Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Wishing Hillary Godspeed

What are we to make of these charismatic men like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama supporting Hillary? I offer up Thomas Hardy and James Baldwin references to advance different interpretations.

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We Shall Not Look Upon His Like Again

Obama’s speech passing the baton to Hillary Clinton last night brings to mind a passage from “Hamlet.”

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Bringing an End to Bernie’s Romance

The Democratic Party has been striving to let Bernie Sanders down slowly, even as it separates him from his dream. It is like the way upper crust society in Edith Wharton’s “Age of Innocence” separates the protagonist for the scandalous woman he has fallen in love with.

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Resisting the Witchery of Nuclear Warfare

Today Barack Obama will be the first American president to visit Hiroshima. Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko has an explanation for the development of the bomb: witches.

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Obama Is to Trump as Albany Is to Goneril

While Trump calls for torture of terrorists and Ted Cruz calls for carpet bombing them, President Obama calls for America to take the high moral road. He sounds like Albany arguing with Goneril in “King Lear.”

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“We the People,” Nourishing Words

In “Loves and Fishes” David Whyte pushes against the information age by pleading for poetry’s respect for language. “One good word is bread for a thousand,” he writes. A “Washington Monthly” columnist quotes President Obama with a good candidate for that word.

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Dostoevsky Explains Trump’s Appeal

Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor helps explain Donald Trump’s popularity: people want certainty more than they want freedom of thought.

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Is Freedom More Powerful than Fear?

Obama in his Oval Office speech on terrorism said that “freedom is more powerful than fear.” Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor would beg to differ.

Posted in Auden (W. H.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Conspiracy Theories Explained

Why do conspiracy theories thrive? Because people can’t face up to the emptiness that would come with a real explanation. Thomas Hardy understands the phenomenon in his poem “Hap.”

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We Risk Becoming Grendel’s Mother

In reaction to the horrors of the Paris massacres, we are in danger of becoming consumed by the vengeful grief of Grendel’s Mother. The times call upon us to be Beowulf strong.

Posted in Beowulf Poet | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Tolstoy Calls Us to Aid Syrian Refugees

During the evacuation of Moscow in “War and Peace,” the Rostov family gives up their worldly goods to help soldiers in distress. This is much more than many in the U.S. are willing to do for Syrian refugees.

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An ABC of Our Attack on the Earth

In his “ABC of Radical Ecology,” Scott Bates sets forth an alphabet primer for various environmental ills.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Obama’s Eulogy & Beloved’s Baby Suggs

Commentator Melissa Harris-Perry quoted from “Beloved” following Obama’s Charleston eulogy. The passage she chose helps explain the power of the speech.

Posted in Morrison (Toni) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

No Room in This House for Two “I”s

A Rumi parable speaks to the recent killings in Kuwait City and Charleston. It shares certain themes with Barack Obama’s Friday eulogy to Reverend Pinckney.

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Hillary Will Be Cast as a Witch

Prepare to see Hillary Clinton cast by the GOP in the role of the Wicked Witch of the West

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Lear’s Lesson: Dividing Leads to War

The politics in “King Lear” are currently being played out in attempts to sabotage negotiations with Iran.

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An Inspiring Speech Draws Upon Poetry

Obama drew powerfully from James Baldwin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Langston Hughes, and Walt Whitman in his Selma speech.

Posted in Baldwin (James), Emerson (Ralph Waldo), Hughes (Langston), Whitman (Walt) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Is It Time to Bring Out Twain’s War Prayer?

The GOP and Netanyahu are trying to sabotage Obama’s negotiations with Iran. Could Mark Twain’s “War Prayer” knock some sense into them?

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The Virtues of a True Conservative

Anthony Trollope’s thoughtful critiques of progressives can lead to constructive dialogues between conservatives and progressives.

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Invisible Men (and Women) No Longer

Immigrants coming out of the shadows recall Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, who also emerges from darkness.

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Hunkering Down in Hard Times

When your side loses in an election, be like Mary Oliver’s blue heron: hunker down, absorb the blows, and keep the fire of hope burning.

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The Race Projection behind the Killings

Projection helps explain many of the killings of unarmed young black men. Ralph Ellison is an expert on how projection works.

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Obama Is No King Lear (Thank Goodness!)

Those who want more militaristic posturing in our foreign policy should contemplate King Lear’s posturing.

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GOP Denies a Giant Problem

Faced with climate change denialism, Obama has been forced to take executive action. Jonathan Swift would understand.

Posted in Swift (Jonathan) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Melville and Climate Change Denial

Melville’s “Benito Cereno” perfectly captures Rightwing denial of climate change.

Posted in Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Melville’s Parable of American Denial

Melville’s “Benito Cereno” captures the contradictions of today’s conservative extremists.

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Will Oliver Finally Get Health Care?

Oliver Twist experiences the same ups and downs as Obamacare has. But there’s a happy ending.

Posted in Dickens (Charles) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tom Perkins & America’s Dragon-Like 1%

Tom Perkins complaining about Nazi-like progressives resembles the dragon in “Beowulf.”

Posted in Beowulf Poet | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oedipal Blindness in Benghazi

Will Hillary and Obama achieve the wisdom of the suffering Oedipus following their missteps in Benghazi?

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Tea Party Racism and Flannery O’Connor

To understand Obama derangement and the government shutdown, Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Artificial Nigger” is a good place to start.

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Whoever Degrades Another Degrades Me

Whitman’s “Song of Myself” calls us to imagine the experience of the Other, just as Obama asked us to imagine the perspective of young black men.

Posted in Whitman (Walt) | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

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