Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Chaucer’s Solution for Sexual Assault

What are we to do about all of our sexual assaulters, given that they probably number in the thousands? Chaucer’s Wife of Bath has an answer.

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The Evangelical Rose Is Sick

Many rightwing evangelicals are selling their souls for Trumpism. William Blake would have something to say about that.

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Brecht Quatrains for Challenging Times

During World War II Bertolt Brecht wrote quatrains that speak powerfully to our own political times.

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Tess, More Relevant Than Ever

Students find Hardy’s “Tess” to be only too relevant In the age of Trump, Weinstein, and Roy Moore.

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Hardy Understood Sexual Predators Well

“Tess of the d’Urbervilles” is a prescient account of how sexual predators operate. It is no less relevant today in the age of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein than it was in 1892.

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The Blue Guitar vs. Facebook

Wallace Stevens asserts that art changes “things as they are.” So does Facebook. We need the first to counteract the second when it is taken over by hostile forces.

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Bone-Crushing Prince of Dark Days

Trump regards Special Counsel Robert Mueller as the crows view the owl in Mary Oliver’s “In the Pine Woods: Crows and Owl.”

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Putin as Murakami’s Boris the Manskinner

Murakami’s Boris the Manskinner has an unsettling resemblance to Vladimir Putin and wannabe authoritarian Donald Trump. Without strong beliefs, one cannot stand up to him.

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Wild Accusations of Witch Hunts

Wild accusations of witch hunts by Donald Trump and Woody Allen are not what Arthur Miller had in mind when he wrote “The Crucible.”

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Kelly as Coriolanus? Dear God, No!

John McCain is John of Gaunt to John Kelly’s Coriolanus. Guess which one loves his country more.

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How Owen Meany Comforts the Bereaved

In his interactions with friends and family of slain Green Beret Sgt. La David Johnson, Trump is making the issue about himself. “Prayer for Owen Meany” reminds us that we should focus instead on the mourners.

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Is Atwood’s Dystopia America’s Future?

Atwood lays out the social devastation that can arise from extreme climate events in “Year of the Flood.” Some of her predictions are starting to come true.

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Three Poems for Surviving Trump

Hope is needed in the face to emotional exhaustion over Trumpism. Here are three poems about finding hope in dark times.

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Brother Fire Ravages California

Louis MacNeice captures what northern California is experiencing in “Brother Fire.” The poem also reveals a disturbing dark side in how we respond to catastrophe.

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Las Vegas: Our Killers, Ourselves

As a white man, the Las Vegas shooter could not be fitted into an easy right wing Other narrative. “Beowulf” shows how monsters generally look like us.

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If Fielding Had Written about Trump

Henry Fielding would have had a field day writing about America’s president.

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Assertive Women Drive Lear, Trump Mad

Lear is driven mad by his assertive daughters. Are strong women like the San Juan mayor also sending Trump around the bend?

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While the President Golfed…

Sarah Cleghorn’s famous poem “The Golf Links” captures our president, who golfs while Puerto Rico starves.

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May We Sail without Giving into Our Fears

A Noah’s Ark poem by the great Syrian poet Adonis can be applied to the Puerto Rico rescue effort, especially as certain people on the right attempt to inject race into the affair.

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Trump in Chaucer, Shakespeare & Conrad

When compared to people called “dotard” in Chaucer and Shakespeare, Trump fits the insult hurled at him by Kim Jong-un. His statement to African leaders, meanwhile, makes him sound like a “Heart of Darkness” ivory trader.

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Handmaid’s Emmy, A Sign of Its Urgency

The Emmys signaled that “Handmaid’s Tale” is as relevant as ever as America’s misogyny deepens. So is Euripides’s “The Bacchae.”

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No Miss Havisham for Hillary

In her account of the 2016 election aftermath, Hillary Clinton resolved not to become a Miss Havisham. This is testimony to her depth of soul.

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DACA Kids, Back to the Shadows?

“Invisible Man,” with its protagonist moving in and out of shadows, is all too relevant as the Trump administration threatens to deport the DACA kids.

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Do You Believe in the Great White Race?

There’s a marked contrast between the nobility people claim for the Confederate statues and the young men swarming around them. Langston Hughes understood the contrast in his darkly humorous “Ku Klux.”

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What Kind of Con Man Do You Want?

Gogol’s “Dead Souls” shows us two conmen, one who is a lot like our president, the other like various politicians (including Ryan, McConnell and Hillary Clinton). The boisterous and ineffective conman comes off better that the carefully calculating one.

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Tolstoy on Resisting a Narcissist

If Trump is like Napoleon in Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” can he be defeated by popular resistance, as he is in Tolstoy’s novel?

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Obama Was Invisible to White America

A Salon article explores how some of white supremacism’s rise can be traced to rage over having had a black president. Quoting Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” it makes the case that the right couldn’t really see Obama.

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Baldwin Explains White Supremacists

To understand white supremacy, check out James Baldwin’s short story “Going To Meet the Man.” It helps explain the hatred and violence we saw in Charlottesville this past weekend.

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Gogol Would Understand Trump

I may just have discovered the ultimate literary parallel for Donald Trump: Gogol’s Nozdrev from “Dead Souls.” Reading about Nozdrev helps us understanding our fascination with Trump.

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Could a Bestseller Help Defense Sec?

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is a voracious reader, and a novel he mentions liking is M. M. Kaye’s “Far Pavilions.” The work explores how to deal with inept leadership, which may be important to him in his current situation.

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Trump as Raskolnikov

Is Trump as Raskolnikov, unable to hide the fact that he’s committed a crime so that a relentless detective is able to track him down. But while Mueller may be a Porfiry, Trump isn’t deep enough to be a Dostoevskian hero.

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