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Black Knights and Dead Parrots: Monty Python and the Presidential Race Black Knights and Dead Parrots: Monty Python and the Presidential Race

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Politics

Black Knights and Dead Parrots: Monty Python and the Presidential Race

June 26, 2012

As anyone who's ever heard of the Silly Party knows, Monty Python has never shied away from politics. But in this election season, the beloved British comedy troupe's classic skits increasingly have been used to explain events — and even personalities — on the presidential campaign trail.

Maybe it's just that a number of pundits are fans of Python's TV show and movies. Or maybe it's that John Cleese, Michael Palin, and the rest of the group were keen anticipators of the absurd. In any event, here are some recent examples ...

1. Back when Rick Perry was a candidate, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus invoked the "Dead Parrot" sketch, arguably Python's best-known routine, in assessing the Texas governor's status. But instead of assuming the guise of Cleese's outraged pet buyer, Marcus took a stance akin to Palin's deceptively death-denying shopkeeper:

 

 

2. Two other Republican ex-candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, were compared to Monty Python and the Holy Grail's ever-persistent Black Knight, who exemplifies the meaning of not knowing when to quit:

 

3. Mitt Romney's personal fortune has made him a target for accusations that he is out of touch — even The American Conservative's Philip Giraldi wondered if the ex-Massachusetts governor could have been cast in one of Python's sketches skewering the wealthy, such as one in which the "very, very, very rich" Cleese appears mystified by the notion of donating money to help orphans:

 

4. When The Wall Street Journal's Robert Frank sought to explain what he dubbed "the new politics of wealth denial" involving President Obama, he invoked Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch featuring a group of cigar-smoking rich men boasting about how poor they all once were. After one of them talks of being forced to grow up in a hall corridor, Palin's character says dismissively, "We used to dream of living in a corridor. It would have been a palace to us." 

 

5. In another Holy Grail reference, Tampa Bay Times columnist Daniel Ruth has some advice for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., if he's offered the vice presidential nomination: Run away!

 

6. Opining on what he called the Republicans' steadfast rejection of Obama's agenda, The Post's Jonathan Bernstein cited the "Argument Clinic" sketch, in which Cleese finds a way to disagree with absolutely everything Palin says:

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