ForeWord Reviews

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The Dreams of Lucifer & Barack Obama

The political collaboration and secrets never released

Clarion Review (3 Stars)

Dr. Selwyn J. Mills’s book The Dreams of Lucifer and Barack Obama is presented as a play but is not so much a dramatic piece as it is a political discourse. Divided into ten chapters, the play contains an important foreword, which aims to set the tone, and a scorching afterword in which Mills relates an anecdote that compares Barack Obama, or any other “Political Dreamer,” to an untrustworthy used-car salesmen. There is also an addendum about the authenticity of President Obama’s American citizenship.

The author literally uses the Lucifer character as a devil’s advocate. After asking the Obama character what he’s been doing, Lucifer then listens to an answer full of political rhetoric that allows the playwright to express an abundance of errors that many Americans feel Barack Obama has made in his first term, including the real estate bailout as well as the health-care bill. Lucifer is a foil to Obama, and, at the same time, their egos complement each other. Where there could be a dialectic with points and counterpoints there is only a diatribe. Lucifer’s answers to Obama’s questions are condescending and derogatory. Sometimes they are humorous. For instance, Lucifer compares Obama to Narcissus: “Listen Barry, there’s a legend in Greek mythology about an arrogant young man who, upon discovering a pool of water in the forest, fell in love with the perfection of his own reflection…he demanded that others respond to his reflection. Those who did not honor it became his enemies. I am not one of your admirers, you pompous little pipsqueak, you invidious, self-aggrandizing piece of crap.” What is so effective about that line is that Mills does not mention the Greek myth’s character by name. The reader must dig beneath the misleading surface of the play. Narcissus is associated with vanity, but its literal translation is believed to come from the word “narke,” which means “sleep numbness,” and as the play reaches its conclusion readers will realize that the “sleep numbness” applies to the Obama character on many levels. Its worth wading through the layers of exposition that sometimes hinder the pace of the action to find such nuances innate in any dramatic piece.

The author has made an effort to juxtapose the organic quality found in theatrical dialogue with the succinct template of a novel. To find a modicum of sanity in what he depicts as an insane situation, Mills has drawn a parallel in his play between Barack Obama and the embodiment of the Judeo-Christian evil, Lucifer. Aristotle’s Poetics and basic play-writing 101 take a back seat to the author’s exposition and explanation as he attempts to present the repercussions of the current presidential administration. What Mills emphasizes most in his play besides his view of the arrogance and charisma of the Obama and Lucifer characters is their tunnel vision. The Obama character is placed in a nightmarish scenario that no leader in the Western world would want to face—global nuclear devastation. The author makes the reader feel helpless through his portrayal of blatant arrogance, hapless decision making, and the frightening tunnel vision of the Obama character. The Dreams of Lucifer and Barack Obama is a political satire containing anxiety, fear, and paranoia.

Lee Gooden