Tag Archives: politics

Sly Marc Antony Resembles McConnell

The Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of “Julius Caesar” has the Right up in arms about the image of Donald Trump being assassinated. The timeliest lesson of the play, however, is the way that Marc Antony slyly slides in to take power. Think of him as Mitch McConnell quietly preparing to repeal Obamacare and deprive millions of healthcare while the nation focuses on Senate hearings.

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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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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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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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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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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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McConnell as Moriarty, Trump as Figaro

Mitch McConnell is proving himself to be a veritable Moriarty in his ability to weave devious plots to get his way. Trump, by contrast, is more a trickster figure a la Figaro or Mac the Knife.

Posted in Beaumarchais (Caron de), Doyle (Arthur Conan), Gay (John) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

If Swift Had Known Donald Trump…

Jonathan Swift would have had a field day with Donald Trump. I suspect I’ll say this often in the upcoming years.

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Thanksgiving in the Age of Trump

Thanksgiving this year may encounter the strains of the recent election. For a depiction of how bad it can get, check out the Christmas dinner scene in “Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man.” It will show you what to avoid.

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All Must Love the Human Form

In “The Divine Image,” Blake gives us a poem for our time, a call to pray for mercy, pity, peace, and love and to recognize the human form in diversity. In “The Human Abstract” he adds that prayer is not enough. It must be accompanied by human justice.

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Satanic Trump Unleashing Dark Forces

When Donald Trump excited the alt-right with his Wednesday night speech promising to deport all undocumented immigrants, he reminded me of Milton’s Satan inspiring Sin and Death after engineering the Fall.

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Politically Incorrect Okay for Hemingway?

If Bill Gorton, a positive figure in “The Sun Also Rises,” is politically incorrect, does that mean that Donald Trump is correct in his attacks on PC? Award-winning high school teacher Carl Rosin tackles the issues by contrasting Gorton and Trump.

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Trollope’s Melmotte Anticipates Trump

Anthony Trollope foreshadowed Donald Trump in the figure of Augustus Melmotte in “The Way We Live Now” (1875).

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Workers of the World, Read! (Then Unite)

A “Washington Post” article argues that the arts are key in counteracting economic injustice. While this is true, the arts must be accompanied by smart politics to achieve this end.

Posted in Fitzgerald (F. Scott), Sidney (Sir Philip), Wharton (Edith) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Was T. S. Eliot a Key to Hillary’s Success?

As a college student at Wellesley in 1969, Hillary Clinton made multiple references to T. E. Eliot’s “East Coker.” Now as we watch her become the presumptive Democratic nominee, we can see how Eliot has helped her along the way.

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Trump Sees Garbage and Rocks in Foes

I’ve compared Donald Trump to Murakami’s villain in “Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.” Today I dig deeper into the comparison.

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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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Pope Foresaw GOP Capitulation to Trump

Alexander Pope warned, in “Essay on Man” that vice loses its ugliness once it becomes familiar. This is the danger we face with the normalization of Donald Trump.

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Hillary Clinton as Emma Woodhouse

Hillary Clinton shares certain characteristics with Emma Woodhouse. (And far fewer with Lady Macbeth.)

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Trump’s Use of the Homeric Epithet

Donald Trump is making regular use of “the Homeric epithet.” He doesn’t use it as well as Homer, however.

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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

#NeverTrump! Never! Never! Never! Never?

Many who vowed NeverTrump are backing away from the word “never.” “Never” is an important word in “King Lear” and Lear, unlike Lear’s opponents, doesn’t back away from it.

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Time for GOP Moderates To Go to Ground?

As the GOP reels in the wake of Trump’s victory, it might want to model itself on Edgar in “King Lear.”

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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.

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

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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Trump and Gazing into the Abyss

Ted Cruz said that, if Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, we would be gazing into the abyss. For what this would be like, I turn to Milton, an expert on abysses.

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Ted Cruz as Lucifer, “Squat Like a Toad”

After John Boehner compared Sen. Ted Cruz to Lucifer, I went looking through “Paradise Lost” to find passages that would apply. I found a particularly good one but, if you ask me, Cruz more resembles Blifil, Tom Jones’s nemesis.

Posted in Fielding (Henry), Milton (John), Shakespeare (William), Stoker (Bram) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Limbaugh’s Clinton-Ratched Comparison

Rightwing radio host Rush Limbaugh regularly compares Hillary Clinton to Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and, in so doing, can be said to have paved the way for misogynist Donald Trump. If it’s Trump vs. Clinton in the general election, things will get ugly.

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Bernie Is Peter Pan, Hillary Is Wendy

Bernie Sanders is the adventurous Peter Pan, Hillary Clinton is the cautious and pragmatic Wendy. Which candidate you prefer may be related to which character you like better.

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