Tag Archives: politics

Trollope, Obama, Schmoozing, & the Media

Barack Obama’s distaste for schmoozing is reminiscent of the Duke of Omnium’s own distaste in Anthony Trollope’s “Prime Minister.” And the press in Trollope’s novel is just as self-righteous as it is today.

Posted in Trollope (Anthony) | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Satan: Freedom Fighter Turned Dictator

“Paradise Lost” can function as a lesson in how freedom fighters become dictators. It also shows what we must do to resist this tendency.

Posted in Milton (John) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Political Consultants Should Read Lit

Which literary works would you recommend to a political consultant to stay in touch with his or her soul and avoid becoming lost in the dark side? How about Hawthorne, Melville, Shakespeare, Pinter, and Terrence McNally?

Posted in Hawthorne (Nathaniel), McNally (Terrence), Melville (Herman), Pinter (Harold), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ted Cruz’s Starring Role in “The Crucible”

Can you guess what role Ted Cruz played in “The Crucible” when in law school? And what does the play have to do with the color of the dress?

Posted in Miller (Arthur) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When American Fantasies Are Dangerous

The denial of reality that has taken over certain segments of the GOP is well described by Neil Gaiman in “American Gods.” America has a long tradition of such fantasizing.

Posted in Gaiman (Neil) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is It Time to Bring Out Twain’s War Prayer?

The GOP and Netanyahu are trying to sabotage Obama’s negotiations with Iran. Could Mark Twain’s “War Prayer” knock some sense into them?

Posted in Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dickens Understood Resentment Well

When resentment threatens to hijack our politics, we would do well to turn to Dickens’ “Little Dorrit.”

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

Hunkering Down in Hard Times

When your side loses in an election, be like Mary Oliver’s blue heron: hunker down, absorb the blows, and keep the fire of hope burning.

Posted in Oliver (Mary), Shelley (Percy) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using Kipling to Voice Despair

Roger Cohen of the New York Times turns to a Kipling poem to express his despair about the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

American Politics, Dashiell Hammett Style

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

Posted in Hammett (Dashiell) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Principle or Expedience?

Trollopes “Last Chronicle of Barset” pits principle against expediency in a fascinating struggle.

Posted in Trollope (Anthony) | 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 , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Christie Aides Targeted Sokolich

Why did Chris Christie aides target Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and close down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge? Voltaire has the answer.

Posted in Voltaire | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Melville and Climate Change Denial

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

Posted in Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Race Disagreements amongst Friends

The intricacies of the debate between Chait and Coates on the culture of poverty can be sorted out by applying Aphra Behn’s “Oroonoko.”

Posted in Behn (Aphra) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Chris Christie as “Boss” Willie Stark

Chris Christie resembles Willie Stark in “All the King’s Men” in more than a few ways.

Posted in Warren (Robert Penn) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Tom Perkins & America’s Dragon-Like 1%

Tom Perkins complaining about Nazi-like progressives resembles the dragon in “Beowulf.”

Posted in Beowulf Poet | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Unhinged Partisanship

Anthony Trollope shows us partisanship at its worst.

Posted in Trollope (Anthony) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

Sad Christie Knows Nothing

Chris Christie has resorting to plausible deniability such as that discussed in Shakespeare’s “Richard II” and “Antony and Cleopatra.”

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Looking Back to a Time When Hope Waved

Lucille Clifton’s poem on looks back to a time of hope–before the Kennedy assassination.

Posted in Clifton (Lucille) | 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

Disaster Ahead, No More Fantasizing

Can the Tea Party move beyond fantasies and deal with the world as it really is? Shakespeare and Yeats weigh in.

Posted in Shakespeare (William), Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shutdown and Debt Crisis Doggerel

A witty bit of doggerel captures the twists and turns of the debt ceiling and government shutdown conflict.

Posted in xpostfactoid | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Plague on BOTH Houses? No, Only One

“A plague on both your houses” doesn’t work for Mercutio or for citizens today.

Posted in Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Government Shutdown? Call in the Bard

Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” offers a wish fulfillment that we can apply to the government shutdown.

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

When Hostage Taking Backfires

The GOP hostage takers resemble the Light Brigade, as well as the kidnappers in “Ransom of Red Chief,” “Fargo,” and “Ruthless People.”

Posted in O'Henry, Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Shutdown, Clancy & Darkness at Noon

Tom Clancy helped create the narrative by which the Tea Party functions. Arthur Koestler may describe John Boehner’s inner state.

Posted in Clancy (Tom), Koestler (Arthur) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Needed in Congress: A Deus Ex Machina

If Boehner channeled the spirit of Athena in “The Odyssey,” he could reopen the government tomorrow.

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

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete