The entrance of Donald Trump into politics has tested the media in ways they could never have imagined just two and half years ago.
Having thought that the two end-points of the pendulum were the simplistic ways of George Dubya, and the poetic, intelligent speeches of Barack Obama, journalists had become used to operating in a certain way, and tailored their reactions to events accordingly.
However - as you may have spotted yourself - along came Donald J. Trump to set a bomb off under the whole thing, with journalists struggling to work out how on earth to deal with his unusual style which, when written down, often made very little sense, his constant, easily-disprovable lying, and his own repeated attacks on their work as ‘fake news’.
Not only this, journalists have had to deal with the blow to their egos which came from their triumphant fact-checking and righteous condemnations of the Donald being roundly ignored by the American public, which voted him in anyway despite - or perhaps because of - their preaching.
In the year since he came to power, he has shattered all journalistic conventions, and the media has struggled to cope - even now, every time you think that the bar has been lowered, it gets winched down an extra inch or two with the latest scarely believable outburst from the presidential Twitter account.
And it’s not just the content of the missives: it’s the distinct unpresidential language used. How exactly to report, on mainstream media channels, that the president has boasted of grabbing women by the pussy? What about calling an NFL anthem protester a ‘son of a bitch’? And now Trump, apparently referring to Haiti and African countries, saying: “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?”
Some outlets decided to censor shithole, some didn’t. But it also presented a peculiar problem for non-English speaking media: how on earth to translate this remark?
Well, in a hilarious fashion, it turns out.
How various Japanese media outlets struggled to translate Trump's slur:— Nick Kapur (@nick_kapur) January 12, 2018
Asahi: 便所のような国 = restroom-like countries
Reuters: 不潔な諸国 = unsanitary nations
Nikkei: 肥だめの国 = countries not fit to be fertilizer
Okay, so the last one is really more like "night soil storage pit countries."— Nick Kapur (@nick_kapur) January 12, 2018
There are words in Japanese that come very close to what Trump said. It's not that they do not exist. They are simply not mentioned. It's a form of denial.— maggi marasingha (@maggishade) January 12, 2018
I love it. “Manure Kingdom”. Essentially what America is becoming under Trump, the shithole President.— Tom Flynn (@Artnose) January 12, 2018
Barren Mountains and Evil Waters is quite poetic isn’t it?
Maybe we all underestimated Trump: he’s practically Wordsworth.