Monday, July 4, 2022

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Rants & Reason

Fun and fretting with Putin, Rasputin, Trump and Brady!


It’s puzzling that no one has drawn the obvious links between the sinister Grigori Rasputin and his efforts a century ago to save Russian czar-to-be Alexei Romanov and today’s sinister Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian federation, and his efforts to save President Trump.

Consider: Rasputin was a figurative and literal terror in czarist Russia — a mystic who entrenched, if not endeared, himself within the Russian royal family of Czar Nicholas II. He supposedly cured their child and heir apparent Alexei of a terminal illness, thought today to be hemophilia.

A century later, Putin has entrenched, if not endeared, himself within the Trump entourage. He rescued its enfant terrible — a person given to shameful inopportune remarks and unconventional actions — from the likelihood of losing an election at the hands of Hilla-philia.

With the furor over the Putin meddling, it’s small wonder that Super Bowl LII reflected the divisiveness in our nation. We had the Patriots from Boston, the “cradle of liberty,” going hammer and sickle against the Eagles, our avian symbol of might and liberty from Philadelphia, where the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787. How fitting these days!

The interplay of all these forces includes how Rasputin always came back to life despite being presumed dead time and again, and how Patriot quarterback Tom Brady always came back to life in the fourth quarter of Super Bowls.
Rasputin survived countless attempts on his life — knife wounds fatal to others, swallowing enough cyanide to kill five men, supposedly being beaten to death, shot several times and then, in desperation, wrapped in a carpet and tossed into the freezing Neva River in St. Petersburg where he died of hypothermia or drowning. At least that was the diagnosis when his apparent corpse was pulled from the river three days later. That was in 1916.


So ended Rasputin’s influence on the Romanovs, all executed by Bolshevik soldiers in 1918.

The verdict on Putin’s influence on the Trump entourage is still out, but Trump’s desire for his own military extravaganza — ala May Day in the Kremlin’s Red Square — is not reassuring.

Back to Brady, who astonishes us by always coming back to life, too, despite how many view him as evil — as folks did Rasputin — and too often see Brady as not dead but doomed late in Super Bowls.

In Super Bowl LII, the Eagles had Brady on the ropes by taking a 28-23 lead with 2:21 left in the game.

Goodbye, Tom!

But the diabolical Patriot coach Bill Belichick pointed out that, under Section 17 of National Football League rules, after an extra point attempt, the Eagles must kick off to the Patriots, which they reluctantly did.

Brady lived to play again — only to have the Eagles recover a legally inflated football knocked from his hands with little more than two minutes to play.

Goodbye, Tom, for sure.

Then the Eagles scored again with a field goal, to lead 31-23 with less than 1:05 to go.

R.I.P., Tom!

But the Eagles were stunned when game officials again agreed with the cunning Belichick that even after a field goal — not merely after an extra point attempt — the Eagles must again kick off to Brady. That problem seemed lessened by the Patriots winding up with the ball inside their own 10-yard line.

Undaunted, Brady had his team going down the field again, hoping to tie the game with powers akin to those attributed to Rasputin 100 years ago. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ sideline scrambled for a carpet to wrap Tom in and checked their GPS for the nearest river.

But the carpet and the dunking were not needed. Somehow the Eagles survived, even though the Patriots invoked a desperate Hail Mary.

So Eagles fans continue to celebrate their victory over the Rasputin-like Brady.

The rest of us, however, remain haunted and frightened by today’s Putin and his influence in the Trump election.
Perhaps special counsel Robert Mueller — if not fired — will not only utter but complete a needed Hail Mary. If that be “treason,” as enfant terrible Trump would call it, let’s make the most of it. ♦

Herb Strentz is a retired administrator and professor in the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication and writes the monthly Rants and Reason column for CITYVIEW.

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