I've always been partial to the reading of Lear as the darkest of black comedies. (Titus Andronicus comes close, but veers into Grindhouse.) It is so unremittingly bleak, populated by such imbecilic losers, carried along like a feather on a breeze of madness. I recalled Lear's descent into insanity as occupying much more of the play than a recent re-reading revealed it to occupy. He's pretty much crazy from the get-go. Cordelia says she won't try to out-flatter her sisters and cheapen her true love for her father, but what harm would it do to flatter the vanities of proud, senile old man unless her own pride were a bit overweening. It's all rage, prophecy, speechifying, curses, cries, sermons, storms. "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench d our steeples, drown'd the cocks!" It's the sort of soliloquy the Coen Brothers put in the mouth of John Goodman. So cosmic, so vastly grandiloquent--what can you do but laugh.
So it is with Rudloph Giuliani. Beset on all sides by scams and scammers, undercut by scheming family, past and present, given to craziness. We all recall the Clinton dramas, but despite their educational pedigree, the Clintons managed to convince our tellers of tales that they were a little hayseed, and so Clinton never really escaped his reputation as a County-Fair lothario. Giuliani, meanwhile, has convinced our narrators of his belonging to that class of people whose habits of marriage, reproduction, and coastal Real Estate confer the status of Clan. Wives. Ex-wives. Rebellious daughters. Prodigal sons. Girlfriends. Mobbed-up cronies. Rages and tears. Messianism and depression. Towers of ego. Striving women and corrupted men. Oh, how I hope he's the next president just so that I can write about it!