Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Witchcraft and Statecraft

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
-Macbeth, Act V, scene v

Toil and Trouble
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 9, 2008

Maureen Dowd is feeling very Shakespearean lately and clearly obsessed with black magic. She recently called Hillary Clinton Lady Voldemort, which is clearly a portmanteau of Lady Macbeth and the villain from the Harry Potter series. Today she more explicitly compares the war in Iraq to Macbeth’s sorcery filled tale.
Maybe it was because I was sitting in the back of the Senate chamber with three war protesters — grim-faced, chanting women dressed in black hooded cloaks, white makeup and blood-red hands — that I felt as though I were watching a production of “Macbeth” rather than a hearing on Iraq.

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair,” the witches in the play said. “Hover through the fog and filthy air.” (Act I, scene i)
General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker were first called The Surge Twins (as opposed to the Glimmer Twins) back on September 12, 2007 (just a week before yours truly began documenting Dowd’s pop cultural fascination with Rude Names®). They are back for an encore:
The Surge Twins were back, but the daylong testimony of David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker before two committees seemed more depressing this time. As the Bard writes in “Macbeth”: “From that spring whence comfort seemed to come, discomfort swells.” (Act I, scene ii)
That’s two quotes from the first act. I don’t know if she is saving the rest of the play for a later column or if that is just as far as she got before getting tired of the sophomore English conceit. And I know Dowd doesn’t know enough comic books to make a deliberate Green Lantern reference, but I read this as “guardians of Oa” the first time I read it:
The guardians of Iraq offer more of the same — a post-Surge Pause or “consolidation and evaluation,” as the general generically puts it — and no answers about how we can stop our ward from aligning with our enemy.
And I have no idea whether a post-Surge Pause is anything like menopause, but they both seen to be rather chaotic events.

I’m not sure what Dowd has against the senator from California, but she gives her props here:
You know you’re in trouble when Barbara Boxer is the voice of reason.

“Why is it,” she asked, “after all we have given — 4,024 American lives, gone; more than half-a-billion dollars spent; all this for the Iraqi people, but it’s the Iranian president who is greeted with kisses and flowers?”

She warmed to: “He got a red-carpet treatment, and we are losing our sons and daughters every single day for the Iraqis to be free. It is irritating is my point.”
Ambassador Crocker dryly assured the senator from California that he believed that Dick Cheney had also gotten kissed on his visit to Iraq.
Cheney may have gotten kissed, but it’s the American people that are getting screwed.

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

That’s two quotes from the first act. I don’t know if she is saving the rest of the play for a later column or if that is just as far as she got before getting tired of the sophomore English conceit.

Maybe both -- they're not mutually exclusive. But God help us if it gets to the point when MoDo starts quoting Titus Andronicus!