Fox News Ruining Shakespeare Now, By A Doctor Of Rhetoric
John Lithgow as Lear, Clarke Peters as Gloucester

In response to a campaign by newspapers to print editorials condemning Donald Trump's attacks on the press, "Fox & Friends" offered radio talker Howie Carr, whom Trump supporters can enjoy without even knowing how to read, the chance Monday to stand up to all the bullies in the media, on behalf of poor misunderstood Donald Trump. Unfortunately, Carr decided to show off his own half-vast learning, throwing in a little Shakespeare for good measure (but not for measure). It didn't go so good, because Carr isn't exactly the sharpest tooth in the serpent's mouth, know what we mean?

Steve Doocy asked Carr what he thought of the patently absurd claim that the media might not be the enemy of the people, when obviously they are, and he was ready. Because you know who the real enemy of the free press was? Barack Obama, of course.

Well, they're not the enemy of the people, but they are the enemy of the president. What I find interesting, Steve, is that the previous president, Barack Obama, he surveilled some of your colleagues here in the Washington bureau of Fox. He ordered wiretaps on reporters for the Associated Press. Not to mention what they did to the Tea Party groups with the Internal Revenue Service. If you're talking about a threat to civil liberties, Barack Obama was much more of a problem than Donald Trump. I would say Donald Trump, in this case, is just responding to the insane attacks against him. He's like King Lear, a man more sinned against than sinning.

Ooh, that's some pretty fancy literary referencin' from a guy who's supposed to be down to earth and regular. You think you're better than everybody else, mister fancy educated guy? Fuck you with your Shakespeare.

No worries, actually! Carr is in fact way off in comparing Trump to King Lear, for so, so many reasons. For one thing, there's no way Trump would ever give his idiot children any of his valuable properties while he's still alive. And while he certainly wants to be flattered, he already knows just how worthless his adult offspring are, so there can never be an equivalent to the tragic moment where Lear realizes two of his daughters, Reagan and Gonnorhea, are awful, but sweet Cordage was wise and truly loved him. Trump has no Cordelia to tell him the plain truths and love him as is only proper -- Barron may be a sweet kid, but he seems more cut out for the role of the tragic survivor who sees everyone else fall, just before he exeunts to the Omni.

Plus, the fuck is this about wandering bareheaded on the heath in a storm? Donald Trump can't be bothered to walk around his golf courses in sunny weather, let alone go out in the rain with Rudy Giuliani yapping at him. Too many germs on the heath.Trump restricts his ranting to any time he's near a phone and a TV, and would you get him another goddamn Diet Coke?

Oh, yeah, and there's this: Lear's tragedy is in coming to realize, too late, how blind and foolish he's been, both as a ruler and as a father. No way in hell Trump would ever be capable of such self-knowledge, because he has people who take care of storms for him. He may pay them, but probably not.

As for the specific line Carr mentioned, "a man more sinned against than sinning," Carr even managed to screw that up: We certainly aren't supposed to take the line at face value, because when Lear says it, he's in the middle of a pity party for himself. It's right there in Act III, Scene 2, that storm on the heath where the Fool and Lear's last loyal follower, the Earl of Kent, are trying to get old mad Lear out of the rain, and Lear is blaming everyone else in the world for his problems, because everyone in the world has turned on him, cheated him, falsely accused him of colluding with the Russians, and stolen his strawberries:

Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes
Unwhipp'd of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous. Caitiff, in pieces shake
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practis'd on man's life. Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.

Yeah, yeah, everybody's bad and Lear did nothing wrong, definitely nothing anyone else wouldn't do, and it's not even a crime.

We suppose we could say, hey, maybe he knows the line is deeply ironic, and isn't it cool how he's going right on Trump Central and going all "Brutus is an honourable man" in everyone's face, but fuck it, it's Howie Goddamn Carr, the end.

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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