Friday, May 24, 2013

Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and the Age of Obama

In discussing how hyper-conservatism/neo liberalism has corrupted men like Tom Coburn and James Inhofe from Oklahoma, I referenced the great poet and philosopher John Donne.

As I reflect upon the conspiracy mongering of the Tea Party GOP and the Right-wing media in Obama's second term, I return to a visual of conspiranoids, lurking, carving their knives, and drunk on their machinations of how to destroy the country's first black president.

Sadly, he has foes on both the Left and Right. He also has enemies across the colorline. What is the man to do?

Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is one of my favorite plays. Why? Consider the following classic passage, so very perfect a description of politics and life now and for all time:
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings. (1.2.135)
When I think of the Republican's almost paraphilia-like fixation on manufactured conspiracies (and the language of "States Rights" and "nullification") I return to this section from Julius Caesar:
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
The genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection. (2.1.63)
What prose calls out to you as an apt description of the Age of Obama?


MaryK said...

William Butler Yeats: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity."

chauncey devega said...


Ben Grim said...

OK. I'll play.

To answer the question: What prose calls out to you as an apt description of the Age of Obama? The Shakespearean play that captures the essence of this Faustian demagogue is Macbeth: 'the Scottish lord who chooses evil as the way to fulfill his ambition for power.'

Vic78 said...

I'm going to have to go with Emerson's Self Reliance. I've been learning to trust myself more. My initial judgements have been on point enough to go with it.

chauncey devega said...

Goodness. You need to write up that script and get it made into a graphic novel or online cartoon.

chauncey devega said...

Good choice. I need to reread that--it has been too long.

Vic78 said...

He's pretty good. He justifies anyone's liberal arts degree.

Sujata said...

"After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What's not believed in, or if still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon
Into weak hands, what's thought can be dispensed with
Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think
Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices
Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues
Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree."

T.S. Eliot, "Gerontion"

chauncey devega said...

Excuse me! I need to do me more reading. So very timely and insightful.

Ben Grim said...

Well, the scenario doesn't originate with me. Insearchofblackassassins does make a credible presentation, nevertheless. I nor he nor anybody outside of the higher echelons of secret security state can know for sure. Whether the origins of Obama is as strange as all this, one thing seems fairly certain: he is a product of the CIA. Even if by more mundane means.

chauncey devega said...

Really? Was he trained like the girl in the movie Hanna?

When we seek out conspiracies we ignore the day-to-day plots and realities right in front of us.

ODS is a dangerous condition; get help :)

Ben Grim said...

You normalized folk tickle me pink. Notice that you haven't said nothing but that doesn't fit your sense of the way things work. That's because you have yet to overcome your programming. And I don't, for the life of me, see why not. You've got the freakin internet fergawdssake! Look up, man! See the freakin chemtrails! The psychopathic folks who can do that are capable of anything! Oh, I know, I know. That's just crazy conspiracy theory. Uh huh. Folks like you are what enables this shit. You're capable of research, but only on officially sanctioned subjects. Hence you're just gonna be used by these control freaks. You're going to enable them. That's why folks like Obama can literally get away with murder.

chauncey devega said...

Stop playing. I am open to many alternative theories about the hows and why of current and historical events. Believe it or not some folks have said I am "crazy" and a believer in "conspiracies" because of some of my perspectives. You can dig beneath the surface and fight against the approved narrative w.o. buying into narratives about Manchurian Candidate CIA trained Barack Obama. Do you also not believe he is a U.S. citizen?

Ben Grim said...

I have never found that issue particularly relevant. What is relevant is his use of multiple identities and social security numbers. If the people that vetted him didn't think that was an issue then I can only assume he's one of them. In addition he comes from a family of career CIA people. Do the math. As I said the scenario doesn't necessarily have to be as grim (though it's still sinister) as the one I depicted. Obama could have come by his CIA career path by ordinary workaday means. Blazee, blazee. But he's still a product of the CIA. Just like Bush I and Bush II. Or maybe their connections are conspiracy theory too.

Your casting Obama as a hapless victim of obstructionist racist Republicans just doesn't work anymore. He's pulled the same trick too many times. The Republicans did not force him to cut a deal with the insurance companies before the healthcare debate even began, adopting the individual mandate and rejecting the public option. The Grand Bargain and the preservation of the Bush Tax cuts was completely unforced, as was the cutting of the Social Safety net and the Sequestration scheme. All the acts of a person doing the opposite of things he would do if he were trying to win. If you don't know he's a Trojan Horse by now you are as I said, a true believer, Your views on Obama is akin to religion. His PR (brainwashing) program has been successful. As for me, I modestly dissent. Please, public, I know that somehow it has been made to seem that black America is proud of and stands behind Barack Obama and the things that he does, but please, I modestly dissent. He has nothing to do with the things I believe in. He does not represent me. I am quite happy to let him be a president that happens to be black and a president whose relationship to black people is of no consequence. Please, think of him as you would any white president. That's as bout as much relationship as I feel for him --the same as I would feel for any white president. His color is of absolutely no consequence, to me, whatsoever.

chauncey devega said...

Obama is a centrist Republican. I have said that many times. He has been obstructed by a party that believes in destroying normal politics and governance. There is some solid empirical data on this--which is why the Republicans made the move to defund political science research.

Racial identity politics is part of that game.

Obama has also surrendered on many issues to give cover to what he has actually wanted to do--chained cpi, tax policy, etc. etc.

I don't need narratives about fixed social security numbers and manchurian candidate stuff to figure that out.

What other great conspiracy theories do you have to share with the public? Open our eyes!!!

Ben Grim said...

That's about it, And if a man who chose to live in the dark opened his eyes, he still wouldn't be able to see.

chauncey devega said...

Unless he chose to live in the dark his whole life.

Ben Grim said...

Eight years of darkness would suffice:

"Imagine if at some point during the 1990s or 1980s the President of the United States had given a speech. And this was his speech:

My fellow Americans, I've been regularly shooting missiles into people's houses in several countries. I've wiped out families. I've killed thousands of people. Hundreds of them have been little children.

I've killed grandparents, wives, daughters, neighbors. I've targeted people without knowing their names but because they appeared to be resisting an occupation of their country. I've killed whoever was too near them. Then I've shot another missile a few minutes later to kill whoever was trying to help the victims.

I don't charge these people with crimes. I don't seek their extradition. I don't even try to kidnap them. And I don't do this to defend against any imminent threat. I don't make you safer by doing this. It goes without saying (although the people in the countries I target keep saying it) that I'm generating more new enemies than I'm killing. But I urge you to remember this: All but four of the people I've killed have been non-U.S. citizens.

So here's what I'm going to do for you":