Bush as Emperor

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The conceptual metaphor and rhetorical devices associated with the meme of Bush as Emperor occur in samizdat writing with uncommon frequency. This is the most easily understood Republican Aristocracy meme as many more people know what an "Emperor" is, much more than could tell you what an "Aristocracy" is.

Using this metaphor/meme has numerous advantages and disadvantages, but it is actually a very rich idea. Most especially as it seems to flatter Bush and may cause him to alter his behavior to be "more Imperial", e.g. increase foreign aid spending or something. This might be wishful thinking, obviously.

The most obvious disadvantages are that it feeds Bush's ego and may cause him to do even more stupid things. But if those stupid things are obvious, or come out as mere statements, then, it might serve to illustrate just how much hubris he has.

That said, there are several Emperors to which Bush could most reasonably be compared for rhetorical purposes:

  • The very bad Roman Emperor w:Commodus who inherited the throne from his father the good ruler and sage w:Marcus Aurelius, then proceeded to squander the entire Empire's wealth on circuses, on extreme cronyism, then turning on the cronies almost at random, and eventually terrify his own favourites so much they killed him before they were executed too. This character was roughly portrayed in the movie Gladiator.
  • The earlier very bad Roman Emperor w:Caligula who inherited the throne from the military dictator w:Tiberius, whom he is believed to have murdered, then proceeded to debauch and disgust the capital with wasteful orgies, trying to marry his own sister, etc.. This was portrayed with roughly historical accuracy in Bob Guccione's film Caligula. It includes scenic lesbian scenes that might be called gratititous activities but are also nonetheless likely accurate. A merely PG-14 version of this, much longer and drawn out and better acted, is the 1975 BBC series w:I, Claudius in which John Hurt portrays this Emperor.
    • This analogy is useful mostly to criticize the Republican Party around Bush and the activities of other Republicans indicted for criminal actions, mostly having to do with money not sex, but who knows how they spend the money? **However, Caligula believed himself to have been in direct conversations with Zeus (who "told him" to marry his sister and that he, Caligula, was a God) and this also resembles some things George W. Bush has said
  • The Roman Emperor w:Nero who played his fiddle during the Great Fire of Rome.
  • The Japanese Emperor w:Hirohito who weakly stood by as military dictators took over the Empire of Japan in the 1920s and 1930s, invaded China and Korea and South-East Asia and eventually attacked the USA at Pearl Harbor in 1941... the fatal step too far.
    • The analogy is obvious as Bush listens to Donald Rumsfeld far too much, and probably doesn't know how to rule without him, and arrogantly attacks those who are actually too powerful to take on - Bush might already have weakened the US too much for a major confrontation with China to come out to the US's favour; Bush is certainly over-reaching by trying to confront everyone who is in favour of a unified Islamic Caliphate which includes even some moderates
  • The Last Emperor of China, who was deposed, used as a puppet by the Japanese, and, under the Communists, eventually re-educated in a re-education camp, becoming a gardener in Beijing. Tragically the Communist cadre leader who achieved this relatively humane rehabilitation was purged during the Chinese "Cultural Revolution" of the 1960s. The events are portrayed in Bertolucci's film The Last Emperor.
    • The analogy is especially useful in conjunction with that to the film w:Being There, in which the President is a gardener without much brains who is recruited for the job (not much different from getting it for genetic reasons)
    • It also portrays Bush as a dupe in need of re-education, which is likely very accurate, especially as Bush is an alcoholic that had a cocaine addiction
  • The Star Wars Emperor Palpatine, master of the Dark Side of the Force, who replaces a democratic galactic Republic with a highly centralized military dictatorship, step by step
    • What can we say? Entirely applicable. Just ask the ACLU and anyone stationed in the Iraq occupation
    • This Emperor was best known for commissioning a couple of Death Stars, which were easily blown up by insurgents, so any direct mention of current wasteful spending on "military research" might make use of this analogy.
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