Monday, August 4, 2008

Obama Fitzwilliam Darcy

Young women are incessantly comparing the objects of their admiration, infatuation and adoration to Jane Austin's enduring hero, Mr. Darcy. When friends finagle the conversation into these waters, one usually smiles politely at the raptures and moves on with life as quickly as possible.

Yesterday, this religion moved into an entirely new dimension, into a stratosphere one would never have believed possible. In the New York Times, there was a delightful op-ed piece that took the blighted trio, Obama, Hilary and McCain, and fitted Austin's masterpiece to their odious interactions.

The odd thing is that Obama bears a distinct resemblance to the most cherished hero in chick-lit history. The senator is a modern incarnation of the clever, haughty, reserved and fastidious Mr. Darcy.

Like the leading man of Jane Austen and Bridget Jones, Obama can, as Austen wrote, draw “the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien. ...he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased.”

The master of Pemberley “had yet to learn to be laught at,” and this sometimes caused “a deeper shade of hauteur” to “overspread his features.”

The New Hampshire debate incident in which Obama condescendingly said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary,” was reminiscent of that early scene in “Pride and Prejudice” when Darcy coldly refuses to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, noting, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

Allow me to propose yet another remake of the marvelous A&E (five hour) Pride and Prejudice. The picture above confirms that he could give Firth no small competition for the brilliant lake scene, yes?

The cults of Hope and Austen have finally converged with glorious result.

1 comment:

Octavia Ratiu said...

Kelly, great post. I have 2 comments.

1.) My claim to fame: I found the article! Hehe.

2.) You forgot the best part! I post it below.

'If Obama is Mr. Darcy, with “his pride, his abominable pride,” then America is Elizabeth Bennet, spirited, playful, democratic, financially strained, and caught up in certain prejudices. (McCain must be cast as Wickham, the rival for Elizabeth’s affections, the engaging military scamp who casts false aspersions on Darcy’s character.)


So the novelistic tension of the 2008 race is this: Can Obama overcome his pride and Hyde Park hauteur and win America over?

Can America overcome its prejudice to elect the first black president? And can it move past its biases to figure out if Obama’s supposed conceit is really just the protective shield and defense mechanism of someone who grew up half white and half black, a perpetual outsider whose father deserted him and whose mother, while loving, sometimes did so as well?

Can Miss Bennet teach Mr. Darcy to let down his guard, be more sportive, and laugh at himself?'

*Insert gag reflex here*