Shit that Pissed me Off – 5/26
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).
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.
World Seed Stronghold is Flooded Because of Climate Change
Yes, yes, I know. Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by Big Science (TM).
Well this hoax is now threatening the permafrost layer that was supposed to be protecting seeds stored in case of a global hunger crisis. I mean, maybe it is all just natural cycles and this isn’t a big deal or maybe it is all China’s fault.
I think it is more likely that the scientists who (almost all) agree that climate change is caused by humans are right and we maybe ought to stop arguing about shit we know nothing about and start solving the problem.
I mean seriously – how many climate change deniers do you know who have any understanding of climate? I’m not blaming them. Most of us don’t.
Most of us don’t listen to experts on anything, right?
I mean seriously, we don’t listen to experts about anything. If a football expert tells us why our team is going to suck this year, we tell him he’s an idiot and our team is going to win every game! If an economic expert tells us that cutting taxes for the rich has literally never helped the poor, we are going to call him an elite liberal.
So when climate scientists say “no seriously everyone – global climate change is happening super fast and humans are the cause,” we say “fuck that scientist! What does she know that I don’t?”
The answer, of course, is volumes. Probably about a lot of things. But especially about climate.
So as we all play armchair scientist, the evidence mounts that we need to stop arguing and start acting.
Big Game Hunter Crushed to Death by Dying Elephant
This is kind of funny, right? They shot an elephant and the elephant fought back. Score one for nature.
The elephant is still dead, though.
I know what someone is going to say. They will argue that big game hunting actually helps to preserve wildlife because many of these hunters work hard to conserve habitat so they have something to kill. A few elephants die but the end result is a better chance of survival for the entire species.
They will argue that wild animals can threaten human populations and if they encroach on settlements, they will eventually need to be destroyed.
They will argue that big game hunting does a valuable public service.
I will argue these are just a bunch of fuckers who want to kill something for pleasure. Not for food. For pleasure.
If they were hunting people, it would be murder and nobody would tolerate it. But they are hunting elephants and because an elephant can’t look them in the eye and say “don’t shoot,” it must be OK.
Nope. It really isn’t.
Two Teens are Being Banned from their Graduation Ceremonies Because – Let’s Face it – They are Girls
One teen is going to a private Christian school in Maryland and she’s pregnant. The other is going to a public school in North Carolina and she wore a shirt the school principal found objectionable.
Now look – kids can be dumb and they can certainly be insubordinate. If these girls really did something awful, it shouldn’t matter that they are both straight-A students.
The problem, as always, is the double standard. In the case of the Christian school, they are banning a pregnant girl from graduation because, they claim, she engaged in an immoral activity (she had sex with a boy). She points out that there are lots of other kids who screwed up (because they are kids and the standards of morality that these schools try to enforce are dumb) and this is a Christian school that preaches a pro-life agenda.
Her point is if they are against abortion, they should be super supportive of someone like her who screwed up and decides to keep the baby.
For the young woman with the objectionable top, we once again face the issue of gender inequity. She is not supposed to wear a shirt that exposes her collar bone. Probably because every boy in school pops a boner or something. I don’t know.
She wore one. The principal told her to put on a jacket. She sassed back a little bit because she’s a teenager.
Also because the code is stupid but mostly because she’s a teenager.
And now she doesn’t get to walk for her graduation.
The punishment in both of these cases is petty. These kids are done. They are about to get on with their lives and, in all likelihood, make even more mistakes.
And in both cases, the principals of these schools are making their final high school experience a major league “fuck you.”
I’m not even sure what message these kids are learning. But I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the idea that if you are a girl, you are going to spend the rest of your life being judged for what you wear and who you have sex with.
And Hey Speaking of Women Being Judged – How about Gymnast Aly Raisman?
Raisman is a member of the reigning Olympic Gold Medal gymnastics team. She was going through airport security and one of the TSA agents (a woman) recognized her and commented on her biceps. Another agent (a man) said “I don’t see any muscles” and continued to stare at her.
I wasn’t there so I don’t know this dude’s intent but I can’t really think of any scenario that makes it OK.
Scenario 1: He didn’t see any muscles and was commenting instead on how hot she looked. Because that’s super professional and makes women feel good.
Scenario 2: He didn’t see any muscles and decided that if she was going to be a good gymnast, she should work out more and he felt like he was helping her career by saying something.
Scenario 3: He was blind and he didn’t actually see anything and Raisman was being ableist.
Scenario 4: He’s a thoughtless jackass.
I guess scenario 3 would make it OK although one might wonder why Raisman didn’t bring it up.
Dudes don’t have to deal with this kind of shit. Who gets body shamed by strangers in airports? If you are a guy, the answer is probably not you. If you are a woman, the answer could very likely be yes.
Even if you are a world-class athlete in peak physical condition.
I wonder if Reisman would have been banned from her high school graduation if she didn’t have enough muscles?
I’ll be pedantic, but mostly because it’s amazing how little understanding modern people have of how diverse the past often was. There were people of African descent in England during Shakespeare’s time. Not a lot, but indeed whole communities in cities at the time. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-18903391
I’m still fairly certain Shakespeare didn’t write “Othello” with the expectation the role would be filled by a black actor. Instead, the character was played by Richard Burbage. We actually know the name of the first black actor to play Othello.