Do the Republicans Trashing Your Health Care Also Root for Literature’s Villains?

Most fiction readers root for the characters who are nice and admirable, not the villains. But after America’s far-right Republicans voted May 4 for a Trumpcare bill that would heartlessly yank medical insurance from millions of non-rich citizens, I’m thinking the majority of those soulless GOP scoundrels might identify with literature’s “bad guys.” So…

— When Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, etc., read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, they love them some Mr. Brocklehurst — the wealthy “religious” hypocrite who cruelly allows Jane and the other girls at the Lowood institution to freeze, be badly fed, and more. Some of the girls die as a result, as would many Americans “thanks” to Trumpcare.

— Many far-right Republicans perusing John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath would undoubtedly cheer when a thug murders compassionate fighter against injustice Jim Casy — whose sharing of initials with the humane (not the GOP version of) Jesus Christ is no coincidence.

— A good number of GOP ghouls are most likely thrilled when brutal slave-owner Simon Legree viciously abuses the brave/kindly Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

— In George Eliot’s Silas Marner, William Dane frames the sympathetic title character and steals his fiancee — making Dane a hero to many a far-right Republican.

— Nathan Price of Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible is a sexist and racist missionary, earning him the undying love of countless reactionary GOPers — including various Christian-evangelical leaders.

— The despicable, patriarchal men ruling the roost in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Thousands of Republican ultraconservatives want to party with them.

— In Emile Zola’s The Ladies’ Delight, department store owner Octave Mouret is a ruthless capitalist who drives mom-and-pop shops out of business — a Walmart approach that sends numerous right-wing Republicans into ecstasy. But Mouret does have a bit of humanity, so that’s troublesome to the Paul Ryan crowd.

— The far-right GOP also has mixed feelings about Samad Iqbal. That character in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth is obnoxious, overbearing, sexist, and not as smart as he thinks — all catnip for Trump and his ilk. But Samad is Muslim, which mostly disqualifies him from Republican admiration.

— The husband of the title character in Stephen King’s Rose Madder is a policeman who’s a racist and a wife abuser — two qualities very endearing to Trump and other lowlife GOP leaders.

— Erich Maria Remarque’s Spark of Life? Many far-right Republicans may feel a kinship to that novel’s Nazi concentration-camp guards. (And Trumpcare’s motto should be the second half of the title of Remarque’s A Time to Love and a Time to Die.)

— Finally, pathological right-wingers pull for Lord Voldemort in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Role model!

Of course, who knows how much literature America’s reactionary GOP bigwigs actually read? Maybe the occasional Ayn Rand novel…

Any novels you’d like to mention featuring villains far-right Republicans would adore?

Here’s a review of, and a video interview about, my new literary-trivia book Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for, which covers Montclair, N.J., and nearby towns. The latest weekly column is here.

69 thoughts on “Do the Republicans Trashing Your Health Care Also Root for Literature’s Villains?

  1. In the old days of black and white, you could get a guy like Bill S. to weave a tale of thoroughly intended evil as embodied by a twisted fellow like the third Richard, late of Bosworth Field, wherefrom his fancy hat was plucked, rose-like, from a brambled fate. He meant to kill whoever stood between himself and the big chair, said so (in asides if not elsewhere) and did so, coming to regret his doings only the night before fateful and fatal battle, due to a crowded tent of gibbering wraiths. How refreshing! How uncomplicated!

    Later on, Jack London would paint a picture of unrelenting savage will in Wolf Larsen in The Sea Wolf, but like Bill S., the author’s sympathies lie with others in the story, and Larsen, like the third Richard, dies a bad death. Each, though, dies meaning to do evil things to his heart’s content, as he had lived.

    Jo Nesbo’s novel Headhunters, takes place in our own time, and tells the story of a particularly able psychopath, whose cleverness and planning and canny assessment of his fellow psychopaths allows him to triumph over them all by novel’s end. Here too, a bad man does bad things, but this time, nearly everybody he does bad things to are also bad, and he, unlike my older examples, has spent no small time in self-justification, though of an amoral sort. The society depicted is sort of what I imagine a world might be like if populated entirely by EST enthusiasts. Hard to feel sorry or happy for anybody….

    One of the most enduring truths in our present circumstance: the evil do not recognize themselves or their acts as such. Had they been asked, Hitler was doing the right thing, as was Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.

    Just now the health care of tens of millions have been put at mortal risk for politics. But those who have done so can only see freedom, choice and tax breaks. It is hard to appeal to the consciences of folks without consciences.

    Like the old westerns, this circumstance could be greatly improved with the right hats– white cowboy hats for good guys, black cowboy hats for baddies. Then everybody, even the baddies themselves, could know what they were about just by looking at the hats, including their own.

    But nobody wears hats nowadays; the headgear of choice is the humble ball cap. There’s a variety of red ones on view throughout the land just now, which is a start of a sort– but that would make red the new black. And here we are, up Moral Equivalency Creek, without a Stendhal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Brilliant comment, jhNY!

      Yes, many of today’s conscience-less Republicans probably believe they’re doing the right thing, even as they don’t always walk the walk they talk. For instance, if Trumpcare is so great, why don’t they all pledge to use that personally rather than their Cadillac congressional health policies? Of course, then we get into how the elite feels they deserve better than the garbage they foist on the non-elite.

      “The Sea-Wolf” is about as riveting as a novel can get. One of my Jack London favorites.

      And you make an excellent argument for bringing back hats — not the “Make America Great Again” red caps, but those of black or white hue. The Republicans would look rather stylish in their black fedoras…


  2. Dave, readers,

    thought I’d join the stampede to The Handmaid’s Tale (THT). Having read it will save me from the tv series. my thought on the party crowd, and their enablers was not so much Trump, but the industries: wall st, money, media, celebrity of any sort, whose decades (centuries) history of dehumanizing women was atwood’s target. i like atwood. my previous read was Year of the Flood. she leaves a lot to the imagination, thus rendering any movie a disappointment. “that’s _not_ the way it looks”. i also caught a tv interview where she said of THT, “there’s little there that hasn’t happened somewhere to someone or someones.” or some such. realizing it’s now 30 yrs old, it does point to the present, in that abuse is being outed. i’d say “at last”, but i suspect we’re only getting started. i hope we are approaching a tipping point. i recall being aghast while grocery shopping in the mid 80s, next to a smoker in the vegetable section. not much the manager could do about it. wrt smoking, the remaining job is curing it’s captives. social commentators note that it wasn’t apparent at the outset, but the problem was going away in people’s lifetimes. on abuse, i’d guess, we’re a decade away from the crest of a hill where we can see reporting abuse is not always an invitation to shame oneself. the other point about THT, since i was looking for a parallel to what we know about Nazi Germany. is the complicity of great numbers of people who were apparently willing to self-organize into the many niches required to support such a grotesque order. and why local optimization is always sub-optimal.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. In real life ” To Kill a Mockingbird” , who killed the bird ? I will comeback to that another day Dave..
    Donald trump single handedly out to destroy the ecosystem together with his family.

    The newly elected President Donald Trump is corrupt together with his whole family. Jared Kushner the Secretary of every department with absolutely no experience is actually a master of none. We wanted him to do one thing which is to get rid of Steve Bannon he failed.
    Now come his sister, father even the wife Ivanka who mastered how to speak softly and look stunning with absolutely no facial expression. She was supposed to channel Donald to support woman`s issues she is not doing a single thing to achieve that.

    The whole family is poised to be looters and takers.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, bebe! I agree with everything you said — Trump is a disaster for the environment, he and his family are using their positions to get even richer, and, whatever alleged socially liberal leanings Ivanka and Jared have, that couple has been absolutely worthless in changing Donald’s behavior. They probably care very little about changing Donald’s behavior.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Okay…I am so sick of DT and the latest firing of Comey, this is what we want in real life Jack Reacher with no greed, no possession un-corrupt . So I succumbed to watch the movie not done yet but with a good cast. I am willing to accept 5`6″ of Cruise with that nasal accent. They spend money and there was Lee Child like Hitchcock for a minute as airport security guard.
        It is violent but not creepy gets your adrenaline going also We know Reacher will be alive and will move on with nothing.
        Good news the female lead is not a come hither blue eyed blonde but a fighter with no fear with no chemistry with Cruise .

        Liked by 3 people

        • Thanks, bebe! The incorruptible Jack Reacher would despise Trump, and put a “knuckle sandwich” on the Evildoer-in-Chief’s menu. 🙂

          Glad the second Reacher movie isn’t bad, and that Lee Child has a Hitchcock-like cameo!

          Liked by 3 people

          • Took me five days to finish the movie, I watch when I do my elliptical.
            The movie is a thriller action filled of course.
            Cobie Smulders was major Susan Turner, I thought was very good ,
            There was a teenager Danika Yarosh with Scandinavian look had long hair was supposed to be Jack`s daughter but NOT.
            Review was not good but these two ladies made it better.
            So was Aldis Hodge a very handsome Captain.
            So there…

            Liked by 2 people

            • Thank you for the interesting summary/review, bebe! The movie does sound worth watching!

              Speaking of Jack Reacher, I still have to read the latest Reacher novel “Night School.” Looking forward to that!

              Liked by 1 person

              • I have not either, have not read much, find it hard to concentrate on books Dave. Always try to check what that Trump is up to what nonsense and lies .
                I know you are not a movie watcher, and in spite of poor review this one also made tons of money. So we could be sure another one was coming.
                I also liked it was not a love affair between the two and those two women made it worth watching.
                It ended with the drifter walking away in a barren street trying to hitchhike.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I’ve also been temporarily reading less (which is actually the subject of this Sunday’s blog post). Spending lots of time promoting my literary-trivia book, but it’s also time-consuming (and depressing) to keep up with Trump’s latest outrages — as you note.

                  bebe, I agree — movies are often better when they don’t try to shoehorn in a love story, or too much of a love story. Especially between an older man and a significantly younger woman — sadly, often the case in Hollywood films.

                  Yes, the loner Reacher is almost always on to another adventure in another place. And, as you say, I’m sure they’ll be more Reacher movies as long as they keep making money!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I need to borrow the book again, I never finished it. Here The woman does not look a lot younger, she is a fighter and did it so well.The actor is Canadian once is a sitcom. In here some make up but no sexy attire and all business. Certain things the director kept real.

                    Liked by 2 people

              • That last scene was beautiful, he was walking away in his shirt, the car passed him by. In a interesting way I like the movie for the two ladies , Cruse was there just to beat people up. Showed tenderness toward the young girl which is never seen in disgusting filthy Trump.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Good morning, bebe!

                  Sounds like an excellent last scene!

                  “…was there just to beat people up” — funnily said! That’s definitely a big part of the Reacher persona. Though, as you know, he’s a complex character in certain ways.

                  You’re right about Trump. Never have there been two words (“Trump” and “tenderness”) so unrelated to each other.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Good Morning Dave, I might borrow the book again, I remember reading some and returned without finishing. Even Tom Cruse beats DT in that and I am not a fan of Cruise but I am sure he loves his children a lot.

                    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dave, I think we just talked about the Lionel Shriver book “So Much For That,” but it deserves a mention in this column as well for its take on disease, dying and the awful state of medical care in this country, which just got even worse with the latest vote on the AHCA by the Republican House. It made me feel sick, looking at the photo op the Republicans (mostly white males) had after being taken by bus over to the Rose Garden to celebrate their great victory with Trump — with beer even! My only hope is that the Senate will have more sense, which seems like a forlorn hope, and pass something much better or not repeal Obamacare at all.

    As I think I’ve said before, I’d worked for a major healthcare insurer for 20 years, but after I became disabled, when going to so many new doctors, they would usually ask me what I did for a living, and my stock reply became that I was a “professional patient.” 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Very glad you mentioned “So Much for That,” Kat Lib! A fantastic novel, and, as you say, it vividly depicts the frustrations and heartbreak of America’s very flawed (except for the rich) health-care system that would only get worse under Trumpcare. (As you know, “So Much for That” is also very entertaining despite the agonies some characters go through.)

      I agree — it was sickening to see those mostly white-male pols actually celebrating a bill that would kick millions of people off medical insurance. I think even Hell would be too good for those vermin. As you allude to, the not-quite-as-reactionary Senate is not looking all that promising, with McConnell forming a 13-person Trumpcare committee that’s all-male — not one woman! — and mostly far right.

      Being “a professional patient,” as difficult and emotionally wrenching as that is, will soon get much worse for all but the wealthy. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, every day becomes “Curiouser and curiouser,” as Alice in Wonderland said, and I feel that we’ve all gone down the rabbit-hole. It seems that as each days passes, we’re going to get more involved in foreign wars (witness the build-up of troops in Afghanistan or even a new one with North Korea), or a domestic constitutional crisis (witness the whole Russia investigation and the firing yesterday of FBI Director Comey — someone I wasn’t fond of for what he did with the Clinton investigation and her campaign — but this is now a “bridge too far”).

        Liked by 3 people

        • I hear you, Kat Lib — VERY well said.

          Just when one thinks Trump can’t get worse, he gets worse. There’s clearly no bottom to his atrocious behavior and policies. Yet most of his fellow Republicans still do nothing about it…

          Liked by 2 people

          • I just read something that I found distressing to say the least. I was reading the notes from the last Indivisible meeting, which I wasn’t able to attend because of a car accident last week (I’ll tell you more later), but apparently ICE agents raided one of the many mushroom farms in town that use local migrant workers. They were looking for 4 individuals, but didn’t find them, so they instead rounded up 12 other workers, 4 who were deported and the others put in a detention facility miles away but still in PA.

            So, last week when my girlfriend was returning back to Durham, Bill and I took her to the airport, but used my car since it’s roomier than his. We stopped at a local restaurant afterwards, and when pulling into a parking space, he (who’s not used to my car) hit the gas instead of the brake and we crashed into the curb and railing. Fortunately, we didn’t hit another car or another person and we were both fine, other than being shaken. Many of the restaurant staff know us from our frequent times there, and they couldn’t have treated us better. One of the wait staff called 911 for us, the police officer called a towing service, and the manager treated us both to lunch (although we couldn’t eat much). So anyway, my car is now sitting in an auto body shop, and I’m awaiting a verdict on whether it can be repaired or totaled once they look at the undercarriage.

            I wasn’t going to even mention it, other than I’ve been a bit out of sorts for the past week, and most importantly, after reading about Latinos in my community being rounded up and deported, I realize that this is what many call “first-world problems” — as I’ve got great insurance, even my $100 deductible was waived, and as long as nobody got hurt, it will all be handled in one way or another. I feel selfish at times when I think about what others less fortunate than I are going through, especially in the time of Trump and the Republicans in charge of Congress and now the Supreme Court.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Very sorry about the accident, Kat Lib. Glad nobody was hurt. While something like that might be a “first-world problem,” it’s still extremely upsetting. Plus you’ve had a run of not-great luck the past few years. Hope your car can be repaired.

              That roundup of 12 local workers, and what happened to them afterward, is heartbreaking. One can’t begin to count the number of human lives Trump has wreaked havoc on or completely ruined.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I am going to do what I did last week, Dave, and that is just read the wonderfully clever comments, to which I can contribute very little. Last week, I actually tried to figure out why responding to that post was so hard for me – why it was so hard to come up with more to offer. I think I pretty much know why, and it’s because whenever I start thinking about Donald Trump, my mind just blows a rage-circuit. You all are so fortunate that you can vent your frustrations so creatively and with humor. A sense of humor and a sense of the absurd has gotten me through a lot of things in my life, but it’s not working in this case, I just feel such despair about what’s happening on a daily basis with this administration. We’ve got a horrible president. A horrible, ignorant, lying, blame-placing, disinterested, elitist, couldn’t-care-less-about-the average-American, horrible, horrible, dangerous president. It feels personal.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I totally hear you, Pat. When I think of Trump — who you described “to a T” near the end of your great/irate/eloquent comment — I feel rage and helplessness much more than humor. I guess I’ve been trained, sort of like Pavlov’s dog, via the local humor column I’ve written since 2003: When my attempted quips were more furious than humorous, my editor would let me know and advise me to dial it back. But it’s so hard with the vile, insufferable, destructive Trump. I just feel like writing a bunch of four-letter words, and none of them are “like” or “love.”

      “…my mind just blows a rage-circuit” — that’s a terrifically descriptive line.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Dave, I am so grateful for your humor, and that of so many others who post here. It gives me a good laugh and allows me to catch my breath a little until the next headline. I also rely on John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and SNL to do the same. Thank you for your kind words, Dave, and thank you for this wonderful safe harbor 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

        • Thank you for your nice words, Pat — and you’re very welcome! I also greatly value the comments area of this blog as a place to have smart, interesting conversations that never descend into nasty vitriol like the kind that emerges from Trump’s mouth and Twitter feed every day. And I agree that SNL, Colbert, Oliver, and a few others help keep us sane.

          Liked by 3 people

    • You’re welcome, hopewfaith, and thanks for the kind words!

      Part of me wishes I could go back to writing mostly apolitical literature posts every week, but Trump and other horrific far-right Republicans are just too destructive to ignore.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Dave, I agree completely with Mr. Brocklehurst, Nathan Price, William Dane, and Lord Voldemort. I’d add to those many of my favorite villains from Jane Austen: Aunt Norris from “Mansfield Park,” the wife of a clergyman, but who seems to not remember anything about being a good Christian, especially in her ways of dealing with and denigrating Fanny Price; the same goes for Mr. Elton, of “Emma,” and Mr. Collins of “Pride and Prejudice;” the character of Willoughby in “Sense and Sensibility,” who truly loved Marianne, but tossed her out of his life out of greed, so he could marry a woman of fortune; in “Northanger Abbey,” in which General Tilney believes that Catherine is the heir to a fortune, but once he learns that she’s not, her tosses her out of the Abbey, to be on her own to get back to her family; and of course we have in “Persuasion,” with Sir Walter Elliot the most narcissistic personality of any of Austen’s, which says a lot! Also, while thinking about which character to portray, it was amazing just having so many to choose from. So my themes for this comment come down to basically greed, social standing, vindictiveness, narcissism, and very non-Christian behavior — all of which we see clearly with the new Republican House.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Kat Lib! A GREAT list/description of the negative characters who Jane Austen depicted and satirized so well! It’s ironic that “the alt-right” (aka America’s disgusting white supremacists) weirdly claimed Austen as one of their own (as you probably saw in an article about that a while ago — if not, I’ll find it and post the link).

      Of course, it’s wonderful to know that Mrs. Norris inspired a name in the “Harry Potter” saga. 🙂

      And, yes, the far-right Republicans currently ruling the U.S. roost are all about greed, narcissism, vindictiveness, and much more. They are a total disgrace to the ideal meaning of Christianity.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Dave, I did see that article about the “alt right” claiming Austen as one of their own, which horrified me. She was very much a product of the times she lived in, yet just looking back at her novels, and her heroes and villains, I think it very clear that she had an acute sense of what was right and wrong, as well as the social aspect of her characters’ many flaws. (I’m not sure if that made any sense!)

        OK, here I go on a comment some if not all of you might not like, but I feel this is a place I can disagree with some things that have been said. I understand there is a great antipathy towards Walmart and I share some of that myself. However, the town I live in now has many immigrants, mostly from Mexico, and the Walmart here, a super-super center, employs many Hispanics, especially women. Bill and I do a lot of shopping there, and we learned that on a Sunday night, there were so many Hispanic families doing their weekly shopping trip. This is because (I think) most of them work long hours during the week, especially at the many mushroom farms, which are the life-blood of our community. As to me and Bill, we are both retired and on a fixed income, so I’m not sure if I need to apologize for buying many things at Walmart — where most things are much cheaper than anywhere, and there just aren’t many, if any, mom-and-pop stores left.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Yes, Jane Austen lived in a white world, but she did have a clear sense of right and wrong — while “the alt-right” is just viciously wrong, wrong, wrong.

          As for Walmart, I hear you, Kat Lib. It does have low prices, and sometimes it’s the only game in town for shopping (especially after Walmart put many independent retailers out of business). I’ve used a Walmart a couple of times when having no alternative — as when food shopping for our cabin at a 2014 family reunion in western North Carolina, where the closest supermarket was a Walmart in Tennessee. And Walmart does employ many women and many people of color, albeit with low wages and no or inadequate benefits (which taxpayers make up for by funding food stamps, emergency-room medical care, etc.). So, Walmart is definitely a mixed thing. I appreciate your take on it!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, Dave, in a perfect world no family would have trouble buying fresh foods, so it depresses me that we’re not there yet. Of course, I had to be one of those people who eat to live and not live to eat. So yes, I was not trying to put anyone down for not having the funds to eat well, and I’m well aware of what happens to folks who don’t. I hope you didn’t misconstrue my remarks to make it sound like I had no feelings for those people who don’t. If someone who’s not got money, would you begrudge them for buying a can of beans at one store at $1.00 rather than 90 cents at another?

            Liked by 3 people

            • Thanks, Kat Lib! I know you weren’t putting anyone down! You would never do that; you’re a humane, compassionate person. And I realize that the points I made about Walmart in my previous comment were rather obvious and might have come off as a bit of a lecture. 🙂

              Yes, when people don’t have much money, they have to find bargains where they can. I know I shop differently now (when I have a little more money) than when I was near-broke before selling my house in 2014.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Kat Lib, I can’t imagine anyone thinking you don’t have feelings for others … quite the opposite. You make a compassionate and humane statement. And, just on a side note, I shop Walmart all the time! I work 2nd shift. Fareway and Aldi’s are closed when I get off work. The dominant Midwest chain of supermarkets here is Hy-Vee, which is open 24/7, and which also charges noticeably more than
              Walmart, and doesn’t have as much to choose from. I don’t apologize for using Walmart, either. Fortunately, this is one area where Walmart did not run off local competition; it just offers another option.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Thanks to you Dave, and especially to PatD for your comments on Walmart. I know the situation isn’t ideal from many standpoints. However, I was at a local shop where they had some Pioneer Women mugs, etc., for $11.00. I was able to buy the same thing at Walmart for $4.88. So one may condemn me for shopping at Walmart over a mom-and pop store, but I honestly need to conserve my money — if it means spending a lot less at Walmart, then I’ll do that, but I’d be interested to show why we should be vilified when one chooses to do so.

                Liked by 4 people

                • Thanks, Kat Lib, for your further thoughts on this! And, thanks, Pat, for your view of this — happy to hear that Walmart is another option where you are, with some competition still around. And, yes, when we only have so much money, and/or work “odd” hours, that affects our shopping choices. While treatment of workers varies somewhat, few large retailers, or few large corporations in general, are really fair and generous with their workers.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • OK, I’m a glutton for punishment, but just a few further thoughts. One of the reasons I love my new community is that they make accommodations for those who are immigrants, whether legal or not. The Walmart I go to has a pharmacist on duty all the time who is bilingual, and the bank I go to (the much reviled Wells Fargo) always has on duty a bilingual teller who also handles foreign currency. I was thinking the other day that I’d really like to ask the guy who does much of my lawn mowing and the young lady who cuts my hair, if they are here legally, but of course that’s way too personal and might put them in jeopardy, but I do worry about them.

                    I’m reminded of what happened to my father many years ago, who had emigrated as a very young adopted child from Sweden to the US. He lived here for many years, and it wasn’t until he was in his 30’s, he became a citizen of this country. When we were younger, my sister and parents took a summer vacation to New England and Niagara Falls. As part of this trip, we crossed over to Canada to spend a day, and on the return trip back to the US, my dad was asked where he was born, and when he answered Sweden, he didn’t have his citizenship papers and was pulled into the Customs shed and asked many questions and had to recite The Pledge of Allegiance, and many other things I don’t recall. I still remember sitting in our very hot car and thinking I might have to live in Canada for the rest of my life — although now it doesn’t seem to be a bad idea! 🙂

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • First of all, Kat Lib, what a great line ending your comment! Canada certainly does seem even more appealing now that Trump is America’s Evildoer-in-Chief.

                      Sorry what your father and family had to go through in that border crossing. I imagine things would have been even worse if he wasn’t white.

                      Great that you live in a tolerant community where even Walmart and Wells Fargo show some humanity and compassion. I unfortunately had to use WF for a mortgage and a car loan at one point (involuntarily — the mortgage got switched and the auto place only used WF) and WF was bad to deal with even before those outrageous openings of accounts without customer permission.


                    • Ha, Dave! I’ve been through the many iterations of Wells Fargo for it seems my entire life, and I can’t even remember all of the different names that they were under. Because I’m quite lazy when it comes to financial matters, I’ve pretty much stayed with them so I don’t have to keep going through having to change all of my automatic payments and deposits. When I went through the whole mortgage loan process last year when I bought my new home, they were actually the easiest to work with and gave me the best interest rate — perhaps because I’ve been with them so long. But I do know some of my friends have had very bad experiences with them (which is most likely the same thing happening at most banks these days!).

                      As to my dad, when we moved to Minnesota and he had close business associates that he’d go on fishing trips with to Canada, he adopted the practice of telling border agents that he was born in Minnesota, and no one ever questioned it. I wish it were that easy to get across the southern border wall, or fence, or whatever it is that Trump now foresees — what a joke!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks, Kat Lib! People definitely have different experiences with these behemoth banks, and I guess Wells Fargo, as you allude to, is not much worse than Chase and other players who place profits, executive compensation, and shareholder dividends above service to customers.

                      Great solution by your father to say he was Minnesota-born! And, yes, America’s northern border and southern border are two very different things (politically, etc.).


    • a lot of interest in reading this post. very well tied to those characters, and widely held favorite “love to hate” character, Willoughby, whose love was so dependent upon certain “conditions”. conditions are what we are all going to be dealing with, via the fake president and his sicko cabinet and (paid by American Voters/Tax Payers) Congress. MaryAnne so willingly fell for Willoughby and his lies. even so, his promises were not so blatant and false as this so-called president’s were. and I believe he came to regret his final decision on marriage. unlike T-rump, who’s likely never to have any regrets at all, for he is not capable of regret or honor or of being a real man, for that matter. we are all in this together, but it does not feel like our brethren who voted for this clown actually realize they too will be hurt by the fake president’s actions. while I could never truly wish pain upon another mind, body or soul, I have to hope, in this case, that those who voted for him are going to feel the pain of his deeds as immediately as possible, so that they can then understand from the depths of their being what their actions have created. if their understanding never comes through their own pain, then there is likely nothing that will turn their minds back to an open status. a sad loss for an entire nation.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Eloquently said, hopewfaith, and I share your anger.

        I agree that, unlike some fictional villains, Trump seems totally incapable of regret as he does all the evil things he’s doing — including selling out the lower-income white voters who fell for his fake populism, or who just loved Trump’s blatant racism. I imagine many of those voters feel deep regret in their heart of hearts as they see their medical insurance taken away and their lives worsened in other ways by the vile Trump and the vile GOP Congress. But many people have a hard time publicly admitting they were wrong.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. A great tie-in, Dave, with today’s villains. I remember when that filthy Lowood zealot Brocklehurst killed off Elizabeth Taylor in the movie version of “Jane Eyre,” by giving her consumption and no medical coverage.

    I think McConnell would’ve punctured the tires of the Joad car to keep them in Oklahoma, thereby denying them medical care for dusty lungs.

    And the republicans would love to have Simon Legree for Chair of Senate Investigation Committee in Charge of Trump/Russia case.

    I’m loving your Octave Mouret as Sam Walmart killing off the pleasures of shopping in exchange for employees who sneeze in their hands, then hand you your wet change.

    How about Ahab representing our house of representatives who makes feeble verbal attempts to finish off the great orange whale, only to be destroyed by it themselves?

    Your resistance is much appreciated.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Actually, I kind of like Samad in ‘White Teeth’. While I acknowledge those irritating qualities you mentioned and found his scheme to send one son back to Pakistan to be reared in the proper ‘Muslim’ way and largely ignore his lost cause British son left at home, separating the different yet bonded twins reprehensible, I think Zadie Smith intended us to empathize with him. Recall, his largely clueless friend Archie, who did jump into action when it mattered but was otherwise mostly oblivious, has plenty of flaws himself. I don’t think she intended Samad to be easily shuffled over to be categorized as one of literature’s great villains, even though he does some repulsive things. I do think he loved his children whereas I don’t think Nathan Price in ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ or Allie Fox in ‘Mosquito Coast’ really cared about anyone except themselves, a quality they share with the big DT.

    Liked by 5 people

    • You may have a point there, Brian — Samad does have some redeeming qualities, and is not a prototypical literary villain. But separating his sons and sending one away (without telling them he planned to do that) WAS reprehensible. As was having an affair with his sons’ music teacher.

      I liked Archie and Clara’s troubled daughter Irie a lot better.

      Totally agree about Nathan Price and Allie Fox, who definitely have some similarities in the near-psycho-dad department. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s