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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Busy Giddy Minds with Foreign Quarrels

[Update: The cycle has been continued here]

Now that George HW Bush has broken down crying while giving a speech about how his younger son Jeb "serve[d] with honor" in public life--a reaction that's fairly easy to psychoanalyze in relation to his elder son's notable lack of honor in his presidency--isn't it about time someone started writing in earnest that Shakespearean history cycle of the Bush family? I know people have talked about this before, but I'm quite serious. I think we should write it (in blank verse), and I really think it could be a huge success, starting off-Broadway but ending up on Broadway. A postmodern coup de theatre. The cycle would clearly have to have a darker trajectory than Shakespeare's two cycles, unless we stressed the undertones of Henry V's final Chorus about Henry VI, "Whose state so many had the managing, / That they lost France and made his England bleed." Ultimately, I think we'd need to modify the Shakespearean history form to accommodate a tragic ending, and we'd need to modify history itself (perfectly in keeping with the Shakespearean history form) to accommodate the deaths of most of the characters, in order to make the story dramatically satisfying.

The story thus far has so much going for it: the question of descent and inheritance; the rival sons, with the younger inheriting the elder's birthright; a father and son with the same name, to infuriate future undergraduates reading our history cycle; a fabled family past with a complex (and for undergrads impossible to decipher) genealogical tree of fathers, brothers, and sons all in politics; wives whose public veneer of respectability hides a domineering drive to power; a family whose wealth derives from questionable sources; an illegitimate ascent to the throne.

Some events and scenes that I imagine as part of the cycle:
  • Following what will surely come to be called the "crying speech," George HW Bush (referred to throughout as "41") dies of a broken heart like Gloucester in Lear;
  • Karl Rove soliloquizing about being a Machiavel, something along the lines of "I am determined to prove a villain";
  • Rove admonishing George W Bush (referred to as "43"), following his usurpation of the throne from Al Gore, to "busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels" and thereby consolidate his power;
  • Cheney (referred to as "Dick," or possibly as "Hob") could provide some Falstaffian comic relief as he accidentally shoots his good friend ("Slender") in the face, but then, in an abrupt and effective shift in tonality of character, we see Dick, like Falstaff, musing about using soldiers as cannon fodder in the Battle of Fallujah;
  • more please ...
Personally, I see the cycle opening something like this:

Actus Primi, Scena Prima

A flourish. Enter FLORIDA and KATE his secretary, with attendants.

Tush! ne'er tell me, Kate; we must abide the time.
When elder brothers call, we latter-born
Must bow and scrape and give them all they need,
For public show to please the gaping maw
Of cameras hungry for the latest tale,
While yet beneath our cloaks the dagger hold--
But now's not fit for us to cut him off.
He must be king, he will be king, and we
The ones must put the golden crown upon him.
Therefore, with countenance designed to show
Your even-minded justice to both parts--
Your face indeed hath pow'r in it to please--
Go count (and yet not count) the people's voices.

In all your Grace desires, I obey.
Go, one of you, and call our mother queen,
We need her counsel; tell her us to meet
In Texas, where Phoebus' beams do scorch th'earth
And addle wisest minds, far more the weak,
Among whose rank our brother wears the crown.

We need your help, dear readers; care to take a stab at writing a scene, in comments here or on your own blog?

  • At 12/09/2006 02:35:00 PM, Blogger jw wrote…

    I'm with you until Broadway. I think instead we should release it into the private domain for high schools everywhere to perform, and then produce an "independent" film (we'll need a small budget of $15million-ish) which will take prizes at Cannes and Sundance.


  • At 12/09/2006 04:24:00 PM, Blogger mommadona wrote…

    I love the idea!

    Now, Barebone script (?):


    Seems the WHO and the WHAT are pretty much laid out....

    Stumbled across your blog by serendipity, and usually follow the sprite to satisfactory conclusions...


    One atta time, they come home to roost.... http://stinkinchickensroost.blogspot.com


  • At 12/09/2006 04:28:00 PM, Blogger mommadona wrote…

    PS: I have "SIMS, the Deluxe Edition " to play with.

    It'd be interesting to keep it all in context.


  • At 12/10/2006 11:14:00 AM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    I do not understand what that last comment means.


  • At 12/11/2006 07:21:00 AM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    You're showing your age H *grin*


  • At 12/13/2006 11:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    The course! The course! My kingdom, stay the course!


  • At 12/13/2006 02:05:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    Well played, Anon.


  • At 12/15/2006 10:02:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    This is excellent. But we need to proceed in perfect early modern dramatic style and divide up the writing by acts, no? And somebody will need to find a way to get themselves thrown into debtors' prison, from which they can write a plaintive letter to their advisor.


  • At 12/22/2006 09:53:00 AM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    Another plot detail: "I have no future," says Jeb Bush.


  • At 12/22/2006 10:45:00 AM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    Even better, Simplicius: he said it in Spanish. "No tengo futuro." A perfect moment for some Henry V style linguistic jokes. After all "futuro" sounds pretty similar to some nasty French words for copulation.

    "De foot et de coun! O Seigneur Dieu! ce sont mots de son mauvais, corruptible, gros, et impudique, et non pour les dames d'honneur d'user: je ne voudrais prononcer ces mots devant les seigneurs de France pour tout le monde. Foh! le foot et le coun!"


 Scribble some marginalia

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