Tag Archives: politics

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.)

Posted in Austen (Jane) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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. If 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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Christie as Prufrock & Other Lit Allusions

Political pundits have been turning to literature to talk about the GOP primaries. This past week saw citations of Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Lewis Carroll, and Richard Adams (“Watership Down”).

Posted in Adams (Richard), Carroll (Lewis), Eliot (T.S.), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

History’s Zigzagging Narratives

This Stephen Dunn points out how we see history as a series of narratives. Sometimes are heroes are those “too unhappy to be reasonable.”

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Clifton, Ellison Help Explain Whitesplaining

White politicians, if they want the Black vote, must be cautious about “whitesplaining.” Lucille Clifton gives us insight into the insensitivity in “note to self.” Brother Jack in “Invisible Man” is racially insensitive in this way and may have lessons for certain Bernie Sanders supporters.

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

Prospero and the Presidential Primaries

Think of Shakespeare’s “Tempest” as an allegory for the current state of American politics, especially the presidential primaries. It contains visionaries and cynics, orchestrators and disrupters. If Prospero is the island “establishment,” then he enjoys some success but it is qualified.

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On the Death of a Controversial Judge

How long should one pause following the death of a public figure like Justice Antonin Scalia before considering the political implications? It’s an issue that also arises in Anthony Trollope’s “Barchester Towers.”

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Brecht’s Working Class Revenge Fantasy

Many working class and lower middle class Americans have felt abandoned by the GOP and Democratic establishments. Bertolt Brecht’s “Pirate Jenny” articulates a revenge fantasy that captures some of their anger.

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Cruz’s Contortion of Cristianity

Bill Moyers has called Ted Cruz a “fundamentalist charlatan,” and he cites an 18th century satiric poem to help him make his case. Cruz, he says, is contorting a beautiful religion to garner votes.

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An ANTidote for Apocalyptic Talk

Depressed by all the doom and gloom being voiced in the presidential primaries? Here’s a Scott Bates poem about an apocalytptic antichrist ant to lighten you mood.

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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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Ted Cruz–Dark and Satanic?

When NYT columnist David Brooks called Ted Cruz “dark and satanic,” he was referencing a Blake poem. But although the allusion is apt, it struck most people as weird or offensive because they didn’t recognize the source.

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

Trump as Yeats’s Rough Beast

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accuses Donald Trump of being the actual terrorist and compares him to Yeats’s “rough beast” in “The Second Coming.”

Posted in Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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.

Posted in Gaskell (Elizabeth) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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