Shit That Pissed me off – 6/16/17

Conservatives and Liberal Alike Freak Out Because They Have No Idea What Julius Caesar is About

So last week Delta and Bank of America withdrew financial support from the Public Theater because their production of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare drew inspiration from politics of the day.  As the article I linked to states, this interpretation isn’t new.

In fact, the Guthrie did an Obama themed version of the play five years ago.  Outrage generated: zero.

What pisses me off here is the fact all these pissed off people apparently haven’t actually read the play.  Or if they read it, they didn’t understand it.

And I get that.  Shakepearean language can be challenging.

“Villain: I have done thy mother.” Titus Andronicus Act IV, Scene II

So here’s the thing: Julius Caesar is not a play about how awesome it is to assassinate political leaders.  The assassins in the play all end up dead!

The motivations of one of them, Brutus, are noble.  The motivations of the rest are less clear and certainly more selfish.  Caesar himself is complicated – neither wholly good or wholly bad.

To pitch a fit because the subject of the assassination is kind of like Donald Trump is missing the point.

But further, what the hell has happened to our country that our President is off limits completely? We can make jokes about him but heaven forfend we depict him as the subject of an assassination attempt.  We can only do that with fictional Presidents?

If the concern is that we’ll give people ideas, I’m sorry to say that they already have those ideas.

The events of this week already prove that.

Basically, this should be a non issue.  The left shouldn’t care because fuck Trump and his party if they can’t take a joke (which this isn’t even) and the right shouldn’t care because they should fucking read the play.

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Short Story – Hot Tea

Hot TeaIt has been a while since my last short story.  Fortunately, I signed up to do a storytelling show about dragons and I was compelled to write something new!

This entire story grew out of being amused by the idea of a dragon sipping tea.  I don’t know why that image really stuck with me but it resulted in what I wrote here.

I also made the decision to avoid giving the dragon a gender.  It is not the same as creating a truly gender neutral character – something I hope I can do in a future story – but I didn’t feel the gender of the dragon was relevant.

As always, I hope you take a moment to read, comment, share and enjoy!

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 6/9/17

Wisconsin Politician Says it is a Fact that the Earth is 6000 Years Old

Forgetting for a moment that facts are things that are true, Wisconsin State Representative Jesse Kremer stated that a biology professor could not counter a student’s claim that the earth is 6000 years old because that is a fact.

I know that some embarrassing percentage of Americans actually believe there is evidence to support the notion that the Earth is younger than written history.  In this case, “embarrassing” means “more than none.”

Home schooling taught me everything I need to know about science!

Further, I know those people vote.  And I know some of those people run for office.  I even know some of them get elected.  I just have a real problem with the idea their beliefs are so mainstream as to allow them to suffer no ill consequences from saying them out loud.  This guy isn’t going to have any trouble being re-elected.

There is going to be a huge contingency of people saying he’s brave for speaking truth as power.

Except – and I can’t stress this enough – it isn’t truth.  It’s bullshit.

You can believe the formation of the Earth was a long miracle without dismissing all of the evidence that exists.  There is not a single scientific fact that supports it was a short one.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 6/2/17

Men’s Rights Asshats Comparing a Women’s Only Showing of Wonder Woman to Segregation

Meanwhile in Texas, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has announced they will be holding a women only showing of Wonder Woman on opening weekend.  This idea was so popular, they had to add an extra showing almost immediately.

Now, you might wonder why it would be a problem to hold a women’s only showing of the first mainstream super hero film featuring a woman as the protagonist.  Especially when the movie is going to be showing on several thousand screens across the country and there are, currently, two showings that will not allow dudes.

The problem, several guys tell us, is discrimination!  In fact, they say, a man who has publicly announced he is purchasing a ticket to this showing is basically fighting the same fight as Rosa Parks.

For those of you who don’t know who Rosa Parks is, let me assure you that you know only slightly less than these pigs.

So let’s consider a few ways in which this is not segregation.

First, of course, this is a private entity and they can do whatever the fuck they want.  More importantly, though, this is not a “separate but equal” situation where the “separate” showing is notably inferior.  Guys can go to any other showing of Wonder Woman and see the same film. They are not being told that if a woman wants to watch the movie, they will have to give up their seat.  They are not being sent to screening rooms with inferior projectors or seats.

They will get the exact same experience.  Except, I guess, there won’t be hundreds of women in the theater.

Is this guy thinking as the only man in a room full of women, he has some sort of chance?

Another way in which this is not segregation is men are not a marginalized class of citizen.  Men have all the power.  If you wanted to understand what it feels like to be marginalized, you entitled fuck face, you would need to consider a situation in which there were two showings of Wonder Woman that men were permitted to attend.  Further, you would need to assume that women could buy tickets to every other showing but even if those showings did not sell out, men would not be allowed in the theater.  Further, you would need to assume that if a woman wanted your seat in one of the two men’s only showings, she could have it and you wouldn’t get your money back.

That is being marginalized.  You just don’t get to go to two fucking screenings of a movie.

Also, your men’s right’s hero is not anything like Rosa Parks because he’s not a tired black woman who just wanted to be able to sit down after a long day of work.  He’s not running the risk of being put in jail and/or beaten for violating the law.  At most, he’s going to be ejected from the theater and not given a refund.  Unless he gets petulant.  At which point, he could possibly be forcibly ejected.  To compare this privileged buffoon to Rosa Parks is to identify yourself as an unthinking jackass more concerned with your own imagined needs than you are with other people’s very real rights.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 5/26

Playwrights Being Assholes

I’m a playwright.  Some people reading this probably knew that.  Others had no idea because (and this isn’t false modesty), “Jenny Bandage vs. the Unpronounceable A.K.R.O.N.Y.M.” is never going to have the kind of reach enjoyed by “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” or “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

I hope, though, that I have a better understanding of the creative process than the estate of Edward Albee or the still very much alive David Mamet.

The Albee estate put a stop to the casting of a black actor in “Virginia Woolf” for reasons that are, surprisingly, kind of logical.  Mamet threatens to charge theaters $25,000 if they hold a post show discussion within 2 hours of a performance.  And look – it is their work.  It’s possible that they both saw what the film industry has done to the works of Stephen King and they simply want no part of it.

On the other hand, they need to lighten up a little bit.

Where the fuck does Mamet get off telling people they don’t have the right to talk about his work?  Is he going to be there?  Does it matter if someone doesn’t like it or interprets it wrong?  Where is the harm to his work?  By all current reports, Mamet is a right-wing misogynist jackass and people still produce his work.

In a world dominated by left-wing socially conscious tree huggers (guilty).

Theater people love trees. That’s why they build so many sets out of lumber and then throw them away.

As for the estate of Albee – even if there is a really good reason for their objection, the work should be open to interpretation.  It should be open to exploration.  The play will not suffer irreparable harm if a black actor is cast in a role that was written for a white one.

I’m pretty sure Shakespeare wrote for white guys* but Denzel Washington did pretty OK in “Much Ado About Nothing,” didn’t he?  If Shakespeare was going to object in anything about that film, it would probably be Keeanu Reeves, amiright?

As a playwright of considerably less renown, it angers me to read about playwrights (even dead ones) controlling the interpretation of their work.  Theater is a collaborative art in which artists hand off their work to other artists and sit back to watch what happens.

Mamet won’t even allow the pronouns in “Glengary Glen Ross” to be changed so a director could cast a woman in any of the roles.

Lighten up, asshole.  Your work is not at risk if a couple of women are cast in a male role or if the audience would like to talk about your play.

*Othello being a notable exception although I’m betting that character was originally played by a white guy.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 5/19

Note – I was out-of-town last week so I have two weeks of stupid shit piled up.  I probably won’t get to all of it so I apologize if your favorite annoying thing didn’t make the cut.

A Creationist Scientist is Suing the Grand Canyon

Andrew Snelling is a Geologist who is also a creationist.  This in itself makes no sense because in order to be both, you need to basically ignore all the evidence that would make you a credible geologist.  But he’s got a PhD so we have to accept that he knows stuff about Geology even if he doesn’t actually believe any of it.

So he wanted to do some research, including collecting samples, in the Grand Canyon.  Such things are allowed but you have to apply to do so and his application was rejected.

So he’s suing for religious discrimination.  You know, because Christians have it so hard in our country.

Heh.  Geologist.  So hard.  Get it?

Anyway, his claim was rejected because it was presumed he would use the samples to “disprove” existing science about the Grand Canyon and since the Grand Canyon is, you know, a protected landmark, they don’t want people taking rock samples to do bad science.  Sounds like his application didn’t really say what he was going to use the samples for, either.

Which is probably because he knew he couldn’t say “I’m going to use the samples to prove the Grand Canyon is no more than 6000 years old even though recorded human history goes back further than that and I’m a fucking idiot.”

So he basically asked to take samples without really telling anyone why and they said “no – you can’t just take samples because you have a degree in Geology.  You have to have a reason.”

And he’s responding “you hate me because I’m a Christian!  I’m going to sue.”

We don’t hate him because he’s a Christian.  We hate him because he uses his Christianity as an excuse to be a bad scientist.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 5/5

Republicans Pass Their New Health Care Bill

I mean, I’m not panicking yet.  It is possible the more “moderate” Senate will pass a more “moderate” bill and when this whole thing gets to reconciliation, national health care won’t be as fucked as it will should the House bill become actual law.

Sitting in this seat with a pre-existing condition, I’m worried.  I think forcing insurance companies to do away with the pre-existing condition clause was one of the most important parts of the Affordable Care Act.

The legislation looks like it will reduce taxes for wealthy Americans (how fortunate they must feel), increase premiums for people in their 50’s and 60’s, and replace reduced cost health care with tax credits.

Coming soon from Hasbro: the Tax Credits edition of Scabble (TM)

I like tax credits.  I mean sort of.  When you get a tax credit for your health insurance, though, it isn’t the same as paying that much less for your insurance.  It means you end up paying a little bit less in taxes.  But not the same amount.

So in the end, this bill does what a lot of other conservative bills have done – it reduces the tax burden on rich people and replaces is with a greater expense burden on everyone else.

Rich people with diabetes will still be able to afford their insulin.  Middle class people with diabetes will be able to afford their insulin but might have to work an extra job when it is time to send their kids to college.  Poor people with diabetes will complain about how they can’t afford their insulin and then be criticized for owning a television.

I mean seriously, why can’t they just sit in their shitty apartment and spend all their spare time thinking about why it’s their fault they are poor?

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