This week the students in my literary criticism class are reading El sueño de la razón, a play by noted dramatist Antonio Buero Vallejo. The work is a historical drama based on the last days of Goya in Madrid, when he was finishing his famous Black Paintings. The play is set in December, 1823, a time of horrible political repression set loose by the worst monarch in the history of Spain, Ferdinand VII. Goya had been deaf for some years by that point. In one scene Goya witnesses an argument between his servant/lover and his daughter- in-law and has auditory hallucinations, imagining his lover's voice as that of an ass and his daughter-in- law's as that of a rooster. Something similar happens to me with McCain and Palin. Palin is the rooster and McCain the ass. Today's word from yourdictionary.com: apothegm: "a terse saying that sums up a philosophical insight or conclusion; a maxim, an aphorism." In pondering our recent history, no appropriate apothegm comes immediately to mind. Any suggestions? Months ago I made a half-assed attempt to add one of those 'hit counters' or whatever you call it to this page, so that I'd know if anyone was reading, but I couldn't figure it out. So, in the spirit of polling, which so dominates the news these days, a little poll of my own: if you read this (I think there are two or three of you), send an email to aldrich@dickinson.edu, saying, cockadoodledooi'mneitheraroosternoranassandireadayearinmalaga. Comprendes? In the photo, Goya's Saturn Devouring his Son, from the Black Paintings series.

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