Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’

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Rep. Peter King is an ass

May 4, 2010

Dogberry. Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O that he were here to write me down an ass! but, masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.

The top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee stands self-indicted by his words to Politico earlier, regarding the latest bungled act of terrorism in Times Square.

“I hope that [Attorney General Eric] Holder did discuss this with the intelligence community. If they believe they got enough from him, how much more should they get? Did they Mirandize him? I know he’s an American citizen but still,” King told POLITICO.

And I understand he is Pakistani-born and a naturalized citizen, but still. American citizenship is not conditional. It’s not something we overlook when it seems inconvenient.

Don’t give me that look, pal. You are an ass. Forget it not.

Cinco de Mayo edit!

I would be remiss in failing to lambaste one of my own senators for echoing this craven call for denial of citizens’ rights.

McCain, echoing comments he’s made in previous national security situations, said on a radio program this morning that “obviously that would be a serious mistake [to Mirandize Shahzad]… at least until we find out as much information we have,” the Hill reports.

“Don’t give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it’s all about,” McCain added.

I wonder how this grab for gov’t power will do to burnish McCain’s street cred with the militia wingnut crowd. I have my doubts.

Ah, I’ve been spotted! Well, at least they can’t bust me for Driving While Hispanic.

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A surprising insight

April 29, 2010

So last night, thanks to a tip from Sue, I was watching PBS again. Two nights in a row, strange. This time it was to see a performance of Hamlet starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart. Stranger still that I should see Hamlet performed by Doctor Who and Captain Picard, eh?

Interesting how I had missed something in a particular scene up till now, and Stewart managed to show it to me. At the end of Act 3, Scene 3, Hamlet has a chance to kill Claudius but fails to do so, as he catches Claudius in the act of praying. Thinking he would send his father’s killer straight to heaven, sins forgiven from prayer, he opts to wait (and adds to the body count).

In other performances I had missed something here; Claudius is trying, failing to pray — failing to repent.

But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? ‘Forgive me my foul murder’?
That cannot be; since I am still possess’d
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.
May one be pardon’d and retain the offence?

And so he forces himself to kneel, as if angels could compel him to repentance; and this is how Hamlet finds him. Mistaken, he misses the opportunity. But I think it was Stewart’s sinister half-smile as he speaks the scene closed that made me see it. What a smile!

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

Perhaps in the other times I’ve watched this, the emphasis was changed, or lost — all on Claudius’ sense of guilt, nothing on his essential failure here. I’ve heard all the words spoken before, several times, but it’s a great performance that shows the meaning I’d been missing. The program lives up to its name. And Claudius certainly lives up to Hamlet’s proclamation from the first act:

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.