Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mr. Obama is Mr. Darcy?

Maureen Dowd says in today's New York Times that Obama, with his proud and reserved manner is America's Mr. Darcy, and we are all Elizabeth, intrigued but feeling rejected by his prideful demeanor.

I can sort of see what she's saying, but it sort of doesn't fit either.

Miss Bennet doesn't like Mr. Darcy because he seems to not like her. She actually likes him until she overhears him reject her as being too rough for his fine person. Of course what she doesn't know is how much he admires her, etc. etc., nor does she understand how very stiff he is in company because he hasn't mastered the art of conversation and idle chatter.

OK, we all know that. But, uh, how does Obama fit into THAT? I don't think her analogy is apt.

Obama has always loved country (Miss Bennet), but she hasn't really been paying too much attention to him until recently. You don't go into local organizing unless you *really* like politics, believe me. Maybe now Miss Bennet sees him as being aloof? Too prideful? But is that really what's going on? Or do we see him now as acting aloof because all the pundits are saying that he's not blue collar enough.

I don't think Austen is going to work for this election.

If you are going to propose Barack Obama as some sort of hero in a well known Victorian book, then I'd go for either Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. The brooding hero with Deep Thoughts on his mind which occupy him while all the girls want to do is twitter away somewhere at Thrushcross Grange, discussing table linens and inheritances.

But see, even that doesn't work. I have a hard time seeing Obama thumping across the moors getting his feet all wet in the peat. And pining for ghosts? No. I don't think so.

This is the problem with allegory -- it's hard to get it right. Better just to deal with the person as we have him.

I prefer Jon Stewart's take on the whole "Is he too arrogant and prideful?" meme: Of course he's arrogant. He's running for president of the United States! Presumptive leader of the Free World! Yes! He's arrogant! So's the other guy.


Beth said...

There's another reason the analogy doesn't work: Maureen Dowd is a hack.

Hi Suisan!

Suisan said...

Well, yes. There is that. ;-)

Hi Beth!