Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rudy Giuliani as Beowulf

Last night, some friends and I watched Beowulf in IMAX 3D. The plot of the movie is notably different than the epic poem we read in high school. Looking at some of the traits of the warrior in this new interpretation, I notice several coincidental and amusing parallels between the flawed heroics of Beowulf and the flailings of present day Rudy Giuliani.

The evidence:

[Spoiler alert - you may want to stop reading if you plan to see Beowulf]

A public mistress
While Beowulf remains married to Queen Wealtheow, in the later parts of the story, he favors the younger Ursula.
Rudy carried on a relationship with his now wife Judith Nathan while still married to and living with Donna Hanover.

A willingness to embrace the enemy for personal gain
In the movie version, after Beowulf defeats Grendel, he seeks to destroy Grendel's Mother. Beowulf instead sleeps with Grendel's Mother, who promises him riches and power in exchange for siring another child. He allows himself to be seduced, and together they conceive the dragon, a super beast far worse then the original pest Grendel.

From the linked article:
The contradictory and stunning reality is that Giuliani Partners, the consulting company that has made Giuliani rich, feasts at the Qatar trough, doing business with the ministry run by the very member of the royal family identified in news and government reports as having concealed KSM [Khalid Sheikh Muhammad],—the terrorist mastermind who wired funds from Qatar to his nephew Ramzi Yousef prior to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who also sold the idea of a plane attack on the towers to Osama bin Laden—on his Qatar farm in the mid-1990s.


A reputation based on exaggerated heroism
After not slaying Grendel's mother, Beowulf returns and recounts the loaded and boastful tale of how he killed the beast and saved the day. He ascends to the throne, and allows his people to immortalize him with the epic Song of Beowulf, which retells his heroic Grendel- and Grendel-mother-slaying.

Rudy has relentlessly portrayed himself as America's Mayor, running on the platform of his leadership on 9/11. Joe Biden sums it up pretty well when he observes "Rudy Giuliani, there's only three things he mentions in a sentence — a noun and a verb and 9/11"

So what's behind this supposed leadership?
  • Giuliani is blamed by many in the FDNY for screwing up the situation with their radio communications equipment before 9/11.
  • In 1999, Giuliani insisted that the new Emergency Operations Center be housed in the World Trade Center itself, despite the fact that the complex was one of the most likely sites of a terrorist attack, and it was directly across the street from where terrorists had struck in 1993.
  • Giuliani was an original member of the ten-person bipartisan Iraq Study Group, but never attended any of its meetings. He was out cashing in as a paid public speaker instead. The chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, former Secretary of State James Baker and former Representative Lee Hamilton, had to give Rudy the ultimatum "either show up for meetings or leave the group."
I tried to draw parallels between respective sidekicks Wiglaf and Bernie Kerik, but the well came up dry.

While I haven't decided who I will support in the 2008 presidential election, you can bet your bones it will not be Rudy Giuliani.

Podcasts

New Zune owner Eliot asked me last night which podcasts I listen to.  Here's the answer, shared for the greater good.