Friday, September 8, 2017

An Eggcorn for White Supremacy

I can't figure out how to embed this BBC video, so you'll just have to watch it on Twitter.

In it, a woman named Theresa Hong is interviewed inside the former offices of the Trump campaign's Project Alamo. She says she was Donald Trump's primary ghost writer for Facebook during the campaign (though he wrote his own tweets). When asked how she got his voice right, she says she relied on lots of "Believe me"s, not to mention some "very"s and "actually"s.

The social media crew was co-officed with a group called Cambridge Analytica, which crunched a ton of demographic and psychographic data to figure out how to spend $85 million on social media, primarily Facebook. The ads ranged from Trumpish rants to soft pitches aimed at moms with young children. Many were meant to depress turnout among Trump opponents by portraying Hillary Clinton as not worth voting for (for instance, reminding black voters of HRC's super-predator statement from the 1990s).

All of this is eyebrow-raising enough, but the thing I want to call attention to is an eggcorn that rolls easily off of Ms. Hong's tongue. The BBC interviewer starts it by asking her, “What were Facebook and Google and YouTube people actually doing here? Why were they here?” She responds,

They were helping us, you know, they were basically our hands-on partners as far as being able to utilize the platform as effectively as possible. When you're pumping in millions and millions of dollars to these social platforms, you're going to get white club treatment. So they would send people, you know representatives, to Project Alamo to ensure all our needs were being met.
Wow, get that? She thinks the phrase "white glove treatment" is "white club treatment." And in her case, that's a perfect example of an eggcorn, which is not just any slip of the tongue. Rather,
The crucial element is that the new form makes sense: for anyone except lexicographers or other people trained in etymology, more sense than the original form in many cases (emphasis added).

Other stories written about Project Alamo while it was in operation or shortly after the election. I don't remember noticing any of these stories:

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