Lincoln’s Sense of Humor by Richard Carwardine - review by Tim Stanley

Tim Stanley


Lincoln’s Sense of Humor


Southern Illinois University Press 184pp $24.95 order from our bookshop

Donald Trump is a satirist. He knows he’s preposterous and annoying, and he uses these qualities to troll his opponents. For example, when thousands of women marched on 20 January in protest against the misogynist-in-chief, Trump tweeted that he was grateful for their support. His fans laughed: the old man was playing the fool again. Others thought he was being deadly serious. BuzzFeed wrote that it ‘wasn’t clear’ if he was ‘oblivious to the meaning of the march’ or ‘simply being facetious’. Harper’s Bazaar accused him of trying to ‘co-opt’ the women. The joke had apparently sailed right over their heads.

The use of laughter as a political weapon might be the only thing that connects Trump to Abraham Lincoln. Because we chiefly remember Lincoln for the Civil War, emancipation and being assassinated at Ford’s Theatre, all sober subjects, history has forgotten that one of his strengths was his sense

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