Who anointed Beto O’Rourke to be our political saviour? He did | Moira Donegan


Is grandiose narcissism required of anyone who wants to run for president?

Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso Congressman and failed Texas Senate candidate who announced his presidential run last Thursday, named his first son Ulysses. It’s a Latinized name for the hero, Odysseus, in the Homeric epic The Odyssey. This is typical of Beto: he likes heroes, and the stories of their discovery, trials, and triumphs.

One of Beto’s favorite books is The Hero’s Journey, an overview by the literary theorist Joseph Campbell of Campbell’s theory of heroic myth. In Campbell’s work, the hero story, or “monomyth,” can be broken down into component parts, genre conventions that reappear in myth after myth: The hero ventures forth from the common world into a more significant world of wonder; he is tested, but wins a decisive victory. Then, he returns, with the power to bless and lead the little people who stayed behind.

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