We Need a Mathematics for Obsequiousness

We Need a Mathematics for Obsequiousness

Since Trump scores his cabinet, Congress, and reporters on their obsequiousness, we are in dire need of a scale to measure this.  We also need to add questions on standard requests for government jobs or campaign endorsements on this.

Before we start, we have to have substitutes for the words “obsequious” and “obsequiousness”.  I regret not being able to think of substitutes in my articles.  CNN used obsequious to describe Trump’s performance at the news conference with President and Comrade Putin.  Senator Schumer used “kowtowing” in his comments.  Of course, I looked up “obsequious” in the online Thesaurus.com.  Its definition is groveling or submissive.

There are many synonyms, and then the Thesaurus follows many of them with their further synonyms.  I hate to type such a long list, but it will be a service to other interviewers, reporters and commenters.  The main reason we need a substitute is that “obsequious” is so hard to spell.  Here is the list, and I star the ones with the real meaning applied to Trump supplicants:

Abject, beggarly*, complacent, compliant, cringing*, deferential, fawning*, flattering*, ingratiating*, menial, obeisant*, oily, prostate*, respectful, servile**, slavish*, spineless*, subject, submissive*, subordinate, compliable*, crouching*, enslaved**, kowtowing*, parasitical*, sniveling**, stipendiary?, sycophantic**, toadying**.

Antonyms, meaning the opposite of, which is reserved for the rare few, retiring or retired:  presumptuous, confident*, brazen*, assertive*, arrogant.

Now for the mathematics.  We need categories of evaluation, a counting scheme, relative weighting of categories, originality points, sincerity points, and a total.  Then we need a set of auditors to follow the execution of Trump’s executive orders, the “so let it be done” part, following the “so let it be written” part.  There is also the news raters following news appearances of the toadys.

The starting category would be the hand shake:  length of time, shoving arm back and forth, not smirking, but especially not giving in to the desire to crush Trump’s hand and end the embarrassment.

The shoulder pat:  being able to take them as if you were a little boy or girl, without giving them back.  Double scores if you let Trump pretend to remove dandruff from your shoulder, without showing anger at him.

The list of adjectives:  he loves “amazing”, since it’s the only one he knows.  The first one scores one point, the second 2, the next 4, and so on, since Trump loves doubling down.

Phrases:  Trump loves:  Greatest President of All Time.  Or, Greatest Anywhere.  Double that is Greatest of All Time.  Double even that is Greatest Anywhere of All Time.

If you get to play golf with Trump, neglecting each Mulligan scores points.

Purposely missing a putt if you are ahead also scores points.

Ignoring his driving on the green scores points, but if you do it, you lose 10 points.

If applying for a Supreme Court Justice nomination, having a speech or opinion on the record that the President should never be inconvenienced by a hearing or trial for any crime is a must.

The Mathematics of Obsequity also needs a Tree Calculus.  Since Trump is obsequious to Putin, all those subservient to Trump are second level to Putin, and so on down the line. 

Scott Pruitt, former Destructor of the EPA, was triply obsequious, both to Trump, and to Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm, and to Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe.  As such, he earned 15 get-out-of-jail-free cards, but used them all up.  His replacement is a coal lobbyist, trained by Inhofe.  Another 15?

Those who ignore the laws of the Math of Obsequity are doomed to failure. 

Those who can follow it, may last a few months longer.  As in the nursery rhyme: 

Ring-a-round the rosie,

A pocket full of posies,

Ashes!  Ashes!

We all fall down.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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