Divergences, Revue libertaire internationale en ligne
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Paradise Lost Glossed

by John Milton and Hugo Chavez

George W. Bush above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a tower. George W. Bush’s form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appeared
Less than archangel ruined, and th’ excess
Of glory obscured : as when the sun new-risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon
In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone
Above them all George W. Bush ; but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
Sat on George W. Bush’s faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge. Cruel George W. Bush’s eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion to behold
The fellows of George W. Bush’s crime, the followers
(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned
Forever now to have their lot in pain-

Critical commentary on the text

by Max Cafard

Our poet Hugo Chavez must be commended for his noble aspirations. However, he has only proven that in some cases the Road to Hell is not successfully paved by Good Intentions. His decision to conscript the ridiculous George W. Bush to play the role of the sublime Satan lacks all sense of proportion and indeed constitutes a grave affront to the latter personage. So taken is our poet with his overblown metaphor that he imagines himself engulfed in infernal sulfurous fumes when he is subjected only the humble residue of the imperial cowboy boots. Whatever our poetic aspirations, we must face reality : George W. Bush is not the Prince of Darkness nor was meant to be. Rather he is living proof of the validity of Hannah Arendt’s concept of “the banality of evil.” Considering both his authentic diabolical qualities and also his quintessential mediocrity one must conclude that he qualifies only for the role of a fiend of a much lower order. We might more aptly call his character, “Mephisto, Jr.” Sadly, we still await the poetic genius who could create a dramatic vehicle worthy of such a character : an epic poem that depicts history as both tragedy and farce at the same time !