All the World Is Their Stage

The weaponization of Shakespeare continues apace.

Delta and Bank of America have pulled out of sponsoring the New York Public Theaters’s production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in Central Park because the Oskar Eustis-directed play features a Donald Trump–like Julius Caesar who gets knifed in the end. Good. Corporations are not obligated to bankroll the homicidal fantasies of the “Resistance.” Some may not realize, however, that this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park is a kind of B-side to last summer’s disastrous “The Taming of the Shrew,” which set that play inside a vulgar beauty contest put on by none other than then-candidate Donald Trump. That Public Theater production, staged five months before Election Day, was a smug political celebration of Hillary Clinton’s all-but-certain election. Trump went on to beat Hillary and so the new Trump-themed “Julius Caesar” is petty revenge.

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All the World Is Their Stage

Must-Reads from Magazine

The U.S. Must Show Iranians That They Can’t Have It All

Not a hard choice.

 

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Should Professors Go Public?

Reality and self-delusion.

Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Leonard Cassuto argues  that academics “need to go public.” That’s an extension of the reasoning behind his 2015 book, The Graduate School Mess, in which he questions the strange notion that advanced education in the humanities exists to produce unread journal articles.

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The DACA Compromise May Be Dead on Arrival

Bipartisanship really isn't popular.

Americans love it when politicians in Washington strike bipartisan deals that make everyone happy. At least, in theory. If that were true in practice, there would be many more bipartisan deals. Political realities ensure that compromise is almost always a fraught prospect. The temptation to eschew concession and consolation in order to court the uncompromising maximalists who hold sway over both party’s base voters is often too great to resist. The illusory consensus around a White House-backed proposal to pursue modest immigration reform is illustrative of this sorry state of affairs. The plan proposed by the Trump White House last week would make everyone happy. It’s a perfect middle ground. That’s precisely why it’s doomed.

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Confusing the Profane for Sacred

Contempt, not compassion.

Befitting our post-literate political age, in which the American president and his courtiers actively deride expertise and activists across the political spectrum reject thoughtfulness in favor of ornery truculence, Donald Trump’s style of reasonably communicative grumbles seems to be supplanting more formal forms of language. The all-consuming presidential cult has now sunk its hooks into the American Dialect Society. The nearly 130-year-old organization of linguists, lexicographers,  and grammarians revealed that 2017’s “word of the year” was “fake news,” a label the president applies to anything of which he disapproves—demonstrable or dubious—that finds its way into a journalist’s copy. But ADS saved a saucier “word of the year” for the internet crowd, and it far better exemplifies the rapid deterioration of the national discourse.

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What the Iran Protests Have Already Achieved

The breaking of myths.

More than 1,700 arrests and at least two-dozen deaths later, the Tehran regime seems to have suppressed Iran’s latest mass uprising. Scattered protests and skirmishes continue nationwide, according to the citizen-journalists who, braving regime violence, continue to post footage on social media. But for now, the demonstrations don’t seem to be growing in numbers or frequency. Yet outside observers tempted to write off the movement should recall that the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the shah began decades earlier. There were lulls through the years, which tempted President Carter at one point to describe the shah’s Iran as an “island of stability” in the Middle East.

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