We took six hours yesterday to watch the second part of “The Hollow Crown,” a splendid mashup of the three Henry VI plays and Richard III done by a first-rate British cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch as the wicked king and Ben Miles as Somerset, the treacherous courtier who betrays the waffling Henry VI (Tom Sturridge). Odd how these things go in cycles. It’s been some time since I encountered the Henry VI-Richard III tetralogy done whole (the last play , of course is fodder for scenery-chewers) but this year, in a relatively few months, I’ve seen it twice, the first time being “Kings of War,” a fine inventive version at BAM. Anyway, this production completed the cycle (the first, Richard II, the two Henry IV plays and Henry V done no less magnificently – Tom Hiddleston was born to play Hal/Henry V – was shown last year.) Engrossed as we were, and engaged, full of admiration for the production and the performers, we came away at the end with one thought above all: my God, Shakespeare, how did you do it! His language is, to my mind at least, as close as we poor mortals are likely to come to the voice of God!
Now impends the Age of Trump, and with each day – each hour, it seems – right-wing creatures are emerging into sunlight – the Obama winter of their discontent made glorious summer by this son of Queens, as the Bard would say -and flexing their rhetorical muscles. Today’s Wall Street Journal hearkens back to the glory days of Bob Bartley about how mean Obama has been to the banks and how, at this eleventh hour, he’s giving them a last sharp kick in the regulatory ribs. I concede the Journal this much: Obama has been hard on banks when he should have been harder on bankers – there’s a difference, you know – and while a certain amount of penalty money has been collected, some of it ridiculously (as in the case of Fannie and Freddy), the regulatory overload imposed has severely limited the ability of banks to perform their social function while effecting little change in Wall Street’s sociopathic thinking. And now we face the prospect of the Journal and others trotting back onstage and treating us to four years, at a a minimum, of ludicrous amateur fascism.
1.Is Robert Harris – https://www.amazon.com/Conclave-novel-Robert-Harris/dp/0451493443/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482854838&sr=1-1&keywords=Robert+Harris – channeling Morris L. West? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shoes_of_the_Fisherman_(novel)
2.Fact or fiction? In Fixers the ex-CIA narrator is never told the source of the money that he’ll dispense to turn the 2008 Democratic primaries inside-out. I deliberately left that unspoken, although I confess I wasn’t thinking Putin. But if the ambiguity fits, wear it!