not just to speak at a fifth grader level but to have the soul and conscience of Auggie and his classmates. But I’m afraid it would take far more than a two day suspension at the White House to make it work.