MacBird Outdid Trump as Caesar 45 years ago

 Julius Trump?

DATELINE:  Shakespeare in Absentia

We have seen many updated versions of Shakespeare over the years. Indeed, we enjoy seeing the Bard transported to new locations and timeframes. It often electrifies the message that has become stale to modern audiences.

We have seen Shakespeare set in Nazi Germany (Richard III), in the world of bikers (Coriolanus), in the world of independent film students (Hamlet), a corporate boardroom (Othello), and now we find a stage production of Julius Caesar in American politics.

The Shakespeare in the Park production makes Caesar a lookalike Donald Trump who hath grown ambitious. He has that chock of blond hair weave and an overlong red tie. He also has a bloated ego.

The man who would be emperor is assassinated by senators with knives, just like 2000 years ago. How much progress we have made in politics?

This version has created a firestorm, causing corporate sponsors to try to stifle artistic expression by withdrawing support. It’s a tempest in a teapot.

We think back to the Vietnam War days—and back then we must have been less sensitive because Macbeth was presented on stage in the form of MacBird.

That little ditty suggested that Lyndon Johnson had been behind the assassination of John Kennedy. In this cruel satire, without the Shakespearean tongue, the Scottish thane Macbird and his wife, Lady Bird, are party to a ruthless series of killings to rise to the top of the nation. Was Lyndon not born of woman?

We recall amusement about seeing a dumb tasteless play that presented President Johnson portrayed for conspiracy theorists  as Macbeth, but it did not quite engender the furor that President Trump has exemplified in a Caesar mode.

Satirizing politics of the moment has become a dangerous business. Just ask Alec Baldwin or Kathy Griffin who claim they are subject to social anger on social media.

So, too, Julius Caesar has created a debate—not about politics, but about art. To be or not, we’ll wait for the movie version.

Et Tu, Brutus–and Ted Wells Too

DATELINE: Wells at Work

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Ted Wells reminds us of Brutus after he had stabbed Julius Caesar in the back.

“Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, that
you may believe: close your mind and ignore science and facts, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
“If there be any in this lynch mob, any dear friend of
Tom Brady, to him I say, that Goodell’s love for Tom Brady
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Ted Wells rose against the Patriots, this is my answer:
–Not that I loved Tom Brady less, but that I loved
an hourly retainer for my services more.

“Had you rather Brady were not suspended and
we all live in a state of deflation, than that Tom Brady is gone, to give
other teams a chance to win?

“If Tom Brady loves football, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honor him: but, as he was ambitious, I
deflated him.

“There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honor for his valor; and deflation for his
career. Who is here so base that would be a
referee? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be an agent? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his hometown team? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

“Then none of importance have I offended. If you are a Patriot fan, tough luck. I have done no more to
Tom Brady than you shall do to Ted Wells.

“The question of his suspension is enrolled in the NFL Park Ave offices; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy, but he will never go into the Hall of Fame if there is another paid word in me.”