Sunday 9 March 2008

wilde times

The Democrat primaries are becoming as mannered as a Victorian comedy. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama maintain an atmosphere of studied politeness. But beneath the surface, hostilities rage between the two sides (glimpsed in Samantha Power's unguarded 'monster' remark).

It's a little like Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, when Gwendolen and Cecily decorously put the knife into each other over the cucumber sandwiches.

The more self-regarding sections of the press sound like the play's manservant, Lane. In the first exchange of the play, Algernon asks if Lane had heard him practising the piano. Lane replies: 'I didn't think it polite to listen, sir.'

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