The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    I Am Part of the Resistance Inside King Lear's Court

    King Lear is facing a test to his monarchy unlike any other faced by a fictitious British monarch. It is not just that he parceled out his kingdom and left himself nothing. Or that the country is bitterly divided between his scheming, ungrateful daughters. Or even that the kingdom may soon be overwhelmed by French invaders.
    The tragedy – which he does not fully grasp – is that many of his own followers are working diligently from within to frustrate his goals.
    I would know. I am one of them.
    To be clear, ours is not the mealy-mouthed “resistance” of Cordelia and her sore-loser followers. We strongly believe in the division of this kingdom into unstable warring duchies. But we believe our first duty is to unchecked, unreasoning monarchical authority, and the King’s continued ravings bring autocratic one-man rule into disrepute. That is why many of his followers have vowed to do what we can to preserve tyrannical feudalism while thwarting King Lear’s more misguided impulses until his o’erburdened heart cracks and can bear no more.
    The root of the problem is that the King is outdoors, yelling at clouds. We are not even sure if he knows it’s raining. But whatever he is shouting for us to do, we’re not doing it. We could be hit by lightning out there. If he asks later, we’ll just pretend we don’t understand iambic pentamenter.
    Don’t get me wrong.  There are bright spots. Both Regan and Goneril are pretty hot – like, at least eights. We’re all much bigger deals at court than we were before everyone got banished. And seeing the old Earl of Gloucester’s eyes put out was, face it, pretty hilarious.
    But these good things have come despite – not because of – King Lear’s leadership, which is impetuous, petty, and obsessed with setting up obscure punch lines for his Fool.
    He veers off into long, ranting monologues that force us to check our footnotes. He shows up to important meetings dressed mostly in wildflowers. And he can angrily berate the furniture under the impression that it is part of his family.
    This erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes like us. Some of his courtiers have been cast as villains. But in private, we have gone to great lengths to keep his demented soliloquies out on the storm-tossed heath where they belong.
    It may be cold comfort as Britain descends into bloody civil war, but you should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to keep King Lear from messing it up for us.
    So when King Lear say orders us to execute a stool for the crime of being an ungrateful child, we definitely don’t do that. And we don’t go bothering Goneril or Regan. We just take away the stool. Problem solved! And also, more office furniture for us.
    Also, whenever Lear has one of his crazypants "character-growth" insights about doing more for the poor naked wretches or whatever, we don’t do that either. I mean, that money could go for something useful. We just say, “Ooooh, Your Majesty, how profound! It’s like the mad have really been the sane ones all along! Who’s really blind here, and who’s, like, symbolically blind?” Then he forgets and moves on to something else.
    This isn’t vulgar flattery. This is artful, steady flattery. Thou. Art. Welcome.
    Given the instability many have witnessed, there were early whispers of crowning some capable, legitimate successor in King Lear’s place to guide our country back to peace and sanity.. But no one really wanted to precipitate a dynastic crisis, especially when basically we already have one. So we will do what we can to steer this monarchy until -- one way or another -- it’s all over. Really, how much worse could it get?


    This is awesome. The carving up of the Kingdom. Preemptively.

    The thing is, that play does have a lot to say about loyalty, unprincipled obedience, and moral compromise. It even has lessons about what to do when the king is mad. But the op-ed writer isn’t doing a single thing that the play would suggest.

    I would also point out that the writer considers Trump mentally ill, but has no interest in getting him medical help. 

    Yes, I didn't get your point right away.
    The op-ed piece is not a profile in courage nor pointing to any kind of way forward.

    Too clever for me to attempt to  emulate so to the substance.

    Rachel's key question/implied comment was  "Why now ?".  Perceptive.

    For starters , at least a partial answer must be : because the author of the Times Oped wants it to cause something to happen that must happen.And wants it to happen now because if it doesn't  happen now it won't happen.

    Counting on the finger of one finger ,  the "something"  that fits that specification  is a democratic  November win..

    The likelihood of that being the answer to Rachel's question is not diminished by the absence of any such direct recommendation in the Oped. For the dems to prevail in November will require  not  only their doing their thing  but also the reps not doing theirs. Which  requires  causing them to think that their patriotic duty is not to pull the level for a dem- a hard sell- but  not to pull the lever at all.

    The cynical wise crack of my  adolescence 

    "vote early. And  often"

    is the opposite of what theOp ed suggests . Which is (for its intended  Republican audience )

    " Stay home!" 







    I think the primary goal of that op-ed is to help the writer survive professionally after Trump. That’s the only goal that makes sense. The op-ed itself undermines the project it describes, making Trump crazier and harder for his staff to restrain. So this is about the writer trying to avoid blame and stay employable. But the initial response suggests that sale hasn’t been made.

    There may be other inside-baseball goals I’m missing. Maybe the writer wants to undermine certain rivals, or earn Pence’s gratitude, or whatever. But the main thing is that the rats already know the ship is sinking.

    I think the primary goal of that op-ed is to help the writer 

    Of course . Impossible to disagree. As to the  primary goal. 

    But if not in most ,  than at least in an awful lot of cases , there's what Auden calls " private" reason.

    For the clear voice suddenly singing 

    high up in the convent wall 


    the handshake, the cough, the kiss

    there is always..........

    a private reason for this

    Out of congenital  naivety among my multiple reactions to the "quiet resistor", one is that

    the  private reason was exactly what she said . To be an "everyday citizen rising above politics."

    Mawkish of course but ironically that  itself tempts me to take it at face value. If it weren't so artless I'd be less

    likely to allow for the possibility the resistor actually wants  to do good.

    By electing a democratic congress to stop this madman.


    I just read a couple pieces out there right now from Never Trumper types basically saying the same thing you are here, Doc, David Frum @ The Atlantic & Rick Wilson @ Daily Beast.

    Bravo, sir!

    PS Jesters do oft prove prophets

    Thanks. And, uhhh ... mayhap?

    yez, what you write is not fiction, the unedited musings of the past 12 hours of @realDonaldTrump:


    6:15 PM - 5 Sep 2018

    Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!

    7:40 PM - 5 Sep 2018

    I’m draining the Swamp, and the Swamp is trying to fight back. Don’t worry, we will win!

    11:22 PM - 5 Sep 2018

    Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump.” Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!

    6:58 AM - 6 Sep 2018

    The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy - & they don’t know what to do. The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!

    7:19 AM - 6 Sep 2018

    Cosumer confidence highest in 18 years, Atlanta Fed forecasts 4.7 GDP, manufacturing jobs highest in many years. “It’s the story of the Trump Administration, the Economic Success, that’s unnerving his detractors.” @MariaBartiromo

    7:31 AM - 6 Sep 2018


    p.s  In the past, the King hath claimed fondness for Churchill. But in the stead of Keep Calm and Carry On! he now quotes @MariaBartiromo. Wow!

    But the next question is, who is recording what is going on in the kingdom itself? Paddy Chayefsky, perhaps?

    In one day , a former reality TV Star is considering treason charges while a guy who thinks tap water is turning frogs gay almost got in a fight with a Senator and another Rep banished a lunatic heckler with an auctioneer voice. This is the greatest fucking country in the world

    — Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) September 5, 2018

    Geez, turns out the above tweet wasn't a joke, was real! He got interest from studios just from floating an idea in a tweet!

    If this were played on the stage now, it would be counted an improbable fiction.

    Wasn't it the Bard who first said there's no business like show business? At least when he wasn't writing sonnets? cheeky

    Sonnet Youth - great band.

    The Harry Truman Show.

    well yeah, forgot about that one, it is apt too. wink I still like Network for so much of what's happening these days, though. In itself, what just happened to Iannucci with this one tweet is turning into another outside-the-proscenium type story, that there's a write up about it in WaPo now, and then that he retweets that! Narrative within narrative within narrative within narrative. What is left of reality when that happens, when it's so fractionated as it were? What is reality? We got a "reality show" president, but we all know by now nothing in "reality shows" is real, they are plotted and written and acted, just in a different way than they used to be with more me a headache, I was never that good at post post modern...

    Democracy dies in darkness

    — Armando Iannucci (@Aiannucci) September 6, 2018

    Given the instability many have witnessed, there were early whispers of crowning some capable, legitimate successor in King Lear’s place to guide our country back to peace and sanity  <ad removed>

    This is so good. 

    That is all.

    Anonymous? It was clearly written by The Earl of Oxford. Or Francis Bacon. A noble, for sure.

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