[Creative Commons image by tsevis]
In this week's "Campaign Trail" podcast from The New Yorker, political correspondents/essayists Hendrik Hertzberg and Ryan Lizza liken the recent kerfuffle over Sen. Barack Obama's retired, contentious former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. to that of a "Christian version" of Henry V.
Hertzberg says:"It's kind of a Christian version of Sir John Falstaff and Prince Hal. The pain that Prince Hal goes through is what Obama is going to have to go through to break this tie."
Elsewhere, the Terre Haute News in Indiana on Saturday weighed in on the analogies to Henry V found in today's headlines:
Shakespeare happens to be pertinent on the matter. The lovable, mischievous, quixotic, boastful, blustering, pretentious, cowardly, hypocritical, deceitful, gluttonous, devilish, joyous, pompous, witty, goodhearted, loquacious, hard-drinking buffoonish and obese sybarite, Falstaff (surely one of the greatest creations in all of literature!) is a fast friend, a bosom buddy of the young Prince Hal, heir to the throne of England and destined to be lionized as Henry V, a great warrior and king of a great nation. Faced with the awesome demands of duty to his country, he brazenly and abruptly breaks ALL ties and allegiances to the old tub of exuberant, joy-generating lard, the beloved and decadent companion of his carousing days of miscreant youth.
But, the writer says, "Obama is no Prince Hal" because at the time the piece was written, Obama hadn't yet cut his ties with the incendiary pastor.
Wherever one stands on the Wright-gate scandal for Obama, scenes from an old history play do seem to be enacted before our eyes on the public stage today.