August 1, 2017

Scaramucci accused Reince Priebus of being the Iago to Trump's Othello.

I think. He wrote "Read Shakespeare. Particularly Othello. You are right there. My family is fine by the way and will thrive. I know what you did. No more replies from me."

Scaramucci believed he was writing to Priebus. He wasn't. He was fooled by a prankster who posed as Priebus. That was stupid. The inability of government officials to handle email competently is appalling, but I want to talk about the meaning of the "Othello" reference.

In the NY Post, where I'm reading the story, it says: "Scaramucci shot back with a veiled threat to destroy Priebus Shakespearean-style." That is, the NY Post, attempting to grope though the veil, imagines that Scaramucci saw himself as the villain Iago and Priebus as the hero Othello. How does that make sense?!

I think the intended implication is that Trump is the Othello character — Trump, like Othello, is the leader — and Priebus is Iago — the close associate who hates the man he pretends to serve and tricks him into destroying himself.

Scaramucci expressed the view that Priebus is "right there" in the play "Othello." He doesn't say which character, but I think it's obvious. (Here's a plot summary of "The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice.") Scaramucci wouldn't align with Iago. Iago is the quintessential back-stabber...



... and Scaramucci proudly called himself — not a back-stabber — but a "front-stabber." And why would Scaramucci plot to destroy Priebus? Priebus was already out. The message of the email was "I know what you did." That pegs Priebus as the disloyal schemer. Scaramucci wasn't threatening to ruin Priebus. He was saying he knows what Priebus was doing to Trump.

Will the blabbermouth Scaramucci resist inquiries to explain his Shakespearean interpretation of The Tragedy of Trump, the Billionaire of Manhattan?

42 comments:

mezzrow said...

The plot thickens.

MisterBuddwing said...

So who's Desdemona?

AReasonableMan said...

Althouse said...
The inability of government officials to handle email competently is appalling


Something of a stretch to describe Scaramucci as a 'government official'. He is a proud product of vulture capitalism.

traditionalguy said...

We are Desdemona. We fell for the courageous warrior but cultural outsider. The insider Iago wants to break us up so he can sell us to another for cash.

The Mooch deserves credit for foiling Priebus. He gets it.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Perhaps, Othello being a Moor, Scaramucci feels that Trump is being outsidered or "niggered" and that his isolation is being exploited by Priebuses saying "hey, I'm on your side, hey, I'm normal, hey, I'll help you fit in, hey, you can trust me!"

I think Gen. Kelly will do just fine but everything can't nor should go through him. That's a chokepoint. That's a flapper straight out of Jonathan Swift. A President needs disbands, backchannels, second opinions.

I do hope Kelly is the goods. It's an important role. The sage political wisdom of our age is well found in Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing:

[with the cabinet member who stays behind during a State of the Union address]

President Josiah Bartlet: Oh, Roger. If anything happened, you know what to do, right?

Secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribbey: I honestly hadn't thought about it, sir.

President Josiah Bartlet: First thing always is national security. Get your commanders together. Appoint Joint Chiefs, appoint a chairman. Take us to defcon 4. Have the governors send emergency delegates to Washington. The assistant Attorney General is going to be the Acting A.G. If he tells you he wants to bring out the National Guard, do what he tells you. You got a best friend?

Secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribbey: Yes, sir.

President Josiah Bartlet: Is he smarter than you?

Secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribbey: Yes, sir.

President Josiah Bartlet: Would you trust him with your life?

Secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribbey: Yes, sir.

President Josiah Bartlet: That's your chief of staff.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Disbands-->sidebands

Ann Althouse said...

"So who's Desdemona?"

America.

Ann Althouse said...

@traditionalguy

I gave my answer before reading yours.

It must be the right answer.

Ralph L said...

Read Next: Man's quest for bigger penis turns deadly

UNC-TV showed Verdi's Otello Sunday night.

traditionalguy said...

Love you, Professor.

Henry said...

So Mooch considers himself Desdemona?

For all this talk of Julius Caesar and now Othello, the obvious Shakespeare play for Trump is King Lear.

Birkel said...

In which Henry ignores the comments and posts drivel.

Henry said...

I gave my answer without reading anyone's.

America is Lodovico. He's just a bystander, but he survives.

traditionalguy said...

Did anybody notice that Trump has been up for 5 hours now and there are Zero Tweets. General Kelly must have imprisoned him.

Henry said...

traditionalguy - LOL

Quaestor said...

The Iago in the photo is Edwin Booth, brother of a famous presidential back-stabber.

Hagar said...

These bungling, uneducated Republicans know Shakespeare?
Who knew?!

Kate said...

Mooch is a human train wreck. He's kind of endearing.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Hagar said...
These bungling, uneducated Republicans know Shakespeare?"


Dead white male.

The Democrats are more familiar with Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.

mockturtle said...

We are Desdemona. We fell for the courageous warrior but cultural outsider. The insider Iago wants to break us up so he can sell us to another for cash.

Well done, tradguy.

These sorts of court dramas have always been a part of our government. Indeed, probably every government known to man. But the media will call 'chaos' when it's Trump.

Bob said...

Good grief. Are there any grown-ups left in Washington?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Quaestor said...
The Iago in the photo is Edwin Booth, brother of a famous presidential back-stabber.

8/1/17, 7:55 AM

And Booth's Iago was considered one of the great performances of his time.

exiledonmainstreet said...

It seems like 90% of Congress and the upper reaches of the Federal government consists of Iago wannabes.

rehajm said...

Nonsense. It's obvious Priebus is Iago to Trump's Jafar

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What!? Now we all have to read Shakespeare as a homework assignment in order to understand the Trump Administration. Next....there will be MATH!! No one said there was going to be math!

Bob Boyd said...

The Mooch Era had 3 distinct phases.

Pre-bus: "Cock! Suck! Kill! Fuck!"

Under-bus: (unintelligible grunting and squealing)

Post-bus: "I'm good!...it was epic!...ow...just...OW!...stop...just...leave me alone for a minute, Okay?"

Michael K said...

Mooch didn't realize he was dropped into that snakepit without the necessary puttees to protect his ankles.

mccullough said...

The Mooch and Priebus are Rosencratz and Guildenstern.

mccullough said...

Rosencrantz

Jason said...

YOU FARGING ICEHOLE! I'LL HAVE YOUR BELLS IN A SLING!!!

exiledonmainstreet said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
What!? Now we all have to read Shakespeare as a homework assignment in order to understand the Trump Administration."

We would have had to read Shakespeare if Lady Macbeth had won too. But at least Macbeth is a shorter play.

Brando said...

He says "I know what you did" to who he thinks is Preibus--what is he referring to? Does he think Preibus leaked something about Mooch? Was it something else?

I'll miss Mooch. For only 10 days he certainly got a lot of mileage. Someone should give him a show.

eric said...

Prankster? Prankster?!

This was clearly the Russians. We need an independent counsel to investigate this immediately.

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Lea said...


Ann is so on a roll. She must be driving her husband crazy with so much inattention. But I'm having so much fun reading her. File this under SoSoSo or: "Trump stumbles, but I hope he don't fall."

JackOfClubs said...

"So who's Desdemona?" America.

No, Scaramucci himself, of course. To identify America as Desdemona would be to claim that Trump has killed America. This might be true, but Scaramucci would never say that. The narrative here is that Priebus has tricked the noble but naive Trump into murdering the faithful Scaramucci.

The point of the last bit, "My family is fine by the way and will thrive," is to show that the victimization didn't work. Scaramucci's ego is far too querulous to allow him to accept a passive role.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Luke.

SukieTawdry said...

I dunno. I kind of see Trump as King Lear testing those around him to determine who loves him best. Will he be seduced by flattery? Will he banish those he should have held close and embrace those who ultimately will undermine his authority? Will he end up wandering the heath with his Fool??

buwaya said...

There probably isn't a writer today with the ability to beat this drama/comic/tragedy (?TBD) that is playing out before us. And its got a brilliant cast besides.

SukieTawdry said...

buwaya said...There probably isn't a writer today with the ability to beat this drama/comic/tragedy (?TBD) that is playing out before us. And its got a brilliant cast besides.

The entirety of the human condition is found in the works of Shakespeare. And also the Greeks who did it first and possibly best. I'd love to see how Shakespeare himself would "re-interpret" his works for modern times. What would he think of this summer's Julius Caesar in the park?

cronus titan said...

While the Shakespeare angle is interesting and fun, Mooch may lay claim to the most unmanly line in Twitter history:

"I know what you did."

Mother of God, a grown man used that line. It is a lame caricature of some schlub getting the what for from a woman and finding it incomprehensible. Every man has heard that line at some point in his life, and if were waterboarded he could not tell you what he did.

So Mooch can now add "chixplaining" to his resume.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Well if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand
I've seen your face before my friend, but I don't know if you know who I am
Well I was there and I saw what you did, I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you've been
It's all been a pack of lies
And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
Well I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
Well I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord, oh Lord