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.
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.
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.
I’m sorry I took the last two weeks off. Life intrudes sometimes.
We all know that we are entering week three of the Trump Presidency. I am trying to figure out how to write my blog so it isn’t just a weekly rant on all the horrible things Trump says and does. But I’m two weeks behind and he has been busy.
There is a lot of other stuff going on that pisses me off. It’s just that Trump is so fucking noisy.
Look, we all know that I don’t like our current President very much. I think I have very good reasons for believing he will go down as the worst person ever to run our country.
But I’m feeling like I need to stick with stuff he’s actually done. And therein lies the problem.
Earlier this week, Trump had a phone call with the Mexican president. Shortly after the call, news organizations reported that Trump had threatened to send American troops across the border to deal with some “bad hombres.”
A few hours later, it was reported that such a threat never happened.
Days later, however, a bunch of my liberal friends are still talking about Trump invading Mexico.
In a world where Trump is openly hostile to any news organization that doesn’t kiss his ass, the press actually has a responsibility to make sure what they report is accurate. Trump is doing all sorts of shady shit. Hell, this week he said this during remarks about Black History Month
Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. It turned out that that was fake news. Fake news. The statue is cherished, it’s one of the favorite things in the—and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. But they said the statue, the bust of Martin Luther King, was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.
If you read the transcript of the speech, it was almost entirely about him. This isn’t made up. It’s something he actually said.
And what was he talking about? The way the press keeps reporting shit that didn’t happen. In this case, of course, it was a mistake the reporter in question corrected almost immediately.
The press has to do better. In the rush to break stories these days, they don’t take the time to verify what they are reporting. And that allows Trump and his minions to do all sorts of horrible stuff because they can point to the small number of erroneous reports as a reason why nobody should believe anything the press says.
And to all my liberal friends out there: please let’s all make sure we know what the fuck we are talking about.
Note: I didn’t write about the work the Senate made to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week because, while it really does piss me off, it is also an extremely complex maneuver and I’m not sure any of us completely understand what is going on. Least of all the Senators who voted for it.
Let me just say before I proceed, however, that anyone who can, with good conscience, vote to re-establish a pre-existing condition clause, is a complete waste of a human being. It may well be true that they won’t end up re-establishing that clause. A vote still exists in which Senators are going on record supporting just that.
At least this is the claim made by anti vax proponent Robert Kennedy. We’ll see if it really happens.
Look, I know vaccinations are controversial. And I try to be sympathetic.
Then I remember I have two vaccinated children on the autism spectrum and that every single study about vaccines has concluded vaccines do not cause autism or any of the other things anti-vaxxers claim they cause. And I read quotes like this, which could be referring to my family:
I employed the term [holocaust] during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families
And I stop being sympathetic because this fucker is talking about my kids. My kids who have full lives and are wonderful human beings and whose existence has shattered my family not one single bit. Autism is a hurdle my kids have to jump over. Most of us have hurdles they need to get over. To suggest their hurdle has shattered my family is the sort of thing someone who doesn’t even have the basic understanding of the autism spectrum would suggest because they are an ignorant jackass.
Yeah – this kind of thing gets me pretty worked up.
It is bothersome enough that our President-Elect (fuuuuuuuuck) denies climate change. That he also seems to jump into bed with anti vaxxers suggests that the American People elected someone pretty much willing to believe any crazy conspiracy theory pops up so long as it doesn’t involve him.
You have to give him credit for being equal opportunity when it comes to denial of scientific data. Climate Change denial comes from the right and anti vaxxers typically come from the left. Donald, however, has a big tent and there is room for everyone who thinks scientists reach conclusions just to fuck with the rest of us.
President-Elect Trump (fuuuuuuuuck) tweeted this week that flag burners should go to jail for a year or lose their citizenship. Nothing about how burning the flag is a constitutionally protected right and he just doesn’t like it. No – he thinks people should lose their citizenship if they burn the flag.
While Trump fills his cabinet with individuals who will repeal or cripple the Affordable Care Act (which is sure as fuck going to affect me and my family), we talk about flag burning.
OK, so let’s talk about it. And let’s ditch the “flag burning is a reprehensible act but it is protected” part of the conversation. It’s as if we all need to hold up our hands and protest that we don’t like something because so many people are bothered by it.
And that is what pisses me off. Who gives an actual fuck? Has anyone ever been harmed by the burning of a flag? I mean besides the person burning the flag who might have, you know, gotten a burn because they were holding a burning piece of cloth?
Why have we, as Americans, decided that burning the flag is a despicable act? It’s a flag! A piece of cloth. It is not our country.
That the flag has become a sacred relic is embarrassing. So let me step up and say I don’t have an issue with anyone burning a flag. I’m reasonably certain that a country with enough nuclear capability to turn every other continent into a pile of atomic slag is strong enough to handle a few flags on fire.
I’m sick of the feeling that before we say something (flag burning, abortion, Hillary Clinton) is OK, we have to acknowledge how awful it is.
There is nothing awful about burning a flag. Our freedoms are not irreparably damaged when a flag is set on fire. In fact, our freedoms are enhanced. Burning a flag is an act of defiance but it is also an act of celebration.
It celebrates our right as citizens to openly criticize our government. Have we forgotten how many places on Earth that is not allowed? Is that really what we want here?
If it isn’t, then nobody should say “flag burning is a horrible act.” We should, instead, say “flag burning is a celebration of our constitution.”
And the thing is – this is all a distraction. Flags don’t get burned a lot. In fact, they hardly ever get burned at all. The fact we are talking about something that almost never happens is a ridiculous waste of time.
Our response should be “huh. Someone burned a flag. I wouldn’t even know about this if it weren’t for the 24 hour news cycle.”
Now who the fuck is in Trump’s cabinet again?
Last Friday, tape emerged in which Donald Trump said derogatory things about women and the Republican party lost it’s collective shit. Some of them think this is just the Democrats engaging in character assassination. Others, like Scott Baio, defended him by saying it wasn’t that bad and telling ladies that guys talk like this “all the time.”
OK, Scott. Two things.
One: No they don’t.
Two: It wouldn’t make it any better if they did.
Locker room talk – as Trump characterizes his comments – is a bullshit excuse. Not only is it something you don’t find in a lot of locker rooms (as Chris Kluwe so eloquently points out), I just don’t think Trump has been in enough locker rooms to know. It shouldn’t matter anyway because bragging about being able to sexually assault women shouldn’t happen anywhere.
But what truly upsets me is the shock some members of his party have expressed since the tape was released. Donald Trump has always struck me as a sleaze. It didn’t take a presidential campaign to convince me. Learning he said (and allegedly did) the sorts of things that a sleaze says (and does) only reinforced my opinion. I wasn’t surprised.
But I was disheartened that so many seemed shocked to learn that Donald Trump was precisely the person he has always presented himself to be.
In retaliation, some supporters (and Trump himself) have pointed out that Bill Clinton is also a sleaze. And that may be true. It is also irrelevant.
Let’s think of it this way – Melania Trump was a nude model (and there is nothing wrong with that). Would it be fair to judge her husband for choices she made? I would assume most conservatives would say “no” and yet they have no issue judging Hillary Clinton for the actions of her husband.
Yes, Hillary has stood by her husband. It could be because she loves him. It could be for the sake of their daughter. It could be for political reasons. I don’t know. I do know that women stick by their cheating husbands all the time. Melania Trump does it and nobody seems to view that as an issue.
Finding out that Donald Trump treats women badly is as surprising as finding out that Superman can fly. We’ve all seen Superman fly. He does it all the time. We’ve all seen Donald Trump treat women like objects. He does it all the time.
Does Trump’s behavior make him unfit to serve as President? You bet it does. But his behavior isn’t new. We aren’t suddenly discovering the body of Jimmy Hoffa in Trump tower.
He was never fit to serve as President. He was always that guy.
I’m not going to pretend I don’t have issues with any religion (or interpretation of religion) that tells women they must keep their bodies covered. It is an act of body shaming and subtle oppression meant to make women feel ashamed of their own identity.
However, women also get to make their own choices regarding what they want to wear. And if they want to wear a head scarf at the beach, that ought to be completely fine. It’s their fucking head and their fucking scarf. You shouldn’t be handing out tickets (she was given a fucking ticket) based on the fact they have put on too much clothing.
That this is being done in the name of secularism (her ticket was for failing to wear “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”) is equally disgusting. There is nothing about secularism that suggests anyone should be judged for what they choose to wear.
French courts seem to agree so far as they have struck down the ban on burkinis in the last few days.
You can understand the concern about terrorism in France given recent horrific attacks. It makes a lot more sense than the concern in other countries like, say, the United States.
However, swimwear is not a sign of terroristic intent. It is a sign of someone who believes that they have a right to cover their bodies because it is their fucking body.
It is ironic that France has many topless (and even nude) beaches implying that you can’t wear too little at the beach, you can only wear too much.