Barack Macbeth’s ‘Murder’ of Net Neutrality (News, Switzerland)
To what degree does the Obama Administration reversal on net neutrality resemble a Shakespearean tragedy? For Switzerland’s News, Regula Stampfli depicts President Obama in the role of Macbeth, after his FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, attempted to persuade the American people, unsuccessfully so far, that this monumental change in policy is somehow in their interests.
For News, Regula Stampfli starts off this way:
Announcement: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. agency for media and telecommunications, recently announced that it intends to abandon network neutrality. Those who pay more will get better network access. It’s high time to consult Shakespeare.
Prominent Internet activist and law professor Tim Wu is saying these days that Barack Obama personally swore to him that he would defend a cost neutral Internet. What if a presidential candidate promised the Black community, putting his own integrity on the line, that once elected, he would defend integration at all cost, only to introduce an unequal voting system?
When Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, he knew nothing of Barack Obama, and yet the first Black president resembles this literary anti-hero like no other. Macbeth clearly saw what needed to be done, and with eyes wide open, set about doing the opposite. Not unlike Obama. Both – the literary model and the real-life American president – revel in a kind of inferiority complex colored by a certain willingness to commit violence (see Obama’s saber rattling with respect to Russia) and a narcissistic claim to exclusivity (“I can”). Both Macbeth and Obama are encouraged in their actions by “enablers.” For Macbeth, it’s his “lady,” and for Obama, the rulers of Wall Street. No one in 2008 thought the “Scottish play” would run in Washington again and again. In 2007, Barack Macbeth – like his model – still had what it takes to be hero as well as villain. As with Macbeth, Obama’s first murder (drones) and his first lie (Guantanamo) were the initial sparks for later acts of inhumanity. Lady Macbeth – a.k.a. Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner – knew exactly what this weak-minded man wanted and needed – and gave it to him.
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