Gnostic crash blossom

« previous post | next post »

"Does Donald Trump support matter?", Special Report w/ Bret Baier, Fox News 2/2/2012. John Crowley's reponse:

Well what's the alternative, thought I.  Denouncing matter?  Indifference to matter?   The Gnostics used to argue over it…

Obligatory screen shot:


  1. kamo said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

    There's a hair joke somewhere here, surely?

  2. JW said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

    I've always suspected that he was anti-matter.


  3. John Roth said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

    I'm not sure I'd call this a crash blossom. It seems to be missing an 's, making it a simple mistake. That is:

    Does Donald Trump's support matter?

    It's not like there isn't enough space on the line for the additional two characters.

  4. Roger said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

    Does Donald Trump support matter?

    No, it's turtles all the way down.

  5. Kevin said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

    I read it as 'Is Donald Trump unsubstantial?' Had it been 'Is Donald Trump insubstantial?', I would have clearly answered yes; however, 'unsubstantial' gave me pause.

    [I wonder whether my internal definitions are consistent with common usage, though. I tend to read 'insubstantial' as roughly 'slightly substantial' while 'unsubstantial' is 'not at all substantial' or, in this case, 'not corporeal'.]

  6. maidhc said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

    This anti-science rhetoric is getting out of hand.

  7. John S. Wilkins said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

    Clearly Trump is a Theravada Buddhist, and thinks all appearances of matter are illusory. Only the dharma of money matters.

  8. Jonathan Badger said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

    What's particular amusing in John Crowley finding this is that not only is he interested in language (he's an occasionally poster of comments here), but that his novels deal with the topic of gnosticism.

  9. Q. Pheevr said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

    What's support matter, and why would Donald trump it?

  10. Faldone said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

    What's support matter, and why would Donald trump it?

    This would work if all the words in the hed were capitalized:

    Does Donald Trump Support Matter?

  11. D.O. said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

    I thought that the word matter should be prone to create crash blossoms frequently and looked through couple of pages of Google News. Probably my hypothesis is bunk, but here are some interesting examples (alas, not crash blossoms).
    Balochistan issue a matter of ‘grave concern’
    Words matter in Penn State perjury case
    ‘They’re Treating Us Like We Don’t Matter, Like We’re Nothing’

  12. D.O. said,

    February 4, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    Last two links do not show up properly. Let me try again.

    Words matter in Penn State perjury case

    ‘They’re Treating Us Like We Don’t Matter, Like We’re Nothing’

  13. Jerry Friedman said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 12:02 am

    @Jonathan Badger: I was going to say I enjoyed seeing the great writer John Crowley mentioned here, but since you say he comments here sometimes, I suppose I shouldn't embarrass him.

  14. SimonMH said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 2:45 am

    It's simple: there's a bridge player called Donald, who has supported his partner's overcall, but his trump holding is insubstantial.

  15. DMajor said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 2:53 am

    Why should he? He can afford to pay someone to support it for him.

  16. Geoff Bolton said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 3:53 am

    No trump (fart) can support matter, Donald's or anyone else's. We all know the consequences if it does.

  17. Sili said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 7:05 am

    Clearly Trump is a Theravada Buddhist, and thinks all appearances of matter are illusory.

    To quote Johnson: "I refute it thus." *kicks blog*

  18. SlideSF said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 7:08 am

    For that matter, does Donald Trumps position on matter even matter?

  19. Mr Punch said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    At least we know that Madonna is firmly in the pro-matter camp.

  20. UK Lawyer said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    I didn't know he wore a jockstrap. Does it matter?

  21. MattF said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    The Combover of Maya.

  22. Nelida said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    Couldn't matter less, whether DT supports matter or not…
    There is indeed a missing apostrophe-s missing, as John Roth says above, but that absence is precisely what turns the utterance into a crash blossom – and the target of so much witty commentary. Nice.

  23. Harlow Wilcox said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    Here's a funny one from the Chicago Tribune:,0,3293914.story

    "Alabama Police Shoot Dead Fugitive Cop Killer" Is this anything like beating a dead horse?

  24. David Udin said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    Question: is this remarkably short for a crash blossom? And I certainly don't contest its status as a crash blossom, because my first reaction to it was "the right-wing anti-science stance is getting out of hand".

  25. Christopher Henrich said,

    February 5, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

    … or does he prefer energy?

  26. rone said,

    February 6, 2012 @ 12:08 am

    I'm surprised that nobody's made the "Yes, but not dark matter" joke.

  27. Anthea Fleming said,

    February 6, 2012 @ 4:12 am

    Happy recollections of an ad for Guinness – a scientist with a lump of something and the query "What is matter, and does it?"
    Answer "This is matter and it doesn't." Picks up tankard.
    "This is Guinness and it does!"
    Appeared in British magazines, in Punch, in 1950s.
    No, I don't own any shares in Guinness, worse luck.

  28. richard howland-bolton said,

    February 6, 2012 @ 7:31 am

    What is mind? No matter.
    What is matter? Never mind!
    As they say

  29. A grisly crash blossom « Sentence first said,

    February 8, 2012 @ 7:39 am

    […] are more crash blossoms here, at Language Log (including the recent gem "Does Donald Trump support matter?"), and on the Crash Blossoms blog. Advertisement […]

  30. Chris said,

    February 8, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    Here's a funny one from Jezebel:

    "Fox News Apologizes To Jews After Insinuating They Killed Jesus"

  31. Does Donald Trump support matter? said,

    February 8, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    […] (Also found on Language Log) […]

  32. Chris Waters said,

    February 9, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    For the physicists in the audience, an old parody that switches the meaning of matter in the same way, compared to its original:

    Oh dear, where can the matter beWhen it's converted to energy?There is a slight loss of parity.Johnny's so long at the fair.

    For some reason, I find this particular example of polysemy a fascinating one. Meaning both "physical substance" and "has importance" seems to contradict some stereotypes of ancient worldview. What's that you say? Materialism isn't purely a modern invention? Well, blow me down! :)

    The fact that it is (according to the most popular theory) derived from L. mater (mother) seems a bit bizarre as well. "Does it really mother?" "What's the mother?" "Mind over mother."

RSS feed for comments on this post