“Brexit, plus, plus, plus!”. You probably noticed Mr. Trump’s penchant for such triplex structures to stand in for superlatives. The plussiest Brexit ever. “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.” The jobiest president of all times. And of course “win, win, win!”. The winningest president of all time. Tripleplusgood!
Those of you who know Orwell’s “Newspeak” will probably remember “doubleplusgood” for the best, and “doubleplusungood” for the worst. Language is reduced to its most childish forms and utterances in order to constraint the range of thought. Mr. Trump seems even to have excelled beyond the doubleplus into the tripleplus. All very childish, but oh so tripleplusgood in its effectiveness.
You might recall, in that respect, and if you have read Gebser, that three is the number of magic. Three is the number of magical incantation and it is pretty well nigh universal. There is also the “triple-talaq” in Sharia and in the old Mosaic law. “I divorce thee! I divorce thee! I divorce thee!” is sufficient to annul a marriage. Et voilà, magic, even if it is tripleplusungood magic. Has to be pretty powerful magic to overturn God’s laws on the marriage bond, after all, which is why it has to be pronounced in triplicate.
“Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined”, as Shakespeare has the three witches say it in Macbeth.
A threesome, a troika, is the magic number, the proper form for an incantation.