• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Sniff!
    Ga6thDem on Sniff!
    atl on Sniff!
    riverdaughter on Sniff!
    JMS on Sniff!
    Lady V on Sniff!
    kitchenmudge on The Mother of All Debates
    peep8 on Sniff!
    Em on Sniff!
    Peep9 on Sniff!
    Em on Sniff!
    Em on Sniff!
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Sniff!
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Mother of All Debates
    Ga6thDem on The Mother of All Debates
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    February 2015
    S M T W T F S
    « Jan   Mar »
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Trump/Clinton Debate Open Thread
      I used to get paid to watch these things. I don’t any more. So…I’m going to go read a nice novel in a coffee shop. Please feel free to talk about the debate in comments. I will, actually, be curious to hear what people have to say, just not willing to sit through so much […]
  • Top Posts

The calculations of politicians: Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall is coming to America in April. I can’t wait. I’m relistening to Hillary Mantel’s books, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies right now and am fascinated by the precarious tight-rope walking job that Thomas Cromwell has to do in nearly every interaction he has with the aristocrats in King Henry VIII’s court. The following scene from the BBC2 production illustrates what it’s like to be the white trash playing in the blue blood pool. Here, Cromwell, an accomplished soldier and statesman from humble background, takes archery practice with Henry and his furry pack:

.

Let’s discuss the subtleties. Cromwell is thrice the man any of Henry’s hangers on are but he has to undercut his proficiency. He misses the target but gets close enough to make the others take notice. He is self deprecating. The target is not that far away, he says. Henry proposes he come down and meet the general populace, maybe even attend a practice with the butchers and the grocers. “We’d win for sure”, Cromwell says. But does he mean the team from Austin Friars would be unbeatable with Henry or does he mean the grocers and the butchers would deliberately lose to assuage Henry’s pride? Henry thinks the former, Cromwell means the latter and he drives this point home by neatly hitting the middle of the ring. Cromwell doesn’t need any help from the King where archery is concerned. Henry is delighted.

The nobles look uncomfortable.

The last thing they want is a competent, intelligent upstart who comes to trash the town and it isn’t even his town.

Ahhh, well. We only have to wait a few years before the nobles get their revenge for being shown up time and again by Cromwell. It’s all well and good that he made them a lot of money but why should they be forced to share it? Cromwell is too focused on the state and government and bureaucracy while their primary concern is government getting in the way of their personal property rights. They were bred for battle. Cromwell thinks wars are a waste of money. Cromwell thinks putting people to work on infrastructure projects would keep insurrections at bay. The nobles think poverty is just the way things are and why mess with God’s will?

Same as it ever was.

And it’s probably the same for any skillful politician who has a different agenda from the pedigreed who like things just the way they are, thank you very much. They find themselves having to talk in double entendres, deprecating themselves while excelling and trying to keep the wolves at bay. It requires the slickness of a serpent who speaks with a forked tongue to inch the aristocracy towards modernity.

3 Responses

  1. The last thing they want is a competent, intelligent upstart who comes to trash the town and it isn’t even his town.
    I see what you did, there.
    And, to think, that was a quote from the original Our Lady Of the Knee Pads-Sally Quinn.

  2. OMG, I just realized that that’s Nicholassss as Henry!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: