Thursday, August 23, 2007

Beowulf, Grendel, and the Literate Paranoia of the Republicans

First, Maureen Dowd declared in a New York Times Op-Ed piece that the Iraq war "has turned into Grendel, devouring everything in sight and making it uninhabitable. It has ravaged Iraq, Bush’s presidency, the federal budget, the Republican majority, American invincibility and integrity, and now, John McCain’s chance to be president. And there’s no Beowulf in sight." And now, this past Sunday, on three morning news programs, Karl Rove first complained that Democrat leaders on Capitol Hill were like Captain Ahabs relentlessly pursuing him [making Karl Rove Moby Dick], and then later, to Chris Wallace on FOX News, he said,

"Let's face it, I mean, I'm a myth. You know, I'm Beowulf, you know, I'm Grendel. I don't know who I am, but they're after me."

It's sad that Karl Rove doesn't know who he is [in the eyes of his supposed persecutors], but isn't it great to see the classics of the Western canon get such play? Then again, maybe some people shouldn't read so much. There's literacy, and then there's . . . surreality. By which I mean: politics.


Karl Steel said...

Of course, by playing up the indeterminacy between Beowulf and Grendel, perhaps Rove's just hip to poststructuralism? Or, hell, even "irony."

Nah. Doubt it.

And then there's Bush's unfortunate Graham Greene reference.

What's next? Maybe Cheney will compare himself to Lady MacBeth.

Mary Kate Hurley said...

Maybe Cheney will compare himself to Lady MacBeth.

I'd pay to hear him say "Out, damn spot!" and its surrounding lines.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

See? See? I keep telling people that there are reasons to get a proper Liberal Arts degree! if nothing else, it may help keep you from being embarrassed in public. Rove never finished his degree, IIRC, and Bush managed a GPA most of us would find entirely unacceptable in ourselves, let alone the POTUS. One wonders whether it was subversive speech writing, or sheer stupidity based on people having seen the movie. In Rove's case, well, Grendel is a monster, but Beowulf is kind of a jerk. Me, I think Rove is more the dragon.