If the much-anticipated “thawing” in transatlantic relations has begun, one would not know it from reading the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the paper of record for Germany’s Social Democratic establishment. On Monday February 7, the Süddeutsche published an apparently “humorous” article, titled “Bürger-King”, ostensibly inspired by the confluence of Carnival and an article from the NYTimes on a Shakespeare seminar for Air Force officials. In the Süddeutsche piece, author Willi Winkler ponders the question: if George W. Bush were a Shakespeare character, who would he be? The article is accompanied by – likewise apparently “humorous” – photo montages depicting Bush as respectively Falstaff, Henry VIII, Hamlet, and Henry V.
Winkler’s answer: Henry V, who began life as prince Hal:
...who has got nothing in his head but drinking and womanizing and wasting the dear Lord’s time. Together with the fat Sir John Falstaff..., he brawls his way through an irresponsible youth. Then, however, the drunkard himself becomes King – and indeed Henry V – and overnight he is transformed almost into a statesman and – it’s always like that with Kings – into a murderous warlord.
And just in case this was not yet hilarious enough, Willi Winkler adds:
Only Falstaff has gone missing in the meanwhile. And not even the idea of Donald Rumsfeld as court jester, attired in a Burger King crown and a tattered cape and sitting on the right side of his Majesty, can make up for the loss.