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Sat Jan 13, 2018, 01:22 PM

MUST-READ: Mr. President, Your Toga Is Showing (Christopher Buckley, NYT - Trump/Caligula)

Found this thanks to a tweet from Laurence Tribe:





Trump is Caligula. I love it:




https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/opinion/mr-president-your-toga-is-showing.html

President Trump’s assertion of his “genius,” athwart recent reporting that his inner circle describes him in somewhat different terms — “moron,” “idiot,” “like a child” — along with concerns about his mental health, awakened a dormant memory of a scene in the 1970s TV adaptation of Robert Graves’s classic novel of ancient Rome, “I, Claudius.”

The Emperor Caligula, played to deranged and very scary perfection by John Hurt, tells his uncle Claudius: “I’m simply undergoing a change. It’s the most momentous transformation that any human being has ever achieved.”

Uncle Claudius’s frozen face is right out of Dorothy Parker’s “What fresh hell can this be?” He knows that this “change” portends no joy in Caesarville. But his life at the palace has made him nothing if not an artful survivor. Feigning delighted shock and awe, he tells his nephew: “I was blind not to see it instantly. You’re no longer human! May I be the first to worship you, as a g-g-g-god?”

Caligula replies with a weary air of menacing ennui, “It took you a long time to perceive that I’m no longer human.”

So begins the era of Caligula the God, and what fun it will be.

Mr. Trump’s declaration of his genius was of a piece with the sycophants rodeo in the White House cabinet room last June, when his consuls and lictors took turns lavishing praise on him in terms to make even Caesar blush.

-snip-

As the saying goes, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does often rhyme. Curious, I pulled my Penguin Classics paperback of Suetonius’ “The Twelve Caesars” off the shelf and turned to the Caligula chapter. Let’s go to the text:

-snip-

In his temple stood a statue of gold, the exact image of himself, which was daily dressed in garments corresponding with those he wore himself.

-snip-

He aggravated his barbarous actions by language equally outrageous. “There is nothing in my nature that I commend or approve so much,” said he, as his “inflexible rigor.” Upon his grandmother Antonia’s giving him some advice, he said to her, “Remember that all things are lawful for me.”

-snip-

In his behavior toward men of almost all ages, he discovered a degree of jealousy and malignity equal to that of his cruelty and pride.

-snip-

What most of all disordered him was want of sleep, for he seldom had more than three or four hours rest in a night …

“Donald Trump’s 4-Hour Sleep Habit Could Explain His Personality” (Daily Beast, April 2, 2016).

… and even then his sleep was not sound, but disturbed by strange dreams, fancying, among other things, that a form representing the ocean spoke to him. Being, therefore, often weary with lying awake so long, sometimes he sat up in his bed, at others, walked in the longest porticos about the house, and from time to time invoked and looked out for the approach of day.

“Is Chronic Sleep Deprivation Impairing President Trump’s Brain, Performance?” (USA Today, May 31, 2017).

-snip-

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Reply MUST-READ: Mr. President, Your Toga Is Showing (Christopher Buckley, NYT - Trump/Caligula) (Original post)
highplainsdem Jan 2018 OP
highplainsdem Jan 2018 #1
highplainsdem Jan 2018 #2
tblue37 Jan 2018 #3
highplainsdem Jan 2018 #4
dalton99a Jul 13 #5

Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Sat Jan 13, 2018, 01:37 PM

1. Kurt Andersen tweet about this:

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Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Sat Jan 13, 2018, 01:41 PM

2. Former NYT reporter calls the parallels "amazing and disconcerting":

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Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Sat Jan 13, 2018, 02:07 PM

3. But whereas Caligula had his whole horse made senator, Trump just appoints

horse's asses to cabinet posts and the federal bench and to head up essential agencies..

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 13, 2018, 11:45 PM

4. And the GOP seems to have a limitless supply of those horse's asses.

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Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Fri Jul 13, 2018, 01:24 AM

5. Kick

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