Tag Archives: Donald Trump

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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The Synergy between Statue and Poem

Senior White House aide tried Wednesday to separate the Statue of Liberty from Emma Lazarus’s poem. He wasn’t entirely wrong but he was more wrong than right.

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Trump as Miss Havisham

Frank Bruni compares Donald Trump to Miss Havisham, forever fixated on November 8 before the rose lost its bloom. The GOP would do well to break free as Pip does.

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Trump as Alpha Dog Wannabe

A recent “National Review” article says that Donald Trump is like those young men who watch “Glengarry Glen Ross” and fantasize about being the alpha dogs portrayed there.

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Flattering Trump Is Like Wallowing in S***

Donald Trump is surrounding himself with flatterers. Dante has a graphic account of where such people end up in Inferno.

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Ferreting Out Trump’s Purloined Letter

Why does Trump seem to get away with his brazen flirtation with Vladimir Putin. Maybe he’s like the nefarious D– in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Purloined Letter.”

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Trump’s Unseen Playmate Jim

Trump apparently has an imaginary friend Jim who no longer likes Paris. Robert Louis Stevenson has a great poem about an imaginary friend.

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Dear Trump: America Contains Multitudes

To celebrate July 4, do not listen to Donald Trump, who preaches paranoia and exclusion. Read Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” His America contains multitudes.

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Great Pro-War Literature Doesn’t Exist

In which I argue that great pro-war literature doesn’t exist, including “The iliad” and “War and Peace.” (Both works are magnificent; I just don’t see them as pro-war.)

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Only Wimps Complain about Shakespeare

Preeminent Shakespearean Stephen Greenblatt calls out people for whining about the Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of “Julius Caesar.” After all, Queen Elizabeth I once had a Shakespeare play used against her in an attempted overthrow and just shrugged it off.

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Trump’s Cabinet as Goneril and Regan

Everyday, it seems, Trump proves to us that he’s King Lear. The latest example is when he subjected his Cabinet to a love test.

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Will No One Rid Me of This Russia Probe?

When former FBI Director James Comey, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, quoted Henry II–“Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest”–he brought to mind both T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” and Shakespeare’s “Richard II.” He took the right lessons from history by not murdering the Russia investigation.

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Be Afraid of Trump’s Fear of Being Mocked

Donald Trump is obsessed with the fear of being laughed at, as he revealed once again in vowing non-compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement. As Cormac McCarthy shows in “All the Pretty Horses,” such people are capable of unimaginable cruelty.

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Trump, GOP Sacrifice Our Climate Future

Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out the the Paris Climate Accord, and the GOP’s willingness to go along, reveal an absolute contempt for the next generation. Such contempt is at the heart of Russell Hoban’s dystopian nightmare “Riddley Walker.”

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On Reading Pride & Prejudice 100 Times

Teaching a classic too regularly can lead to its losing its luster for the teacher. I share how I keep that from happening.

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Lear, Trump & the Tyrant’s Loneliness

Donald Trump is like Lear in that both are trapped in a loneliness of their own making and, in their despair, both make the lives around them miserable. Lear finds his soul again at the end of the play, however. It might take a similar adversity for Trump to do so as well.

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Will Trump, Like Lear, Take Us All Down?

“The Washington Post” recently found numerous parallels between Lear and our own president, with “his zigzagging proclamations, his grandiose promises, his spasmodic attachments.”

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Something Rotten in the States of America

There is something rotten in Denmark and something rotten in the White House. The parallels between “Hamlet” and Trumpism are considerable.

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Maybe Ryan Sees Trump as John Galt

If Paul Ryan refuses to stand up to Donald Trump, it may be because he worships him as a John Galt figure.

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GOP Plays the Sap for Trump

The ties to Russia involving Donald Trump and his associates are like the many reasons that Sam Spade has for finding Brigid O’Shaughnessy guilty in “The Maltese Falcon”: “Maybe some of them are unimportant. I won’t argue about that. But look at the number of them.”

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Trump’s Latest Queen of Hearts Beheading

Donald Trump is starting to resemble the Queen of Hearts with all the figures that he has fired, most recently FBI director James Comey. We must stand up to the Queen as Alice does.

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