Wordplay IV: (Mostly) Politics Edition


In this series, I have highlighted headlines that are cleverly expressed, making use of puns, irony, figurative language, or unexpected word choices to grab a reader’s attention. Not surprisingly, the Trump administration has so unabashedly flouted all sorts of political conventions that headline writers have felt freer to write headlines that during previous administrations might have seemed unnecessarily flippant or unjustifiably disrespectful.


“Affirmative Re-Action.”

[Vox Sentences Daily Newsletter. 2 Aug. 2017.]

“’Are You a Paedophile?’ Philippine President Duterte Questions Human Rights Boss over Youth Concerns.”

[Title of article on the adolescent victims of Duterte’s anti-drug campaign being conducted largely by vigilante groups. In the Morning Newsletter from ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 17 Sep. 2017.]

“The Atlantic Confirms It: We Are Living in a Kakistocracy.”

[Daily Kos Recommended Daily Newsletter. 11 Oct. 2017.]

“Bannon Fodder.”

[ThinkProgress Daily Newsletter. 19 Aug. 2017.]

“The Barcelona Attack and the Vicious Redundancy of the New Normal.”

[Article by Paul Rogers for OpenDemocracy.net. 18 Aug. 2017.]

“Before long we may have more Elvis imitators than Elvis fans.”

[Observation in “Elvis 40 Years On: The King Is Dead—Long Live What’s His Name,” an article written by Malcolm Jones for the Daily Beast. 20 Aug. 2017.]

“Bland Ambition.”

[Article by Sarah Allison on Jared and Ivanka Kushner. Vanity Fair Oct. 2017.]

“Cam Newton’s Fumbled Apology.”

[The Daily Good Daily Newsletter, referring to Carolina Panthers’ quarterback’s expressing surprise that a female reporter would ask about receivers’ routes using football slang. 6 Oct. 2017.]

“Cuckoo D’Etat: The Lunatics Have Taken over the Asylum.”

[Article by Randall Amster for Common Dreams. 16 Aug. 2017.]

“Don Lemon Unloads on Trump’s Rally—‘What We Have Witnessed Here Is a Total Eclipse of the Facts.”

[Article by Walter Einenkel for Daily Kos. 23 Aug. 2017.]

“Everything Is Stupid and It Doesn’t Look like There’s Any Smart on the Horizon.”

[Article by Jim Jamitis for RedState. 19 Aug. 2017.]

“The Fault Is in Our Czars.”

[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter, referring to the withdrawal of Tom Marino’s nomination to be the nation’s next Drug Czar. 17 Oct. 2017.]

“Has the Alt-Right Met Its Gettysburg?”

[Article by Spenser Sunshine for Truthout. 26 Aug. 2017.]

“He’s a McCainiac, McCainiac, on the (Senate) Floor.”

[Vox Sentences Daily Newsletter. 22 Sep. 2017.]

“How Trump Makes Fact Sausage Out of Confusion Meat.”

[The Slatest Daily Newsletter. 16 Oct. 2017.]

“It’s Time for the Lost Cause of the South to Get Lost: Begone with the Wind.”

[Article by Jack Schwartz for the Daily Beast. 19 Aug. 2017.]

“Loose Bannon.”

[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter. 19 Aug. 2017.]

“’Madman’ vs. ‘Dotard.’”

[The Week Daily Newsletter. 22 Sep. 2017.]

“A Man’s Home Is His Manafort.”

[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter. 9 Aug. 2017.]

“McCain’t Going to Happen.”

[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter. 22 Sep. 2017.]

“Moore-Strange Developments in Alabama.”

[Vox Sentences Daily Newsletter. 26 Sep. 2017.]

“Mueller It Over.”

[Atlantic Daily Newsletter. 3 Aug. 2017.]

“Party of Lincoln Returns to Its Pro-Confederacy Roots.”

[HuffPost Hill Daily Newsletter. 15 Aug. 2017.]

“Paying the Price.”

[Atlantic Daily Newsletter, referring to the controversy surrounding Tom Price’s extensive use of private jets. 29 Sep. 2017.]

“The Price Is Wrong.”

[Chris Cilizza’s The Point Daily Newsletter, 29 Sep. 2017.]


[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter. 29 Sep. 2017.]

“Public Displays of Art-fection.”

[Newcity Chicago Daily Newsletter. 6 Oct. 2017.]

“Puerto Ricans Ready as Trump Finally Makes Landfall.”

[The Daily Beast: Politics Newsletter. 3 Oct. 2017.]


[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter, referring to Rand Paul’s opposition to the Graham-Cassidy “repeal and replace” bill. 25 Sep. 2017.]

“’Repeal and Go Fuck Yourself’ Is in Full Effect.”

[Esquire Daily Newsletter. 21 Sep. 2017.]

“Reveal and Replace.”

[Atlantic Daily Newsletter. 21 Sep. 2017.]

“Rex Post Facto.”

[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter. 4 Oct. 2017.]

“Rocket Man vs. Mentally Deranged Dotard.”

[LA Progressive Daily Newsletter. 23 Sep. 2017.]

“Steve Bannon Believed in Trumpism. Donald Trump Doesn’t.”

[Article for Ezra Klein for Vox. 18 Aug. 2017.]


[The Smart Set Weekly Newsletter. 26 Sep. 2017.]

“Tears for Las Vegas and Paper Towels for Puerto Rico.”

[Common Dreams: Your Week in Review Newsletter. 7 Oct. 2017.]

“This Leaked Government Video Warns Staffers Not to Leak.”

[IB Times Newsletter. 4 Oct. 2017.]

“Too Mooch Too Soon.”

[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter. 31 July 2017.]

“Trump: UNESCO? UNES-no!”

[Vox Sentences Daily Newsletter. 12 Oct. 2017.]

“The Trump Economy Is Gilded Mediocrity.”

[Article by Eric Lavitz for New York Magazine. 20 Aug. 2017.]

“Trump Names Sarah Palin Ambassador to Nambia.”

[New Yorker Daily Newsletter. 22 Sep. 2017.]

“Trump’s Arizona Ego Trip.”

[Article by Peter Weber for The Week. 23 Aug. 2017.]

“Trump’s Phoenix Rally: Whines, Rants, and the Sweet, Sweet Sound of Mindless Rage.”

[Article by Mark Sumner for Daily Kos. 23 Aug. 2017.]


[Atlantic Politics and Policy Daily Newsletter. On Trump’s feud with Senator Bob Corker. 11 Oct. 2017.]

“Wandering Jew Starts.”

[Announcement on Our University “Announce” List, from a staff member wintering her Wandering Jew plants and offering to provide starts to anyone who wants them. 12 Oct. 2017.]

“What Is Dead May Never Die.”

[In Progress Daily Newsletter from the Center for American Progress, on the GOP’s continuing attempts to revive “repeal and replace.” 29 Sep. 2017.]

“When the Incompetent Hire the Malevolent.”

[On the filling of key positions in the Department of Education under DeVos. Diane Ravitch’s Blog. 31 Aug. 2017.]

“White House’s ‘We Don’t Much Care for Brown Folks Week’ Going Okay.”

[HuffPost Hill Daily Newsletter. 2 Aug. 2017.]

“Why No Eclipse Denialists? The Same Science Predicts Global Heating.”

[Article by Juan Cole for Informed Comment. 21 Aug. 2017.]


Previous Posts in This Series:

Wordplay I: https://academeblog.org/2013/04/01/wordplay-i/.

Wordplay II: https://academeblog.org/2015/05/30/wordplay-ii/.

Wordplay III: Politics Edition: https://academeblog.org/2017/08/11/wordplay-iii-politics-edition/.


Posts in a Related Series:

Can Reality Be an Oxymoron? Post1https://academeblog.org/2013/08/21/can-reality-be-an-oxymoron/.

Can Reality Be an Oxymoron? Post 2: https://academeblog.org/2013/12/18/can-reality-be-an-oxymoron-part-2/.

Can Reality Be an Oxymoron? Post 3: https://academeblog.org/2015/12/24/can-reality-be-an-oxymoron-3/.

Can Reality Be an Oxymoron? Post 4: https://academeblog.org/2016/09/03/can-reality-be-an-oxymoron-4/.


Posts in Another Related Series:

The Neologist’s Notebook, Post 1: https://academeblog.org/2016/01/20/the-neologists-notebook-1/.


2 thoughts on “Wordplay IV: (Mostly) Politics Edition

  1. Pingback: Wordplay IV: (Mostly) Politics Edition | Stuff for a Slow Day

  2. Pingback: Wordplay IV: (Mostly) Politics Edition | Ohio Politics

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