October 12, 2016
Politics can surely be as entertaining as it is enraging, and 2016 has proven to be an exceptional year for both. But putting basic politics aside; I believe I have stumbled on a great example of ‘Life Imitating Art’ for the modern era. When Richard Wagner wrote his epic ‘Ring Cycle’, he effectively began it all with a prologue entitled Das Rheingold which sets in motion the eventual ‘Twilight of the Gods’ (Götterdämmerung).
While Das Rheingold is very much an ensemble opera in that everyone gets their specific ‘moment(s) to shine’, the opera’s most interesting character is probably Loge; the Demigod of Fire. In an interesting way, he is the ONLY ‘character’ to actually appear in every operatic episode. Alas, his personage, personality, and voice is only revealed to us in depth in Das Rheingold. Oddly enough, I believe that I have found some parallels between a very embattled Donald J. Trump and Richard Wagner’s ‘Loge’, as well as a bunch of other characters from this magnificent opera. For fun…”Let’s unpack this”…as Hillary Clinton would say.
Loge is a Demigod whose firey style, self-confidence, and rhetoric correctly predicts the downfall of the Gods. (More on him and Donald Trump later.) For better or worse, we have lots of Wotan ‘wannabes’ in this world (Master’s of the Universe)…George Soros, Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, and the list goes on.
We have Fricka…well, let’s call her Hillary. A rightfully angered and scorned woman who would love to wield the seemingly unlimited power as that of her husband…(but can, and does, wield a fair amount in her own right). There are plenty of angry, money grubbing, outsiders like Alberich who punch down and oppress the little Mime’s/Nibelungen’s of the world…but can never be permitted into the exclusive ‘club’ that the Gods enjoy.
There always exists a Freia, who because she is gifted with beauty, is relentlessly hit-upon by so-called Giants who exercise power or control over her somehow. Then there is a cast of lesser gods/lackeys who talk a loud game but basically do nothing such as Froh and Donner (hmmm…Jason Chaffetz and Charles Schumer come to mind…but they DO always have a knack for finding a camera). Wise Earth Mothers (Erdas) abound here in the 21st Century…whether in the form of poets, Supreme Court Justices, environmental and social activists, etc etc. Then there are the Rhinemaidens: Who among us hasn’t known a group a pretty young ladies who sometimes stretch and arrogantly squander their riches?
It’s a perfect cast of human (and often political) characters. But let’s get back to Loge…who basically denounces all of them while being one of them in one form or another.
Enter Donald J. Trump…a brash, firey, narcissist. Surely not above conniving, possibly stealing, or stretching the truth if necessary. One who is sort of ‘in the club’ when he is needed…but kept ‘out of the club’ when he is not. He mingles with the (political) Gods, while claiming to stand away from them when it serves him best. He could be likeable enough to some, certainly disliked by many others. But most importantly of all, like Loge, he predicts a complete end to the system by which the world/country has operated for a very long time. Loge’s prophecy is indeed fulfilled by the time Valhalla comes crashing down…but yet Loge survives thereafter…as will Mr. Trump.
While this is certainly no endorsement of “The Donald”; I do just wonder if he has signaled the end of a blatantly stacked system–on both sides–whose overall house is destined to fall. When the entire ‘wink wink’, ‘nod nod’ system seems to be against you…something must be up beyond moral and/or social outrage—whether feigned or sincere.
Allow me to be clear: I make no public endorsement of any candidate (as if my opinion would matter to anyone); but I do find the above parallel interesting when it comes down to fun operatic comparisons.
Ultimately I say about each successive President of the United States: “I hope they will be our best President ever.”
Hope springs eternal,