Shakespeare’s fools were sometimes little more than loosely disguised signposts; most wise as well as witty. Take the aptly named Touchstone in As You Like It… “The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.”
Many of our modern fools are admired, respected and talented. But a quart short on wisdom.
Take Maya Angelou, who has added her voice to those who call obama’s critics racist:
This year, if it progresses as Angelou expects, will exacerbate the pattern, bringing a momentous high, but not before some sickening lows. Don’t worry about Barack Obama, says the chronicler of black history. He’ll be re-elected. He deserves to be re-elected. But between now and November, it’s going to get nasty.
“I think we are going to see a number of people who say: ‘I have no racial prejudice in my heart, not in my conversation,’” Angelou says. “But in the next few months, as we wind up to the double campaign, I tell you we are going to see some nastiness, some vulgarity, I think. They’ll pull the sheets off.”
Obama has critics and doubters. Angelou, the sage of black America, now 83, has no time for them. “I think he has done a remarkable job, knowing how much he has been opposed,” she says. “Every suggestion he makes, the Republicans en masse fight against him or don’t vote at all.” It’s about him being a Democrat and being the first black president, she says.
Reflecting on that presidency, what did she expect? “I was hoping for the best. And I think I have gotten the best from him.” What of his detractors? “Those are people who didn’t see the morass into which he stepped.”
He is America’s president. But he also describes himself as America’s first black president. That, says Angelou, speaking from her home in North Carolina, has had an extraordinary impact on black America. “His physical self, just being there, his photograph in the newspapers as president of the United States; that has done so much good for the spirit of the African American. We see more and more children wanting to be like President Obama, wanting to go to school.”
After reading her books and poetry there is no surprise, since racism is a recurring theme, but this I would say to her: Fine, conservatives would love to elect another black man to the highest office in the land, if that’s what you need. And both his parents are black: Allen West. Oh, wait… he’s racist too!
Today’s other Fool is the equally talented Sean Penn, who regularly visits foreign despots with pearls of wisdom for the American right. This time it’s Chavez [again].
Actor Sean Penn criticized Republican presidential candidates during a visit to Venezuela on Thursday, saying that right-wing policies in the United States aim to benefit the wealthy.
Penn made the remarks after meeting with socialist President Hugo Chavez at Venezuela’s presidential palace, when he was asked by a reporter about criticisms of Chavez by some Republican candidates.
Penn said he doesn’t think “the use of those exploitive sort of demonizations will be very beneficial to this crew of candidates.”
“That would be the least amongst their weaknesses,” Penn said. “It’s never predictable what can happen in an American election, but we certainly believe at this point that it’s becoming increasingly clear to the American people that the policies of the far right are the policies of the rich, and that they are to the exclusion of the middle class and the poor, and that no society has a future on that basis.”
He focused on the right this time but usually it’s just Americans in general he trashes abroad.
Hollywood has changed dramatically since the 40′s and there is a long list of U.S. ‘celebrities’ who delight in spewing garbage about their country both in and out of her. It’s sad that so many have chosen to be useful fools for socialism, racial schism and hate, especially since children grow up idolizing them.