Tag Archives: GOP

Murakami on Ideology’s Hollowness

Murakami’s diatribe against rigid ideologues in “Kafka on the Shore” applies only to well to figures on the American right.

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Crashing against the Debt Ceiling

If the GOP Congress members don’t soon come to their senses, we will have a debt ceiling crisis. For a visual image, picture a giant Alice in the White Rabbit’s small house.

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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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GOP “Moderates,” the Hollow Men

Despite brave talk from a number of so-called Republican moderates, only Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins stood up to their party in an attempt to save healthcare. Time to read “The Hollow Men” again.

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Candide & the GOP’s Tax Obsession

The GOP’s obsession with tax cuts reminds me of the Baron’s obsession with his lineage in Voltaire’s “Candide.” No matter how much reality changes, he always insists on this one thing.

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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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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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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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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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Immigrants Face a Sophie’s Choice

Republicans have recently been outdoing themselves in cruelty, both regarding immigration and health care. William Styron and William Blake weigh in.

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The GOP’s Faustian Bargain with Trump

New York Times columnist David Brooks says that the GOP is striking a Faustian bargain by collaborating with Donald Trump. Christopher Marlowe shows the price that is paid for dealing with the devil and also tells us how one can get one’s soul back.

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The World’s One Hope: Compassion

Bertolt Brecht’s “”The World One Hope” addresses the problem of growing callousness but then points to how we can break through to compassion.

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Trump as a Haruki Murakami Villain

Donald Trump has an uncanny resemblance to the villain Noboru Wataya in Haruki Murakami’s masterful novel “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” (1998). Both have a similar hollowness and both have the ability to separate people from the higher instincts and put them in thrall to their lower ones.

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Trollope & Trump’s Willing Enablers

Trollope describes gentry who enable to a scandalous financier in “The Way We Live Now.” Parallels can be drawn with those members of the GOP who are reconciling with Donald Trump.

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How Trump Is Changing the Discourse

Adam Gopnik of “New Yorker” and Andrew Sullivan of “New York” are very, very frightened by the rise of Trump. As they explain why, they quote Tom Stoppard, Sinclair Lewis, Mark Twain, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Plato.

Posted in Lewis (Sinclair), Stoppard (Tom), Tolkien (J.R.R.), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Now, Gods, Stand Up for Trump!

When traditional institutions like the government or the Supreme Court are undermined, the way is cleared for the rise of liar like Trump.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Donald Trump

Czech author Milan Kundera warned about how dictatorships thrive off of our forgetting. In a “Rolling Stone” article, Charlie Pierce argues that forgetting has led to the rise of Donald Trump.

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Will Plots vs. Trump Succeed?

“Beware the Ides of March,” the soothsayer tells Julius Caesar. On the Ides of March 2016, Marco Rubio received the unkindest cut from his home state of Florida. But if for perhaps a more apt application of the play, one should look at how members of the GOP establishment are hoping to stab Donald Trump at the July convention.

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Panicked by Trump? Turn to Lit

As Trump panic starts to set in, pundits are turning to literature to get an understanding of how it has all happened. This past week saw references to “Oedipus,” “Frankenstein,” “War and Peace,” and “Slaughterhouse Five.”

Posted in Sophocles, Tolstoy (Leo), Vonnegut (Kurt) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Palin as Daisy Buchanan

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, speaking for moderate Republicans who are being driven from the party, sees himself as Jay Gatsby jilted by Daisy. Sarah Palin was once his Daisy and Donald Trump could be compared to Tom Buchanan.

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Conservative Extremists as King Lear

In another significant post that appeared this past year, I compared GOP extremists to King Lear–more interested in self-indulgent behavior than in responsible governance. The result is a divided country at war with itself.

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Gaskell Novel Explains Trump’s Appeal

The anger of John Barton in Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1848 novel “Mary Barton” resembles the anger of many Trump supporters.

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Climate Inaction Will Lead to a Dystopia

If we refuse to do anything to counteract climate change, we are doing grave injustice to our children and grandchildren. Russell Hoban’s post-apocalyptic fantasy “Riddley Walker” captures the selfishness that we would be guilty of.

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Speaker Paul Ryan in Literature

I’ve written a lot about Paul Ryan and his aspiration to be a John Galt figure. Now that he is Speaker of the House, I review other literary parallels I’ve drawn over the years.

Posted in Achebe (Chinua), Carroll (Lewis), Conrad (Joseph), Dickens (Charles), Hardy (Thomas), Milton (John), Rand (Ayn) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeb! Agonistes: An Unsettling Parallel

Does Jeb Bush resemble at the moment Samson Agonistes? His rivalry with Marco Rubio also resembles any number of Shakespeare tragedies. There’s an Oedipus parallel as well.

Posted in Milton (John), Shakespeare (William), Sophocles | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Style, Not Truth, the Important Thing

Truth was missing in action in the GOP’s Wednesday night debate. Oscar Wilde and John Gay would have understood.

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Cruz as Beowulf? Try Grendel

Thursday Normally I would be delighted with a New York Times article that matched up presidential candidates with works of literature, such as Ted Cruz with Beowulf, Hillary Clinton with Persuasion, and Bernie Sanders with Around the World in 80 Days. This piece, however, strikes me as so uninformative that it’s all but useless. I’ve tried […]

Posted in Austen (Jane), Beowulf Poet, Dickens (Charles), Hardy (Thomas), Twain (Mark), Verne (Jules) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ryan as John Galt–Elect Him or He Shrugs

Paul Ryan sees himself as Ayn Rand’s John Galt as he puts forth the conditions on which he will accept the Speakership of the House. The problem is that he is dealing with people who also see themselves as John Galt.

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Waiting for Biden, Paul Ryan, & Reagan

Some Democrats are waiting for Joe Biden and many Republicans are awaiting the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan. Samuel Beckett foresaw in all in “Waiting for Godot.”

Posted in Beckett (Samuel) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Satanic Fury from the Freedom Caucus

The Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives has been behaving like Satan in “Paradise Lost.” They would be advised to see what happens to Milton’s anti-hero.

Posted in Milton (John) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Boehner’s Monkey and Ellison’s Sambo

Speaker John Boehner may keep a wind-up monkey to express how he feels jerked around by the rightwing Freedom Caucus, which prompted him to resign. There is a similar puppet in Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” also signifying emasculation and humiliation.

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