The word is “whine”

I realized this morning that a single key word has been missing, or at least greatly underused, in reporting Donald Trump’s discourse.  Kevin Drum did too, about when I did, and used it correctly in his hed. Perhaps some quantum entanglement at work?

Whining: petulant, ineffectual, resentful, self-absorbed pleas for sympathy. What weak, annoying, people do to get attention when they can’t actually do anything deserving of attention.  China’s taking our jobs! The judge in the Trump U. case is unfair! The press is sleazy! Imagine my surprise to find that the Donald himself hipped us to this perfect word for his style almost a year ago, and quite explicitly!

Whiney, whining, whine. Perfect; the word we’ve all been groping for. Let’s use it a lot.


Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

3 thoughts on “The word is “whine””

  1. The word is "trumpink!" from Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish:


    Pronounced TROM-beh-nik, to rhyme with "Brahma kick," or TRAUM-beh-nik, to rhyme with "brawn the pick" From the Polish, and/ or Yiddish: tromba: "a trumpet," "a brass horn."

    1. A blowhard, a braggart, a blower of his own horn. "That trombenik can drive you crazy."

    2. A glutton.

    3· A lazy man or woman; a ne'er-do-well.

    4· A parasite.

    5. A fake, a phony, a four-flusher.

    Any way you look at it, trombenik is not a word of praise. A trombenik is part of the raucous gallery of nudniks,shleppers, and paskudnyaks.

    " I," boasted the trombenik, "have been to Europe three times in the past two years."

    "So? I come from there."

  2. WebMd has the trade gen on whining children:

    Kids whine for a very simple reason. It works. "Whining gets the parent's attention," [pediatrician Laurel] Schultz says. "A high-pitched whine is effective because a parent can't not attend to it."

    The American media had a choice. They have been rewarding Trump's whining with obsessive and reinforcing attention for a year.

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