Mount Trumpmore

Oh Great, That’s All We Needed!

If our current president were to get his face of Mount Rushmore, as he has urged, it would be tantamount to painting over the Sistine Chapel with a convocation of demons.

It is the opinion of most right-thinking Americans that Trump deserves no more than a footnote in the history books, similar to the contribution of Aaron Burr (who actually made it to the vice presidency in Thomas Jefferson’s first term) and Benedict Arnold and perhaps the fictional Man Without a Country. Will there be a Trump presidential library? (If there were, it would consist mostly of Tweets and executive statements of dubious legality.) When George W. Bush was in office, I mused that his Prezidenchul Lie-Berry wouldn’t amount to much. Trump’s would be even more laughable.

Think about it: What would be the legacy of Trump? Once you get past the corruption, the braggadocio, the conspiracy theories, and the outright lies, there wouldn’t be much else left. So sad.

When the Emperor Nero was forced to commit suicide by his enemies, he is said by Suetonius to have exclaimed “Oh what an artist dies in me!” I cannot help but think that sounds like our man in Washington, or is it Mar-a-Lago?

 

Serendipity: Fury Cursing the House of Atreus

The Progeny of Tantalus, Atreus, and Thyestes Is Cursed by the Gods

I have been reading the tragedies of Seneca, where I came upon this speech by the Fury that curses the progeny of Tantalus, which includes Atreus, Thyestes, Agamemnon, and Aegisthus. This occurs in the tragedy Thyestes. I cannot help relating it to the House of Trumpf in Washington.

Haughty brothers will lose their kingdoms, then be recalled from exile to rule again. The destiny of their house will swing violently back and forth between short-lived kings; the powerful will become humble, the humble powerful. Fortune will carry the kingship on a constant wave of uncertainty. When god restores to their country those exiled because of their crimes, they will return only to commit more. Everyone else will hate them as much as they hate each other. In their anger they will consider nothing off limits: brother will fear brother, father son, son father. Children will suffer wicked deaths but be born out of even greater wickedness. A hostile wife will plot against her husband. But in this wicked house adultery will be the most trivial of crimes. Righteousness, Faith, Law—all will perish. Wars will be carried across the seas; every land will be irrigated by bloodshed. Lust will exult victoriously over the mighty leaders of nations. Not even heaven will be exempt from your wickedness! Why do stars still shine in heaven’s vault? Why do their flames still feel obliged to offer their splendour to the world? No! Let there be deep night! Let day retreat from the sky! Embroil your household! Summon Hatred, Slaughter, Death! Fill the whole house with your contagion, fill it with the essence of Tantalus.

Just to refresh your memory, Tantalus was a son of Jupiter. He killed his son Pelops and attempted to feed him to the gods. “For this he was punished with eternal thirst and hunger while residing in a pool of water and surrounded by trees with low-hanging fruits, which would recede and retreat whenever he tried to drink or eat them—the origin of our word ‘tantalize.‘” (From the Penguin edition of Seneca’s Phaedra and Other Plays.)

Why were Seneca’s tragedies so dark? He was the Emperor Nero’s adviser, which drove him to commit suicide by taking hemlock.