playing Cassandra

Hello,
the whole sentence is:

"One of the strange things happening today is that any hint that the intimate sphere should be marked by a caveat, tempts some people to accuse West’s critics of playing Cassandra, and of ´being a dualist´."

It is from a critical essay on books by Christopher West by Alice von Hildebrandt. I can´t understand the phrase "playing Cassandra". Cassandra, in Greeek mythology, was a prophet never believed but this does not seem to fit here. Is it a set phrase in English, or is it the author´s personal figure of speech? And if so, how does a native speaker understand it?
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    I think we have the source, PaulQ:
    a critical essay on books by Christopher West by Alice von Hildebrandt
    A little more context would be helpful, although I can't imagine "playing Cassandra" would be a reference to anyone other than the classical Cassandra.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi Czech_Translator, this is not a set phrase in English. The reference is clearly to Cassandra, and it seems to me that the element of West's critics not being believed because they are the bearers of bad news, and news that is not believed, is indeed present.

    In her lengthy essay here (catholicnewsagency.com), von Hildebrand says: "Anyone who reads Christopher West’s books, or listens to his talks, cannot help but notice one thing: he is obsessed by puritanism. Indeed, one might believe, listening to him, that it is the one great danger of our time. (...) "But West is exaggerating, if not “crying wolf," she continues. "In the sexual sphere, pornography, not puritanism, is the cancer destroying our society. It is so widespread that it is practically impossible to protect one's children from its venom ...."

    In today's increasingly (Western) libertarian world, West's critics (people who accuse him of promoting pornography) are not believed because no-one (in the West) likes the idea of censorship, and "libertarians" don't believe the dire warnings of the "puritans" that pornography is destroying society. Thus, as she puts it " ... any hint that the intimate sphere should be marked by a caveat, tempts some people to accuse West’s critics of playing Cassandra."

    That's how I read it anyway.

    [Ed: subsequently edited down at Mod's request, hope my train of thought is still evident after the copy I cut out.]
     
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    Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    To me she is saying "....tempts some people to accuse West's critics of acting like accurate prophets of doom [whom nobody believes], and of 'being a dualist'."
    Definition of PROPHETS OF DOOM

    I think the "playing" in "playing Cassandra" is vital, otherwise they wouldn't be able to accuse his critics of anything if those critics were actually accurate prophets of doom. [.i.e. They are insulting West's critics, and it would harldy be an insult to say that the critics were accurate prophets of doom, because they would be destroying their own argument!]
     
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