Friday, January 9, 2009

Blagojevich and "Ulysses"

Rod Blagojevich today:

"And so I'll leave you with this poem by Tennyson, which goes like this:
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
Somehow I don't think that these lines, from Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses," are meant to suggest that Blagojevich is ceding power to Telemachus and departing Ithaca. Drat. What must appeal to the gov in these lines is not the idea of setting out, once more, with diminished powers, but that final not to yield (i.e., resign) — thus turning the political life of our beautiful state into what promises to be a long-running farce.

Odysseus/Ulysses is in some ways a good model for Blagojevich: reckless, thieving, vain. Think too of Ulysses Everett McGill in O Brother, Where Art Thou?: "My hair!"

[I've quoted a transcript of Blagojevich's remarks that botches Tennyson's lines. I haven't heard the governor's statement and don't know if the botches are his. I've presented the lines accurately above.]

[Update: Blagojevich's botches: "the strength," "by fate." Watch here.]

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