Tag Archives: Donald Trump

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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Using Doublethink To Sell Trumpcare

House Republicans appear to be using Doublethink to sell their healthcare plan. If it works, there will be no stopping them.

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Swift’s Popularity with Today’s Students

Students crowded into the gym to listen to the publisher of “The Onion.” It is therefore not surprising that they are also responding enthusiastically to Jonathan Swift. I share some of their thoughts on the satirist in today’s post.

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Lit, An Antidote to Authoritarianism

Literature’s universalism functions as an antidote to the exclusionary politics of figures like Donald Trump and Marine LePen.

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House of Spirits, Authoritarians on the Rise

Strong men (and occasionally women) the world over appear to be having a moment, leading to interest in authoritarianism. Isabel Allende’s description of brutal landowner Esteban Trueba in “House of Mirth” reveals some disturbing similarities to Donald Trump.

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Kosinski Foresaw Our Television President

Jerzy Kosinski’s 1970 novella “Being There” describes a man whose obsession with television helps him thrive and even ascend to the White House. Sound familiar?

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Calling Out Trump’s War Enablers

Too many beltway insiders are singing the praises of Donald Trump’s foreign policy bellicosity, with Brian Williams unironically quoting Leonard Cohen’s “I am guided by the beauty of your weapons.” He should quote Dylan’s “Masters of War” instead.

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Milton’s Jesus vs. Trump’s Bombs

Unfortunately centrists and liberals have been endorsing Trump’s bellicosity abroad. Milton’s Jesus in “Paradise Regained” would not approve.

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Masters of Spite: Satan and Trump

Many wonder whether spite drives many of Donald Trump’s policy decisions. If so, he has good company in Milton’s Satan, who is defined by spite.

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Sleeping Bears?! What Would Papa Say?

The GOP’s decision to allow the hunting of hibernating bears and denned wolf cubs raises issues of wannabe machismo that one can find in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”

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On Toddlers, Terrorists, and Loaded Guns

Among the ways that Donald Trump is repaying the NRA for its support is reversing an Obama executive decision designed to keep guns out of the hands of mentally handicapped persons. Hilaire Belloc would have something to say about America’s casual acceptance of guns.

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A Literary History of the Insult “Cuck”

“Cuck” has become a favorite insult amongst alt-right types. In today’s post I trace literary references to cuckolds going back to Chaucer.

Posted in Chaucer (Geoffrey), Marlowe (Christopher), Shakespeare (William), Wycherley (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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