Playing the victim card

Politicians are over-using the victim card while not realising how they have become the laughing stock of the ordinary man in the street

Metaphors about near-misses, stabs in the back, deathbed scenes, actual death, funerals and burial abound in Maltese – and in every other language – because death is unfortunately a common occurrence. To confuse the metaphor with the real thing and then play the victim card is the peak of puerile and naive thinking.  Nobody will take you seriously – not even your own supporters.
Metaphors about near-misses, stabs in the back, deathbed scenes, actual death, funerals and burial abound in Maltese – and in every other language – because death is unfortunately a common occurrence. To confuse the metaphor with the real thing and then play the victim card is the peak of puerile and naive thinking. Nobody will take you seriously – not even your own supporters.

Aside from the beautiful football, the victories, and the penalty shootouts the 2018 World Cup will be remembered for perhaps some of the best diving, courtesy of Brazil forward Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as Neymar.

Neymar has been accused of rolling around on the floor excessively when little or no contact appeared to have been made. His dives were so frequent and dramatic that they inspired many internet users to create all manner of memes, pouring scorn on the Brazilian. In fact, his diving – rather than his football skills – ended up providing fans with some wonderful entertainment.

It is true that, as a brilliant player, he attracts all sorts of rough treatment; but he played the victim card too often.

People quickly forgot his skills in football and turned to laughing at his skills in theatrics, more so as the Brazilian’s antics at the World Cup have inspired so many comic memes.

Some Maltese politicians seem to have taken the hint from Neymar and have been crying ‘wolf’ at every meme on the internet in their regard.

The thing is that while the use of metaphors is common to all languages, some apparently think that they do not exist in the Maltese language.

I was once told – in English – that I was too much ‘up Joseph Muscat’s arse’. Obviously, I did not understand that I was being told that I had a homosexual relationship with the Prime Minister – even though that was the implication of the literal meaning of the expression. People can be told that they should jump off a cliff, or be hanged – even shot at dawn. Such expressions are just metaphors, of course.

Translate them into Maltese and for some the idea of a metaphor disappears. They become serious threats to life and limb. Why?

Because some think that it pays for them to use the victim card by interpreting every metaphor literally and every internet meme as a serious threat.

This can end up being seen as incredibly ridiculous – or puerile – as happened to Neymar.

The trouble is that even ‘the ignorant masses’ out there realise the stupidity of such approaches and they then make more fun of whoever reacts by using the victim card. That in turn, makes the criticised politicians turn again and again to the victim card.

Not much solace in that, of course. That’s not the way to persuade ‘the ignorant masses’ to vote for you.

By now, these incidents have turned into a farce with the politicians over-using the victim card while not realising how they have become the laughing stock of the ordinary man in the street.

It is not true, of course, that the use of metaphors does not exist in the Maltese language.

Every time Valletta win the football championship, they organise two celebrations. One is a boisterous parade celebrating the victory and the other is a mock funeral as a result of the ‘death’ of the other vanquished teams. In this ‘funeral’ one can see a coffin for each team that did not get the championship... they are then laid to rest, so to speak.

I still have to see someone reporting Valletta supporters for threatening to kill the players and fans of the other teams.

Angry people metaphorically passing ‘a death sentence’ on somebody who irks and angers them is not a rare event – in any language. Such expressions are found in all languages, all over the world.

Metaphors about near-misses, stabs in the back, deathbed scenes, actual death, funerals and burial abound in Maltese – and in every other language – because death is unfortunately a common occurrence. The parallels between physical death and the death of a political career, for example, are there for everyone to see. That metaphor is a natural in any language.

When someone says Theresa May is a dead woman walking, it means that her political career will soon be over. It is not a threat to her life.

To confuse the metaphor with the real thing and then play the victim card is the peak of puerile and naive thinking.

Nobody will take you seriously – not even your own supporters.

Trump trouble

According to Huffpost, US President Donald Trump confronted one of the most dangerous moments of his presidency when two one-time members of his inner circle were found guilty of criminal charges.

It was a watershed moment in the presidency of Donald Trump. For the first time, a Trump associate was found guilty of a crime that directly implicates the President. And Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort were brought down not by evidence of Russian collusion, but by a series of tax, banking and campaign finance violations.

Proving that the President knowingly conspired with Russians to hack the Democrats’ servers, steal damaging information and leak it at politically opportune times was always going to be a challenge.

But the search for that evidence has brought to light an equally damaging revelation: Trump and his team were accustomed to breaking the law to get what they want.

The effort to win the presidential election was no different.

Cohen pleaded guilty in New York, saying he and Trump had arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election.

It is the Cohen case that places Trump in quite a tight spot according to legal experts, as the longtime personal “fixer” acknowledged his role in a scheme to pay off women who accused the future president of sexual misconduct.

Cohen’s guilty plea effectively makes Trump an unindicted co-conspirator.

When President Richard Nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator by a grand jury, he opted to resign instead of facing impeachment proceedings. However, Trump seems unlikely to step down.

By Wednesday morning, Trump was praising Manafort as a “brave man” and bashing Cohen as someone he would not recommend to anyone in search of a good lawyer.

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