You can find a huge collection of these in the Jargon File (highly recommended reading, but you are warned that you will lose hours reading through this). Looking at the Donald Trump phenomenon, one of these sayings came to mind:
I think that Trump entered the campaign in a ha-ha-only-serious way: an ironic joke with a hard core of disquieting truth. He was the only one on the stage who would say what the Political Class refused to say but what a large part of the Republic believed in their heart of hearts - but were not permitted to say in "polite society" because shut up, hater.
ha ha only serious [from SF fandom, orig. as mutation of HHOK, ‘Ha Ha Only Kidding’] A phrase (often seen abbreviated as HHOS) that aptly captures the flavor of much hacker discourse. Applied especially to parodies, absurdities, and ironic jokes that are both intended and perceived to contain a possibly disquieting amount of truth, or truths that are constructed on in-joke and self-parody. This lexicon contains many examples of ha-ha-only-serious in both form and content. Indeed, the entirety of hacker culture is often perceived as ha-ha-only-serious by hackers themselves; to take it either too lightly or too seriously marks a person as an outsider, a wannabee, or in larval stage. For further enlightenment on this subject, consult any Zen master. See also hacker humor, and koan.
And every time he opens his mouth and emits what the Political Class deems to be a "gaffe", his poll numbers go up. I don't think that anyone understands this, including Trump. However, half of having luck is getting yourself in a position where you can be lucky, and my opinion is that Trump is almost certainly too opportunistic to let an opportunity like this pass.
I'm not the only one who seems to think this way. Heartiste (WARNING!!! Site is extremely non politically correct and many people - including perhaps all of my Lady Readers - are very likely to be offended by other posts there. This post is entirely safe except for Democrats) posts an email tip that he received from someone claiming insider knowledge about Trumps campaign:
I just got told by a friend that Trump hired the former lawfirm of the RNC.There's a lot more about how this is very, very different from the way that the GOP Establishment runs campaigns. If true, it may be game changing - it would certainly be very difficult for the Political Class to combat this. Heartiste comments:
Why does this matter?
Word on the street in Chattanooga (where Trump has and retains many high end connections) is that Trump went into the campaign with two intentions.
One was to ‘shake things up’.
The second was to raise his profile with Chinese investors for fund raising for a new casino.
He really didn’t intend to get big numbers in the US and didn’t intend to actually ‘go for the goal.’ Which was why he came in with no primary ground game. He didn’t intend to even get 5%.
With the recent success the question was ‘what now?’ Go for closing the deal or back out? Some of his more inflammatory comments were tests to see if he could flame out. And his poll numbers just rise.
If he has retained a political lawfirm it can only be to create a ground game.
I don’t doubt Trump entered this race thinking he couldn’t win, and that his initial motivation was partly narcissistic (in fact all politicians are narcissists to a degree), partly self-aggrandizement. But then he saw that he could win, and that he had tapped a deep well of dissatisfaction among people by simply speaking his mind the way he likes to speak (i.e., not like a weeping p***y).The level of dissatisfaction with the Political Class in this country is at epidemic proportions. The Political Class has assumed that if they offer the populace no real choice, that they can continue with their binge of crony capitalism and keep getting away with their lies. And now someone has tapped into that dissatisfaction in a way that they may not be able to thwart.
Is this a good thing? Beats me - he seems a bit Caesarish for my taste. But the screams of the Political Class (including the media, but I repeat myself) are deafening. Remember, it's the kicked dog that yelps, and I have precisely zero sympathy for any of them.
The Dinosaurs sniff a change on the breeze and roar their defiance.