Friday, December 25, 2020

The Pardoner's Tale

 The Pardoner in the Ellesmere Manuscript of The Canterbury Tales

Boccaccio’s Decameron has been the classic of choice during the Pandemic in that it deals with a group of nobles who tell each other stories as a way of passing time during the Plague. Coronavirus actually caused a run on copies of the Boccaccio volume, which became hard to get. Perhaps the same thing will happen with Chaucer’s great bawdy classic,The Canterbury Tales, due in particular to “The Pardoner’s Tale” and its famous motto “greed is the root of (all) evils,” "Radix malorum est cupiditas.” Obviously Trump is intent on rendering his own  "Pardoner’s Tale," which will be based on not one but many pardons by the time he’s done.  However, noticeably absent from Trump’s pardon list is Keith Raniere of Nxivm fame, who famously branded and assaulted women. Dr. Larry Nassar who abused gymnasts is another candidate for pardoning, who's notably missing. Yet another noticeable absence is Charles Manson. Manson, who was a family man, died in 2017. But let’s look at some of those on the list. Charles Kushner did nothing more than send a video of his brother-in-law in flagrante with a prostitute to his sister—in order to induce the brother-in-law not testify against him. What’s so bad about that? In fact, kudos to him for coming up with such a clever and juicy plot! Representative Duncan Hunter was convicted of using campaign funds to pay for his extra-marital affairs. Does that deserve a jail sentence? Everyone does it. What’s the president going to do with all the money he’s lately been raising, btw? Paul Manafort and Lieutenant Michael Flynn did nothing more than lie to the FBI. Was anyone actually hurt by these supposed crimes? Trump famously declared, "I could shoot...somebody and I would never lose any voters." There are rumors that he may be pardoning himself. But why would he even need one, if in the eyes of his base, he never does anything wrong?

Read "Trumpty Dumpty's Great Fall" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

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