Tag Archives: GOP

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.

Posted in Gay (John), Wilde (Oscar) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Ellison (Ralph) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hillary before Judges Like Tolstoy’s Pierre

The Congressional Committee to Investigate Benghazi is like the military tribunal in “War and Peace” that questions Pierre. It is interested only in answers to lead to conviction.

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

Tolstoy and Climate Change Denial

The denial of the citizens of Moscow as Napoleon approaches the city, described by Tolstoy in “War in Peace,” resembles climate change denialism.

Posted in Tolstoy (Leo) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Pope Francis as Shaw’s St. Joan

Christianity is all very well in its place, but when Pope Francis comes to America counseling a dismantling of capitalism, he gets the same response that Joan of Arc does in “St. Joan.”

Posted in Shaw (George Bernard) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Abortion Debate & Doll’s House

Our society’s impasse over abortion is like the impasse in Ibsen’s “Doll’s House” between Thorvald and Nora: he insists on moral absolutes, she resents being infantilized.

Posted in Ibsen (Henrik) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

The GOP Descends into the Maelstrom

Poe’s “Descent into the Maelstrom” describes the state of current GOP politics, where even moderate Republicans are being pulled into rightwing extremism.

Posted in Poe (Edgar Allan) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump as the Duke of Bilgewater

Although a couple of recent articles have compared Donald Trump to Pap in “Huckleberry Finn,” I find him to be much more akin to the Duke and the Dauphin. Which is to say, an ace con artist.

Posted in Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , | 4 Comments

Donald Trump as Willie Stark

Donald Trump calling out the GOP establishment is like Willie Stark calling out the Democratic establishment in “All the King’s Men.”

Posted in Warren (Robert Penn) | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Trump as Frankenstein’s Monster

What is it about Donald Trump that brings out the literary analogies? First a Salon columnist compared him to Odysseus’s Cyclops, then the New Yorker’s John Cassidy saw him as Gulliver, and most recently Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and others have compared him to Frankenstein’s monster. I’ve written about the Cyclops parallel here, but let’s take […]

Posted in Shelley (Mary), Swift (Jonathan) | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fox, Like Odysseus, Tries to Gouge Trump

A Salon columnist compares Trump to the Cyclops in “The Odyssey.” He has a point.

Posted in Homer | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

GOP Budget Proposes Gruel Cuts

Mean-spirited legislators who seek to cut food stamps and other programs for the poor bear more than a little resemblance to the workhouse authorities in “Oliver Twist.”

Posted in Dickens (Charles) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

American Politics, Dashiell Hammett Style

Dashiell Hammett’s rough and tumble novels catch some of the spirit of today’s political battles.

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Reflecting on “A Little Learning”

Pope’s “a little learning is a dangerous thing” applies to many of today’s policy debates.

Posted in Pope (Alexander) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

GOP Denies a Giant Problem

Faced with climate change denialism, Obama has been forced to take executive action. Jonathan Swift would understand.

Posted in Swift (Jonathan) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Melville and Climate Change Denial

Melville’s “Benito Cereno” perfectly captures Rightwing denial of climate change.

Posted in Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Will Oliver Finally Get Health Care?

Oliver Twist experiences the same ups and downs as Obamacare has. But there’s a happy ending.

Posted in Dickens (Charles) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why GOP Right Is Beating Up on the Poor

Paul Ryan projects upon the poor as Joseph Conrad did upon Africans.

Posted in Conrad (Joseph) | Also tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Ayn Rand Likes Systems, Not Humans

Ayn Rand’s novels appeal to those who prefer systems over people.

Posted in Rand (Ayn) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Dickens, We Need You (and Also FDR)

With unemployment insurance set to run out next week, it’s time to invoke Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol.” FDR did so.

Posted in Dickens (Charles) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

GOP Whites Splitting? Huck Finn Says No

If “Huck Finn” has predictive value, the class tensions within today’s GOP will be papered over by racism.

Posted in Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jane Eyre’s Critique of the 1%

The critique in “Jane Eyre” of privileged classes who attack the poor anticipates today’s political scene.

Posted in Bronte (Charlotte) | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Caution: Don’t Stereotype Immigrants

William Carlos Williams has a poem that prompts us to see beyond immigrant stereotypes.

Posted in Williams (William Carlos) | Also tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Dickens’ Children Expose Class Unfairness

Charles Dickens’ Sissy Jupe, in her innocence, could teach the GOP something about its insensitivity to the needs of the poor.

Posted in Dickens (Charles) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tea Party Racism and Flannery O’Connor

To understand Obama derangement and the government shutdown, Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Artificial Nigger” is a good place to start.

Posted in O'Connor (Flannery) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What Anna Karenina Would Say to the GOP

Perfect advice from Tolstoy for the GOP.

Posted in Tolstoy (Leo) | Also tagged , , | 2 Comments


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