Tag Archives: Donald Trump

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.

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Calling Out Trump’s Assault on Nature

Look to Euripides’s “The Bacchae” if you want to know how a divine seer would call out Donald Trump for his assault on the environment. Teiresias says that Pentheus is “possessed by madness so perverse, no drug can cure.”

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Donald, Who Lied & Was Burned to Death

Donald Trump has taken political lying to new heights, bringing to mind Hilaire Belloc’s darkly comic poem, “Matilda, Who Told Lies and Was Burned to Death.”

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A Fascist Novel & Immigration Policy

Raspail’s “Camp of Saints” is currently influencing White House policy in ways similar to how “Atlas Shrugged” has guided Speaker Paul Ryan. The novel needs to be taken seriously.

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Swift’s April Fools Broomstick Joke

The all time master of the April Fools joke was Jonathan Swift. Here’s one of his lesser ones where he draws deep philosophical by meditating on a broomstick.

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Milton Understood Ambitious Con Men

A recent “Atlantic” article argues that Milton’s Satan is quintessentially American, with the archangel as both rugged individualist and honey-tongued con man. Sounds a lot like our current president.

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Trump as Lear, Howling in the Storm

Donald Trump has a lot in common with King Lear. I suspect, however, that Lear has the happier ending.

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Democrats Have Dickens, GOP Ayn Rand

We see the hand of Ayn Rand in Trump’s proposed budget cuts. Charles Dickens would understand what’s going on.

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The Work of the World Is Common as Mud

Marge Piercy’s poem “To Be of Use” essentially shows why Barack Obama’s legacy is likely to survive GOP repeal efforts. The difference is work that comes from a deep place as opposed to shallowly grounded executive orders.

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The Bigger Ego: Trump’s or Zaphod’s?

If you know anyone with an “ego as big as the universe,” compare him/her to Zaphod Beeblebrox in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” In Beeblebrox’s case, it is shown to be literally true.

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Trump Is Gatsby (But a Lot Meaner)

Donald Trump is Jay Gatsby, albeit a Gatsby with a mean streak. Nevertheless, the rise of the character helps us understand the success of our current president.

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“Julius Caesar” Is Only Too Relevant

“Julius Caesar” has been showing up in the news recently, and for good reason. New York leads off with the play this summer in “Shakespeare in the Park” (the political parallels are overwhelming) and there is an “Ides of Trump” postcard writing campaign scheduled for March 15.

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Climate Change, Fairies Fighting

Some of the extreme climate events we are currently experiencing are described in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” where they are the result of fairy infighting

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Lit, a Heroic Bulwark against Trumpism

Author George Saunders sees literature playing a vital role in opposing Trumpism. He has also written a very comic poem about the president.

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Brown & Gold & Blood vs. Trumpian White

In the face of white nationalists, we need poems like Fatima Asghar’s celebration of South Asian diversity in America to remind us who we really are.

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Atwood Predicts the Fire Next Time

Atwood’s disturbing dystopian short story “Torch the Dusties” points to the uneven way that our society is apportioning its resources, along with the resulting anger.

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The Soldier Knew Someone Had Blundered

Donald Trump is refusing to take responsibility for the failed Yemen raid where a Navy Seal was killed, along with 30 civilians. The raid brings to mind the “Charge of the Light Brigade,” although more appropriate might be the Rudyard Kipling sequel, where the poet blasted England for failing to take care of the survivors.

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“Enemy of the People,” Badge of Honor

Donald Trump has been attack the media as “the enemy of the people,” bringing to mind Heinrik Ibsen’s 1882 play. The play is about a truth-telling scientist but the parallels are still very apt: stand up for truth, regardless of the consequences.

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Bannon: Deconstructionist or Con Man?

When Steve Bannon said that he plans to “deconstruct” the administrative state, it sounds vaguely impressive but maybe just be a pretentious way of saying that he’s planning on gumming up the works. A discussion of deconstruction is in order.

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Not a Reader (and Proud of It)

What do a president’s reading habits say about his/her vision of America? Obama’s celebration of a diverse America is the vision of a voracious reader. Trump’s shallow narrative is the vision of one who doesn’t read.

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Shakespeare Would Support Transgenders

As Donald Trump rolls back transgender protections, it’s worth going back to Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which honors the sense that many have (not just transgender individuals) that they have the other gender hidden away beneath their exteriors.

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