A playlet

A seven-line playlet on John McCain and OSL, mainly cribbed from great authors.

Extract from The Tragicall Historie of Jno. McCaine

Scene: any small town in America.

Enter John McCain, Duke of Arizona, with advance men, journalists, pundits, spin-doctors, fundraisers, and other attendants.

John McCain:

Shun yonder donkeys and their milksop bray!

I’ll chase Osama to the gates of hell. (1)

Cheers, alarums, balloons. Exeunt on a campaign bus.

The face of Osama bin Laden appears on multiple video screens, as from a cave.

Osama bin Laden: Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it. (2)

The face fades.

Chorus of Argive electors :

Now things stand as they stand.

What’s destined to come will be fulfilled,

and no libation, sacrifice, or human tears

will mitigate the gods’ unbending wrath. (3)



(1): stump speech, eg here.

(2): Christoper Marlowe, The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

(3): Aeschylus, Agamemnon, l. 90

The full speech of the chorus recounts the desperate sacrifice by Agamemnon of his daughter Iphigeneia , made at the outset of the Trojan War ten years before. To meet Artemis’

“demand for another sacrifice,

one which violates all human law,

which no feast celebrates”

he commits an atrocity that leads to his own bloody death at Clytemnestra’s hands. Later in the cycle, his son Orestes avenges his father by killing his mother. Athena and the assembly of Athens finally permit Orestes to end the cycle of crime and vengeance, assuaging the Furies by granting them their own temple on the democratic city’s Acropolis.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web