Thursday, October 08, 2009

Obama Attracts Nemesis

I've heard Obama described many ways, but humble is never among the adjectives.

I have believed in the power of the goddess Nemesis (“dispenser of dues”) ever since I was introduced to the concept as a teenager studying classics, especially in the texts of Hesiod, Herodotus, and Sophocles.

Some of you know her also as a variant of eastern Karma, or the folk notion of ‘what comes around, goes around’, or the now common “ain’t payback a bitch”? We all agree on the symptoms: overweening success and surfeit (koris) lead to hubris (gratuitous arrogance), which in turn promotes destructive behavior (atê), that at last calls you to the attention of divine Nemesis—who ensures your ruin. At Rhamnous on the Attic coast there is a beautiful temple to the goddess, proof of her ubiquity and power.

That is how Victor Davis Hanson introduces us to President Obama's hubris--and he provides more than enough examples, given that the man has been president less than 9 months.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

You would think that with this classical foundation he should be familiar with the term "hubris".