(In a comment on his post The Rhetoric of Trash Talk, Tarheel Dem asked “What is Trump doing wrong that Mohammed Ali got right?” i replied in some depth, and I am now posting it here as a stand-alone article.)


What is Trump doing wrong that Mohammed Ali got right?

Ali was way more intelligent than Trump. Also way healthier. (In his prime.) He had more range as an improvisor as well. But most importantly, his time was better.

Jazz musicians talk about “time.” Complex and accurate rhythmic ability. That’s what made Ali such a great fighter. He had time like Charlie Parker. Charles Mingus once said “If Charlie Parker was a gunslinger, there’d be a whole lotta dead alto players.” Yup. Ali had that kind of time. He’d hit other boxers 8 or 9 times in totally unpredictable rhythms and they would get so confused that they’d eventually give up. He was that way verbally, too. Totally improvised…as is Trump, really…but in a whole other dimension of complexity. His rhythmic thing was so strong!!!

Bebop trash talk.

Bet on it.


No comparison.


Jazz players also talk about “licks.” Automatic musical phrases. We all have them, and we all use them in improvisations. Charlie Parker had so many!!! And they were complex. So did Ali. Plus, both of them could alter those licks on the fly. Trump? Short, relatively unimaginative licks, albeit delivered with real power.

“Little Mario”

“Dull Jeb.”


Watch him dismantle Jeb Bush, whose time is so bad I wonder if he can walk a straight line.

They work against pedestrian opposition…which is basically all he’s faced so far…and they work with the relatively stupid people who are his supporters. They may also work against HRC, because her time is terrible!!! That’s why I would love to see him debate Elizabeth Warren. She’d carve him up the way Charlie Parker carved up other, lesser soloists. She has great time. Listen once she gets on a roll regarding CitiGroup.

She’s poppin’!!!


It’s what’s for dinner.


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