That woman who broke the internet with her posterior started it. Sensing competition, President Donald Trump has broken it in his sleep. On Tuesday night, he tweeted, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. Then he rolled over, and the rest was silence. That tantalisingly incomplete tweet was the lull heralding a meme-storm. The Beeb is running an opinion poll on the pronunciation of “covfefe”, and the Oxford English Dictionary is doubtless making room for it. Meanwhile, how did it happen? And, could it happen to the nuclear button, too?
Between the nightcap and the first of forty winks is the witching hour, when one must not operate dangerous machinery like Twitter. But Trump is incaution personified — he has invited world leaders to call on his unsecured mobile to discuss state secrets. Or, since the tweet is devoid of signature Trumpspeak like “big”, “great”, “massive” and “yuge”, was he hacked by a freshly irritated foreign power? The Germans would love to, you know. Or is this a sly bid for the literature Nobel?
Why didn’t Trump’s minders alert him about that half-tweet? Such naivete! Trump does not have minders. The minders have Trump. But every day, minders at The Indian Express do battle with our own version of “covfefe”, the nonsense phrase “Cra Consect Msan”. That’s what all the headlines on this page say when we start work. This “dummy text” is flotsam from the first edit page ever made. Every night, unsung Express minders overwrite the nonsense with real headlines before the presses roll.
Someone in Trump’s entourage should have done likewise about “covfefe”. Instead, they have opened a literary floodgate. Truman Capote disparaged Jack Kerouac and the Beatniks with a casually lethal put-down: “That’s not writing. That’s typing.” Now, a US president may find literary fame, for mis-typing. And then, sleeping.