Among Donald Trump’s favorite rhetorical moves, there is the boast and the insult. He is likely to use both tonight in the CNN debate. It’s gonna be huge!
It’s easy to see how the boast and the insult go hand in hand. Boasting builds me up, and the insult knocks you down.
It turns out that these moves are ancient, and they work. They worked for epic poets, Shakespeare, and countless other authors. They also work for modern smack talkers in all forms of competition:
For Muhammad Ali against Joe Frazier:
For Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and most other professional wrestlers (of whom Mr. Trump thinks he is one):
For Eminem in the great rap competition that ends the movie “Eight Mile”:
The insult works because it is highly entertaining. Read more