Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Sonnet to Mitt

In a Dish series on sexual sorting, the mystery by which most of us find someone to love and be loved by, one readers strays into Shakespeare's "Dark Lady" sonnets - - those confessing an unsavory passion in startling counterpoint to the idealized love showered on the young man to whom most of the sonnets are addressed.

Whipsawed by the Dish's zigzags from politics to culture to nature, I read Sonnet 138 as an address from Republican primary voters to Mitt Romney:
When my love swears that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppress'd.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:
   Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
   And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be.
Romney's is the post-truth campaign  (as the sonnets are in large part a post-truth profession of love). If we elect Romney, I'll take it as solid evidence that our "days are past the best" while he promises us another American century.

UPDATE, 2/24: In today's column, Paul Krugman hath writ this sonnet in prose:

Once you’ve decided to hide your beliefs and say whatever you think will get you the nomination, to pretend to agree with people you privately believe are fools, why worry at all about truth?

What this diagnosis implies, of course, is that the many people on the right who don’t trust Mr. Romney, who don’t believe that he’s truly committed to their political faith, are correct in their suspicions. He’s playing a role, and it’s anyone’s guess what lies beneath the mask. 

So should those who don’t share the right’s faith be comforted by the evidence that Mr. Romney doesn’t believe anything he’s saying?
Related posts: today's GOP in literature and folklore
Romney's lullaby
"Allow me to sell you a couple!"
Falstaff for President
Herman Cain on Libya: The Spotted or Herbacious Backson?


  1. Romney Laments. . .

    In a state that is shaped like a mitt,
    You would think I would be a big hit.
    I've even competed
    In jeans (ironed and pleated)
    And positions altered to fit!