to convince people that one candidate in particular is better than the other solely on mundaneaspects of their personality and beliefs; something to be used as a means to an end.This leads on directly to the idea of the trickster figure and the intertwining of this figure with thecharismatic figure. The trickster figure is present in all mythologies throughout the world and has been a constant figure in the mythos of humankind. Some cultures even have multiple trickster figures in their mythos, such as the Native American Indians. Even within different NativeAmerican tribes, they have different figures that represent the trickster. In the tribes to the North of America, the coyote is seen as the trickster where as on the Northwest coast the raven is seen asthe trickster but also as the cultural hero. This last part is important. Not only does it show theubiquitousness of the trickster mythos but also that of the cultural hero or one who has charisma.The two attributes, at times, cannot be separated from one another
Today, inthe modern world, not only is it the time of the charismatic leader but it is also the time of thecharismatic trickster. This is because the trickster abounds in times of upheaval, revolution andchange and no matter what positive changes are taking place, “the trickster is always lurking in itsshadow”
(Szakolczai, 2007, p.45).
Here it is worth noting that the trickster, at least in NativeAmerican mythology, can sprout from the cultural hero, possibly one who has charisma in theWeberian sense.In Native American mythology, the cultural hero is weak compared to the Supreme Being; the onewho is the creator, the almighty. This is what “paves the way for his development as a trickster.And through his great deficiencies and clumsiness – compared to the Supreme Being – in the process of creation he inflicts much misfortune on humans, sometimes, it appears, intentionally.More than any other mythological figure he has thus come to represent the somewhat capricious,dangerous, often malevolent aspect of the supernatural”
(Hultkrantz, 1980, p. 33).
Despite the factthat tricksters generally threaten societal norms, conventions etc., “there are some tricksters whocreate the impression of possessing a high moral ground; even pretending to be the solerepresentatives of an ethical way of life”
(Szakolczai, 2007, pp. 256 – 257).
As already mentioned,Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez seems to fit this description as he was seen as a cultural hero by his supporters but now he seems to have gone down the path of despotism. On more local level,former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern fits the criteria of cultural hero, a charismatic leader andtrickster figure. He was elected to office on the back of popular sentiment but all the time he wasguilty of extreme financial irregularities and was partly responsible for the current economic crisis3