On the campaign trail

VOTERS-VOTE-IN-A-VOTING-B-009One of the more amusing pieces of electronic ephemera this election season is the new Twitter account Trump Reviews, which turns Trumpian rhetoric against literature instead of political candidates. Compared to Barack Obama’s interpretive skills, Trump’s evaluations aren’t even in the game, but they have a certain charm of their own. Here’s a sample:

Oedipus Rex (Sophocles): Failed king Oedipus made one of history’s worst decisions. STUPID to marry someone you know nothing about — BE CAREFUL

The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald): Sad little man Gatsby can’t get anyone to like him. Maybe he’s not as rich as he thinks. NOT GREAT AT ALL

And my personal favorite:

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (Eliot): Little bald Prufrock had his chance and blew it. Won’t even dare to eat a peach. He’s a total loser!

More here.

Tucked away on page A3 of this morning’s New York Times is this little piece of Republican/Democrat comparison embedded in a wonky analysis of convention delegate rules, courtesy of Toni Monkovic:

The superdelegates also offer some expertise. These days, Democrats typically have more trust in that quality. In a Pew survey, 68 percent of politically engaged Republicans said “ordinary Americans would do a better job than elected officials solving the country’s problems.” A smaller percentage of Democratic counterparts, 48 percent, felt the same way.

Maybe expertise shouldn’t be played down. Many Americans don’t know that crime is declining, but a lot of them believe that Bigfoot exists. And while Democrats are more likely to trust experts like scientists who say humans are causing climate change, they’re also more likely than Republicans to believe in astrology.

Mitt Romney’s ultimately ineffective takedown of Donald Trump on March 3 quoted from a letter by John Adams; here’s the full quote:

I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.

1 thought on “On the campaign trail”

  1. “Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.” Well, individuals had conquered much until their capitalist overlords began to function as a monarchy. I’m with Churchill on this one.

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