Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Death Eaters of the GOP

(crossposted at The Blue Herald)

(Hmm. Cheney's lost a little weight, hasn't he?)

My favorite item of the week so far comes from a “Literary Metaphor Watch” category in a Dan Froomkin column. He reports:

Nicholas Kristof asked readers to offer literary or historical parallels to the Bush administration and Iraq. He writes in his New York Times opinion column (subscription required): "A reader named Melissa S. e-mailed to say that she explains Iraq policy to her 8-year-old son in terms of Harry Potter characters: 'Dick Cheney is Lord Voldemort. George W. Bush is Peter Pettigrew.' Don Rumsfeld is Lucius Malfoy, while Cornelius Fudge represents administration supporters who deny that anything is wrong. And, she concludes, 'Daily Prophet reporter Rita Skeeter is Fox News.'"

Donkey O.D. has the full text here.

On a more serious note, to match the core of Kristof’s piece, the Bush administration has shown a lethal inability to learn from history, most tragically, the costs of war and the mistakes to avoid when waging one (top of the list would be not to start a war of choice). However, as Kristof reminds us, the Bush administration and the neocons also seem to be ignorant of essential themes raised in the arts (more on this to come in a later post).

When Gorbachev was in power, not long before the break-up the Soviet Union, he arranged to see the production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in repertory at the famed Moscow Art Theater. Afterwards, he called up the Artistic Director of the theater to talk about the play, saying something like, “Vanya is just like me,” and proceeded to talk about himself in relation to the play for anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour. How amazing.

Personally, I don’t care what Bush reads or sees, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Harry Potter or the Bible, I just want him to think and to truly reflect. Most accounts indicate he rarely if ever does. I would also like to see him feel, specifically, feel compassion for others and to have the imagination to consider the consequences of his frighteningly powerful actions and inactions. Bush “read three Shakespeares,” including Hamlet, last year, and if it’s true, good for him. What was really needed was to ask him what he took away from them, to discuss the works with him. I suspect reporters were wary of embarrassing Bush, but it could be done with tact and it would have been very revealing. In the meantime, if Bush is to grapple with some of the complexities of the modern world and moral quandaries, it might be a step in the right direction for him to read a little Harry Potter.

"Mr. Vice-President, if you could just stop devouring that baby for the photo - we're trying to show your lighter side."

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