Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wright/Obama: "A Christian version of Sir John Falstaff and Prince Hal"

[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.


jhm said...

[OT] I see that Mr. Bill Bryson has a biography coming out which "reveals his frequently hilarious experiences looking for the man behind the legend. Busting a number of myths along the way...." There's no mention of whether this is truly a "Shakespeare" or Shakspear bio.

Thomism said...

Did de Vere really break wind in front of the Queen?
Years of intense study and meditation on the authorship debate have left me with that as my last remaining question.

neufer said...

In response to thomism:
Edward de Vere had the title
The 17th Earl of *OXENford* or *OXENforth* .

Now *OXEiN* is Greek for *to SMELL*
and *OXEN* are known to
break forth wind from time to time.

The *OXEiNforth* farting story is essentially
from: _A 1001 Arabian Nights_
. "How Abu Hasan Brake Wind" :
"O my mother, tell me the day when I was born; for such an one of my companions is about to take an OMEN for me." And the mother answered,
"Thou wast born, O my daughter,
on the very night when Abu Hasan farted."
Now Abu Hasan no sooner heard these words than he rose up from the bench, and fled away saying to himself,
. "Verily thy FART hath become a date,
. which shall last for EVER and EVER;
. even as the poet said:
. "As long as palms shall shift the flower;
. As long as palms shall sift the flour."
Abu Hasan returned to India and
there abode in self-exile till he died.

Mark said...

Oh, art art art.... thou hast no art.

And JHM: See my next post, dated May 17, for more on Bryson.

neufer said...

Mark said:
Oh, art art art.... thou hast no art.
Years of intense study and meditation on the authorship debate have left me with a reasonable response for almost any question. If you have a better response to the posed question, Mark, why not give it?