False Balance (or, Fun With Amphibrachs!)

Political writing is hard to decipher;
It’s taking some effort—I’m trying!
I note the gymnastics reporters engage in,
Avoiding the phrase “Trump is lying”
They try to play fair; it’s a hopeless endeavor:
“He misrepresents what she’s saying”
The proper translation of Trump’s elocution:
“The Tangerine Jackass is braying!”
Reporters are fighting reflexive defenses—
Which, frequently, Trump can elicit—
But really, his lies need near constant addressing;
By ducking, the press are complicit!

I’m nowhere near the first to note the attempts at “both sides do it”, when politifact can find Clinton one of the most honest politicians, and Trump not “one of the” worst, but the worst in a class by himself… when the Clinton foundation is rated A by Charitywatch and Trump’s foundation is (shall I be charitable?) not…when decades of tax returns contrast with none, when… you know, I suspect my readership has seen all of this before, so I’ll just shut up.

So, the other reason I wrote this is that amphibrachs get no respect. “Iambic pentameter” gets the credit even when it isn’t either iambic nor pentametric… Anapests, they get some shout-outs. Dactyls even have their own double-dactyl verse form. Trochees get very little respect, but I did, years ago, refuse to make a suggested edit because it would require a trocheeotomy. But amphibrachs? Dr. Seuss used them, sometimes. A few others did. Not a lot…and now that nobody uses rhyming verse and consistent meter, amphibrachs are doomed.

Not here at the ‘fish. This verse is (well, to my ear, after too much pinot) relatively consistent amphibrachic tetrameter-trimeter. It started out as 8 lines, but 4 more insinuated themselves (they swore me to secrecy, so I won’t say which) as I was typing.

Oh, and, dammit, media, call a lie a lie! Even if you have to do it more than average for Sec. Clinton by a small factor, and more than average for Trump by an astronomical figure. Or if you must rein things in, do so proportionally!

This is the presidency. Take it seriously.


  1. StevoR says

    Take the Presidency seriously?

    Yeah. Problem is there’s a real joke candidate running and the problem with political jokes is they sometimes get elected which in this case would be not funny at all but catastrophic globally. So yeah. Not funny republicans, not funny at all.

    Also your poem here – truth as usual. Well writ.

  2. Die Anyway says

    I saw Tangerine Jackass at Monterey Pop in 1970. I was really into psychedelic but their vulgarity on stage was kind of a turn-off.

    And, I was expecting amphibrach to be some sort of marine creature.

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