In the immortal words of our overlord Donald Trump: covfefe. But what does this expressive and nonsensical word/ declaration seek to convey? Is it an echo of the purposelessness associated with the fidget spinner? Or perhaps an allusion to the millennial obsession with over-priced take away coffee? Or ultimately, is covfefe a horrific title of the modern nihilist? An exposé directed toward the oblivion that is life’s meaningless taunts.
Covfefe, pronounced cov-fe-fe, has sparked international debate surrounding its meaning as applicable to a people in crisis. Experts have claimed it is a method of deterring the public from other more monumental world issues, such as the US federal government’s decision to drop out of the Paris agreement at the beginning of June. Conservatives, however, have argued that it was simply a typo for the word ‘coverage’, due to the pitiful size of Trump’s infamously small hands. And to obscure the message or lack thereof behind this controversy, press secretary Sean Spicer told journalists in a conference that day that “the president and a small group of people know exactly what it meant.” Trump even cloyingly encouraged the public to ruminate over the origin of this word, later tweeting: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’??? Enjoy!” Insinuating that the public find pleasure in the search for truth. But simply by analysing the two words together in standard proximity, it is blindingly obvious that the typo theory is missing some crucial element in its thesis, and that rather, the Supreme Leader is sending us a message, a warning. Here, he foreshadows and epitomises the people’s struggle in reaching and attaining meaning in a world that seems out of touch, and a news cycle progressively more impossible to follow for the average audience member.
Although historians will undoubtedly endeavour to define covfefe in its pure form, it cannot be constrained into a simplistic definition. Just as the Dadaists of 1915-1922 believed it to be un-dadaist to define dada, covfefe is a culmination of paradox, contradictions and concepts far beyond the threshold of human thought and comprehension. The Dadaist’s intention was to taunt the bourgeoisie; Trump aims to taunt the nation, the ivory tower elite, the press — he is depicting his control of language, of the written word in all its numerous forms. Trump here is struggling to undermine the press whilst ultimately undermining himself in the process; he is the spider creating an intricate web of contradictions. Trump exposes himself as a Dadaist. His symbol is nothingness, and is spitting on everything, including himself—he epitomises this vacuum, the void that ultimately consumes the human soul. Covfefe defies intentions of clarity, painting information and knowledge as a pharmaceutical product of systemic consumerism, an attack on the poison of the known, or as Trump calls it: fake news. Ultimately, covfefe is a state of mind. It seeks to express something which there is no established language to convey. Trump embodies Shakespearian modes of creative inventiveness, harnessing the written word that he seemed to decry in alternate ways to establish his defiance of stagnation and methods of precedence. Although inevitably the public will laugh, and memes will be spawned as a result, Trump is destabilising our perceptions of truth and meaning, breaking down established understandings of language, politics, culture, facts. What’s left is a void, a saturation of information we cannot comprehend or decipher until all that we can do is follow the leader into the darkness of the unknown and the unknowable.
The word Covfefe contains 3 syllables, hauntingly similar to the build of the fidget spinner, which has three sides. But what does this mean? The answer lies not within the material makeup of the term, nor in the visual effects of the fidget spinner, rather, the answer is within the subconscious message. These two words— one tangible, one a term evolving within the cloud—embody the cyclical nature of not only life, but time’s tauntingly endless projection- a purgatory. The aim of the fidget spinner is to stop people from being distracted, while conversely, covfefe is designed with the sole purpose to distract. Only hours after the word that would soon define the political division and misunderstanding of an era was transmitted to the mobile phones of the masses from the twitter heavens, Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement. However, the world was distracted, still struggling to unravel his biblical counsel; attempting—just as Spicer tried before them—to impose meaning onto the meaningless. Essentially, covfefe is a virus, a pathogen of nihilism: stagnating and polluting political opposition, or rather, ideology and thought of any kind. Leaving society ‘trumped’ of any position in the midst of an increasingly fluctuating political climate.
As scientists endeavour to understand the meaning behind the word, the ultimate irony is that there is no meaning. Trump is the ultimate nihilist.