After the stir over the release of Barack Obama’s letter on “The Waste Land” to his college girlfriend, the timing seemed right to dig into the epistolary archives of other contemporary political figures. After much searching, we unearthed these three letters, all written from college-age future-politicians to their sweethearts.
I haven’t read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in years but I am pleased to know that the high school production is proving to be a success. As I recollect, the play unfolds around a comical conceit involving an assemblage of Greek youths who abscond to the woods where they experiment with hallucinogenic drugs. I have to commend Shakespeare for this incisive portrayal of the pitfalls into which Greek people are wont to fall, which is impeccably accurate, if the guy who sells me my lunch gyro is any indication. The Bard also depicts the moral and political struggles of a dynasty of faeries ruled with great dignity by Oberon, and the droll truth is that while the narrow-minded citizens of today assume that the faeries represent mere figments of Shakespeare’s prodigious imagination, according to some reliable tomes I have read lately such faeries actually inhabited the European woods during Shakespeare’s epoch. Most of the faeries departed for the moon during the Industrial Revolution, assuming correctly that humans were developing enough moral and intellectual strength to resist the computer chips that they planted in our brains to inhibit our ordinarily capacious capacity for agency. However, when Homo sapiens establishes a colony there in a few years, it is becoming increasingly clear that we will be required to engage in an epic human/faerie battle for lunar dominion. It’s all outlined in my next novel; I also threw in some undead Confederate soldiers who refuse to desist in combat despite their lack of supporters, resources, and blood, because why not give the whole thing a Battle-of-Manassas-meets-Death-Star atmosphere? In any case, the important message from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is that “love” is just a matter of having flower juice poured on your eyes and you can’t control when it gets poured there or when it gets wiped away, can you Jackie?
What possessed you to think that I might find Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” edifying? The poem epitomizes the moral corruption already infecting 17th-century Britain that is today poisoning the very bloodstream of this once-great nation. Act before contemplating, Marvell says — and then expect the government to subsidize your child of sin! I would at least credit the poem with achieving some alluring analogies — “youthful hue” and “morning dew,” for example — but I absolutely cannot forgive the line “My vegetable love should grow . . .” When, Dolores, is love ever vegetable-like? I looked up the adjective “vegetable” in my Merriam Webster 2nd Edition, thinking perhaps I had failed to consider some obscure connotation, but found only “a: of, relating to, constituting, or growing like plants; b: consisting of plants; 2: made from, obtained from, or containing plants of plant products;” and “3: resembling or suggesting a plant (as in inertness or passivity).” Even if “vegetable” sounded at all appropriate with “love,” how could love be “growing” and “inert” at the same time? Does Marvell really think he has the authority to turn romance into broccoli, Dolores?
I have determined that I do agree with you in your assessment that Anna Karenina is a truly fine novel. Yes, I did say in my last letter that Tolstoy was “entirely pointless” and “far too long” and “over-emotional,” but that was before I knew that Anna Karenina was your favorite novel and that you were considering leaving me in favor of a man who possessed a more “sensitive soul.” Well, Ann, consider my soul one hundred percent sensitized. You see, on my first go-round I just could not get past all of the irksome characters in the novel. What are you supposed to make of all these people? This time around, I realized that all you have to do is forget that the novel contains any people. Then it is possible to read Tolstoy’s masterpiece as a stunning and dazzling panorama of economic conditions in 19th century Russia. Upon first read, I could not fathom why the narrator spent so much time following the lives of country folks, though I suppose Levin’s house would have seemed less filthy if he’d kept his dog properly chained outside. But this time, I realized that Tolstoy was simply juxtaposing the distasteful country life with the appealingly luxurious pastimes of the wealthy Muscovites. What fun! Oh, it was truly heartwarming to read about the aristocracy’s grand balls, and lavish feasts, and elegant costumes, and fun-filled trips to Europe. Those Russians sure did live well. Which sumptuous gown did you think was best described, Ann?