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Julius Trump

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Conservatives are going ballistic and sponsors bailing because the Shakespeare in the Park series is putting on a version of Julius Caesar with a Trump-like Caesar.

Of course, when Julius Caesar was put on during the Obama years with a black character in the lead role, conservatives sang a different tune.

Largely, I’m just glad the war on art that doesn’t serve the Dear Leader continues on the right. Isn’t it about time for a Piss Trump art display to galvanize the hoopleheads?

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  • N__B

    Since they never read or see plays, the RWNJs probably all miss the point that the direct critique of DJT isn’t in the scene where Caesar is killed, it’s in Antony’s funeral oration: The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones. In DJT’s case, the amount of good he’s done will allow him to be buried in a shoebox.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      In DJT’s case, the amount of good he’s done will allow him to be buried in a shoebox

      You misspelled “thimble.”

      • N__B

        I was repurposing the punchline to an old joke.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Hitches actually said “matchbox,” into which you could fit Falwell père after giving him an enema.

          • N__B

            Heh. The joke’s a lot older than that, but I like that use of it.

      • anapestic

        If he has itty bitty hands, then doesn’t he also have itty bitty feet?

    • tsam

      They shouldn’t be mad anyway. Drawing a comparison between Julius and Orange Julius is a big upgrade.

  • Fats Durston

    This could all come off as very cheap and obvious, but it doesn’t for two reasons. First, because the rhetoric of the Tea Party opposition to Obama partakes of an intellectual tradition that self-consciously traces its lineage back to Brutus

    So true. Who can forget the teabaggers’ carrying copies of The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, citing Plutarch, and wearing their togas? Or when Brutus said, “What means this shouting? I do fear, the people choose to keep government out of their medicare!”

  • Adam Roberts

    Julius Sleaze-Czar.

    • Karen24

      My compliments to you and I am totally stealing that one.

  • Morse Code for J

    Caesar served in his country’s military with distinction at every step, wrote a masterpiece of Latin prose that is used today to teach the language, seduced the wives of his political rivals, developed a calendar used for 1,600 years, set the Roman Empire on a course to rule the Mediterranean and western Europe for hundreds of his years after his death.

    Trump should be tickled by the comparison, especially since Caesar never allowed himself to bloat like that.

    • medrawt

      In the appearances department, Caesar was apparently rather annoyed by his receding hairline, though, so Trump can connect with him there.

      (I just finished reading a book on Julius Caesar, and it was interesting to look at the evolution of the busts made of him, starting with one or two probably from his own lifetime, showing a reasonably good looking man wearing middle-age well [with true-to-life hair], to the very idealized images that followed, his distinctive features being shaped into something iconically “noble”.)

      • Morse Code for J

        As long as humanity has existed, it has craved Photoshop.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          Truly we live in The Best of Times.

          • so-in-so

            Truly we live in The Best of Times.

            No, not until we can holographically that Photoshopped image over our real persons in real time!

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          …and yet we still gimp along, as best we can.

          • Dave Empey

            ISWYDT

        • BruceJ

          Or in Caesar’s case, ‘Marbleshop’…

    • searcher

      It’s been awhile since I read that part of history, but wasn’t Caesar the progressive/populist in Roman politics? I mean, sure, emperor, end of the Roman Republic, etc, but the opposition to him was largely the rich old men in the entrenched power structure, who stood to lose if the Senate lost prestige and power.

      • Morse Code for J

        The old money was against Caesar because they had hoped to restore an oligarchy where they mattered most, of which the Senate’s primacy was part. When Caesar went to Gaul to conquer, the vast majority of Roman soldiers were under Pompey’s legates in Spain, Caesar in Gaul, and Crassus in Syria, and the Senate could not do much about it. The provincial governorships that brought money and prestige to elected magistrates of senatorial rank were thus harder to get, and the First Triumvirate could make any law they wanted through the tribunes of the plebs (the Senate and People’s lawmaking authority ran parallel to each other, although the tribunes could veto acts of the Senate, if the Senate didn’t institute a decree forbidding it…the late Roman Republic’s constitution needed a lot of revision).

        Caesar had the bankers in his pocket, and he bribed lavishly to accomplish his ends. His soldiers were common Romans and Italian provincials with no other avenues for advancement or building wealth, and his campaigns made them rich. The People liked Caesar as a champion of their interests over the Senate, which prospered from inherited wealth and slave labor while the majority of Roman citizens got by on a state allowance for grain and such entertainments as the rich would arrange in celebration of holidays, elections and funerals.

      • twbb

        Pretty much every player in Roman political history was a terrible person.

        • Origami Isopod

          I’d exempt the Brothers Gracchi.

        • tsam

          That’s nvts. Spartacvs was pretty awesome. I saw a whole TV series about him.

      • medrawt

        The most heated opposition to Caesar wasn’t a result specifically of his populist legislation, it was about him personally. The original compromise between Antony and the conspirators, which inevitably failed, was to declare that Brutus et al. hadn’t done anything wrong, but also confirmed that all of Caesar’s laws and appointments were to stand and could not be undone. Indeed, many of the conspirators themselves had been “elected” to position at Caesar’s behest.

        Cicero in particular is on the record in his correspondence as saying over and over again “this is a good law, I wish it hadn’t come from Caesar,” and this is an attitude that goes back at least to his first consulship, before he went to Gaul, when he was merely a very powerful politician. This isn’t to say that there wasn’t also a genuine anti-populist sentiment among many Senators, but to me it seems that anti-Caesar sentiment started with resentment of Caesar the person – his meteoric rise and flamboyant nature – and ended with a genuine fear of tyranny-for-its-own-sake, and had little to do with opposing his policy agenda.

    • Seitz

      “Julius Caesar is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.”

  • “Isn’t it about time for a Piss Trump art display to galvanize the hoopleheads?

    Someone was on it.
    https://twitter.com/HarryTuttle11/status/874290854986436608

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    William Shakespeare dings Delta.

    I wonder what he thinks of TSA Security Theater?

    “Is this a dagger I see before me?”

    • Hogan

      “No, you damn fool, it’s a toothbrush.”

      • trollhattan

        “Verily, teeth have brushes? What dark magic is thus foretold?”

        • AlanInSF

          In fairness to Delta, Shakespeare’s plays often make people uncomfortable.

          • Randy

            Then they should be a proud sponsor. Customer discomfort is an important part of Delta’s business model.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    In the Trump era more than ever, this kind of faux outrage is all the right has left. I mean, it’s tough controlling all three branches of government and still trying to keep your base furious all the time.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      And it’s still a couple of months before we can hear endless broadcasts about the “War on Christmas”.

      Though with Bill-O gone, that tradition just won’t be the same. Sad.

      • ScottK

        They’re running out of time, but I still put it at 50/50 they’ll gin up a “War on Independence Day” to keep the indignation bubbling.

        Then they’ll find a way to make Labor Day about ‘job creators’ instead of workers – I recall this already beginning last year or the year before though I can’t find the specific example.

        • Randy

          There have been sporadic efforts at this for years. I recall an op-ed in the 80s from some Chamber of Commerce type urging us to remember the REAL heroes of Labor Day: The businessmen, who create the jobs!

        • Hogan

          Every day is Capital Day.

  • I eagerly await Trumpigula.

    • farin

      I hear Robert Mueller is working on arranging a screening of that, but it might be too filthy to get a wider release.

      • I heard the Russians already filmed it.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          Is Trump pissed?

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      There’s a History Channel documentary special on Caligula that airs periodically (don’t know the original airdate, but it seems to be before the channel’s bullshit turn). Its premise is that his post-illness behavior wasn’t psychosis so much as a campaign to undermine the Senate’s authority by trolling/humiliation – by the same token, the infamous Battle Against Neptune is surmised to have been intentional humiliation of the legions for welshing on a British invasion.

    • Davis

      I’d be OK if he nominated a horse to his cabinet.

      • Morse Code for J

        It’d be the only one who wasn’t looking to cut a plea deal with the Justice Department.

      • Randy

        The horses’ asses jokes are far too obvious.

        • Hogan

          The June 11th, 1973 cover of Time magazine featured the horse Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown. [Note that this was in the middle of the Watergate investigation.] In the July 2nd edition, a Letter to the Editor asked how many readers had sent a letter saying, in effect: How refreshing it was to see for a change a cover that showed the front end of a horse. Time‘s answer: Sixty-five so far.

      • Roger Ailes

        Conway couldn’t pass the security clearance.

  • Karen24

    And these are the guys supposedly protecting the Great Books from the depredations of feminists? It never occurred to them that the best way to get people to love Shakespeare is to see his works being performed?

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      May I introduce you to Steve Bannon’s Titus Andronicus?

      https://nowthisnews.com/steve-bannon-hip-hop-rap-musical

      • Karen24

        Good bleeding grief.

        I read the article and they say it’s “Coriolanus,” “which at least has an actual song in it. Still, GAG!!!!!

        • JMV Pyro

          Of course it would be Coriolanus. That was the one the Nazis really liked.

      • The Titus Andronicus remake is still to come. It won’t be a play .

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Right, I mixed them up – although I believe Bannon bankrolled the film adaptation “Titus.”

          BTW, what’s the verdict on “Titus” being a parody?

          • The Great God Pan

            You were actually kind of right.

            Bannon did shop around his own version of Titus Andronicus, which was not a hip-hop musical but a pretentious sci-fi epic with dialogue suggestive of a dorm-room bullshit session among stoned philosophy undergrads (see the link for excerpts).

            He eventually ended up optioning Taymor’s adaptation instead. After it bombed he said, “If they’d done it my way, it would have been a hit.”

            • The Great God Pan

              I don’t know why the link contains the LGM URL. The rest of the link works if you delete that part.

      • JMV Pyro

        Those people really do deserve credit for keeping straight faces during all of that.

  • sigaba

    Pray forgive me, is this not a dupe?

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      That was by Shakezula, this is by Loomis.

  • The fact that the sponsors are pulling out makes it a little hard to join in the merry-making. I mean, yay, conservatives are yet against flaunting their illiteracy for all the world to see, but it’s a futile victory if there’s an actual chilling effect on the arts because of it.

    (That said, I do agree with some reactions I saw that pointed out that equating Caesar with the sitting president is the height of unoriginality, even if you ignore that Trump is no Caesar. I mean, just the fact that there have been Caesars in the form of every president in the last thirty years speaks to the device’s tiredness, but apparently the actor playing Caesar is Gregg Henry, who last year played a Trump expy on Scandal? No one here was working very hard to find a new take on the play, is what I’m saying.)

    • SatanicPanic

      I agree, Caesar is kind of a crappy analogy and actually plays into Trump’s whining. Can we really imagine Republicans turning on Trump? I can’t.

    • N__B

      Gregg Henry, for me, will be always be (spoiler alert) the bad guy with the big drill in Body Double.

      • Seitz

        For me he’ll always be the kid I met in kindergarten, was good friends with through high school, and a college roommate for three years. But that might be uber-specific to me.

        • N__B

          It would be even more specific if you said that he was the grandfather you left behind when kidnapped by aliens.

    • farin

      Conservatives should be delighted then!

      …but on reflection, it’s not easy to find an actual Trump analog in Shakespeare. He was just too competent to write such an empty, nuanceless character. Stephano, maybe?

      • I mean, generally speaking I think a lot of pop culture has a problem right now, in that if you wrote a Trump-like character and gave him a storyline in which he become president, you’d be accused of laying it on too thick. Even on Scandal, Henry’s character was just a distraction before much smarter (and more evil) politicians took the reins of power.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          I remember thinking before the election that the “we the public know Norman Osborn’s the Green Goblin and is insane but Secret Invasion so he’s chill now that he has govt. access to hero IDs, LOLOLOL” aspect of Dark Reign was one of the stupidest fucking things I’d read in comics, although after that my opinion has changed more to “meh” at worst.

      • blowback

        Macbeth can work quite well in most situations. For example, Trump as a gay Russophile Macbeth, V. Putin as Lady Macbeth, Bannon, Stone and Manafort as the Witches, Hillary as Duncan, Chelsea as Malcolm, etc.

        • farin

          But Macbeth came into the events of the play as a beloved military hero and has to be pushed hard to scheme for more power. He still had the guts to wield the knife himself, though, and enough of a conscience to conjure up the ghosts.

      • Warren Terra

        it’s not easy to find an actual Trump analog in Shakespeare

        Bottom works quite well. He is the blustering, lying, ignorant leader of a band of simpletons, who believe and admire him; he is unexpectedly given great status in order to humiliate a powerful, capable woman; and, of course, he is quite literally a jackass.

        Shakespeare doesn’t actually say he’s oddly orange of hue, but I think it’s implied.

        • Maybe this is just based on the productions I’ve seen, but Bottom has always struck me as a deeply human and sympathetic character. A little full of himself, yes, but fundamentally decent and loving. His speech after being released from the fairies’ enchantment is heartbreaking, absolutely not the sort of thing I could imagine Trump saying.

          • Warren Terra

            I’m not saying it’s perfect.

            Also, it’s been a long, long time since I read the play, and I suspect a lot of productions use Bottom entirely as a jackass (when he’s human, and when he’s not) and skip his affecting speech.

        • efgoldman

          Bottom works quite well.

          Bottom is funny. Orangemandyas is pathetic. Bottom is also, ultimately, a friend and part of a group. Coral Cankersore is maybe the loniest loner I have ever seen in my life. And of course, Bottom the Weaver works for a living (even if it’s implied that he’s not terribly good at it). Tangerine Temper Tantrum has never worked a second in his miserable life.

      • Owlbear1

        Falstaff.

        • altofront

          Dear God, no. For one thing, Trump doesn’t have a witty bone in his body.

          Really, we need to turn to someone like Ben Jonson: Volpone would not be a bad analogue to Trump.

        • LFC

          Re Falstaff: yes.
          As I had occasion to mention elsewhere, see one of the tavern scenes in 1 Henry IV where Falstaff’s lies are as gross and palpable as their begetter (as Hal says).
          Of course the analogy isn’t perfect: Falstaff is witty, Trump isn’t. etc.

          • altofront

            There’s no way you could attribute to Trump the radical generosity of spirit that animates Falstaff. (And siding with Hal against Falstaff demonstrates an almost Trumpian admiration for brutal authoritarianism.)

    • DocAmazing

      The fact that the sponsors are pulling out makes it a little hard to join in the merry-making.

      Not a problem. Circulate that list of sponsors and make merry by Spocko-ing them. Let them know that they lose business by being cowardly.

      • Yeah, I’m sure Bank of America is going to be hurting for customers in the wake of this. And Delta? They’re probably still riding high on not being the airline where you take the chance of being beaten bloody when you get on one of their planes. I don’t think either one of them is going to take much of a hit off this.

        • Warren Terra

          Without having any great love for United, it’s curious how the airline seems to be getting all the opprobrium for the vicious acts of some Port Of Chicago / O’Hare cops. Sure, United was wrong to attempt to displace a seated, ticketed passenger, but the particular outrage was the cops’ doing. United gets some blame there, too – presumably the cops were involved as they were licensed to use force – but the extreme violence used was surely not completely predicable.

        • DocAmazing

          The right-wing press doesn’t even support Delta, let alone folks who remember Kevin Smith’s fat-shaming tweets:

          http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/05/04/california-family-booted-from-delta-air-lines-flight-after-refusing-to-give-up-toddlers-seat.html

          http://nypost.com/2017/05/27/delta-airlines-allegedly-held-this-dog-hostage-for-33-hours/

          and BofA is still out $17B in settlement to DoJ. I’d say a good push will be felt. Of course, throwing up one’s hands and pleading irrelevance is a valid tactic, too.

          • so-in-so

            Carrot Top routine some years back: “You know what the initials stand for? Don’t Expect Luggage To Arrive.”

  • Shantanu Saha

    You might think that the Orange one might be flattered with the comparison to Julius Caesar.

    Of course, if Trump is Caesar, then Pence would be Marc Antony. It’s hard to see Pence running off with the Queen of Egypt, however.

    And Octavian would be… Jared? Doesn’t strike me as nearly intelligent enough to become the new Augustus; even C+ Agustus Bush was more competent.

    • Gwen

      Trump bestrides the world like a colossal douche.

    • Davis

      Pence wouldn’t even have dinner with the Queen of Egypt.

      • LFC

        @Davis
        +1

  • Terok Nor

    He was my friend, and stabbed me in the back when it was in his interest.
    He hath brought many captives home to Rome, whose ransoms he did divert into his pockets.
    When the poor have cried, Trump saw an opportunity to make a quick buck.
    You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice offered him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse because it wasn’t glitzy enough.
    But Hillary was ambitious, so we can’t have her.

  • N__B
    • Mellano

      Like Ivanka would ever reject a free gift of

      Like Trump would ever give away his

      Like Trump has any unencumbered property to give away.

  • McAllen

    “This is a PC attack on free speech by a bunch of snowflakes who want art to be a safe space–wait, conservatives are the ones complaining? I’ll come in again”

  • Mutombo

    Is this production directed by Kathy Griffin or her photographer?

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