To put it mildly, social media have impacted our culture in widespread and somewhat disturbing ways. One of the cultural areas infected…I mean affected by social media is language. You know it’s gotten too far when Grandma says spells out OMG in response to anything.
After the 2020 Presidential election, Leftists have found a new way to refer to former President Donald Trump: TFG, or The Former Guy. Yes, the geniuses who gave us Faux News (not quite the burn the Left thinks it is if you know how to pronounce “faux”), GQP, and DeathSantis have come up with another term to describe/dismiss someone they hate. Whether it works is subject to how close to the Leftist hivemind you are.
Now, time to put a bit more thought into the term than the Left have.
What the Left thinks it means – a way to refer to Trump without mentioning his name because it annoys him
What it really means – the new way the Left tries to “otherize” Trump because he annoyed the Left
Back in the days of the Soviet Union, the Russians perfected the art of rewriting history when it came to troublesome countrymen, no matter how high-up they were with the Party. Photographs would be altered, history would be changed, and the troublesome person would be made not to exist. As much as the Left would love to wipe out the last four years, it’s hard since the object of their derisions was so public.
When faced with that obstacle, they figured out the next best thing, at least to them: refer to him as TFG. That way Trump doesn’t get mentioned, but those in the know get a clear message of who the original poster was talking about. In the Left’s hivemind, it deprives Trump of what he wants (publicity). And it gives them a little perverse joy in the process, so that’s good, right?
Yeah, not so much.
Even though they’re not mentioning Trump by name, the fact remains he’s still on their mind. (And, no, that’s not a typo.) I believe the term is “living rent-free.” The more the Left obsesses about Trump, no matter what they call him, the more it’s not going to matter. There’s a new President to deal with, and if your previous attempts to go after Trump are any indication, even a ham sandwich would be able to beat your indictments. There is zero upside to the Left’s tactic here. It doesn’t move the needle to get people to support them, wastes time (and brain cells), and can be easily disregarded by the intended target.
That leaves only one other possible reason the Left refers to Trump as TFGL they want to be communists. Okay, I’m only half-joking about that. What I mean is the Left wants to adopt the Soviet method and erase Trump from history. Using TFG as often as they do, they think it will accomplish that, but instead it will “otherize” him.
There is a tendency among some people to turn ideological opponents into either non-entities or the worst possible people in the world. In either case, the targets of such an approach are “otherized.” Unfortunately, it’s not limited to Leftists. Many politically-minded people do this to characterize anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their political mindset as the next coming of Hitler, but meaner. Sometimes the characterizations are on the money, but most of the time they don’t. That’s the problem with assumptions: they make an ass out of u and mptions.
The other problem with “otherizing” people is it dehumanizes them. As much as the Left hates Trump and wants him to go away, he’s still a human being. A flawed, loud, and at times boorish human being, but a human being all the same. When you treat someone like they don’t deserve an iota of respect, that you detest his or her very existence, it stimulates a darker part of your psyche, one that allows you not to feel anything when something bad happens to them. The Germans call it schadenfreude. I call it being a heartless dick, which could apply to a few Germans if you really think about it.
Seriously, though, “otherizing” people reflects on the hatred and ignorance of the people doing it. And before any Leftists reading this say “But you’re doing it, you hypocrite,” you may be right to a point. The only difference is I don’t hate Leftists. I think they’re wrong and power-mad, but I can’t bring myself to hate them like they hate me for two reasons: 1) I recognize their humanity, and 2) I’m getting too old to hate others. Hate takes up a lot of energy and it gives the person or thing you hate a level of control over you.
So, by reducing Trump to three letters, Leftists are unwittingly admitting he controls them. Of course, to anyone paying attention over the past 4-5 years already know that, but it’s always nice when the Left acts accordingly.
The way to respond to Leftists using TFG is to repurpose it. Each letter can be used to express an alternate and opposite intention. While the Left uses it to refer to “The Former Guy,” why not agree because it means “Trump’s Great, Friend” or “Terrific, Great, and Fantastic” to you? You can come up with your own versions, but by using a little intellectual ju-jitsu, it can turn a negative into a positive.
Plus, it will confuse or anger Leftists, so…win-win!