When Professor Marc Lynch first used the phrase “Reaganesque burlesque” in relation to the recent death of King Fahd, I was ready to let it go.
Thank the gods for al-Jazeera, today. Their lead: “Intense security arrangements for the funeral of King Fahd.” They do have some stories noting the world’s mourning, but it’s treated as a news story, not as a Reaganesque burlesque.
But then he used it again, so let’s dive in.
What is the meaning of “Reaganesque burlesque” in this context? My goal, for now, is just to understand the usage. Reagan died. There were a bunch of events to mark the occasion. Those events received wide news coverage. There was also much commentary.
What aspect of this was “burlesque”? Since Lynch is a smart guy (and since we both agree that al-Jazeera is a force for good), I don’t want to attack this usage until I fully understand it. My suspicion is that, in the hallways and offices of Stetson, the meaning is that Reagan himself was an man of side-show stupidity and/or that the coverage surrounding his demise was ludicrous in both the seriousness with which it took his policies and the credit that it gave him for the “successes” of his administration.
But don’t want to put words into Lynch’s mouth . . .