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.
Look, I honestly believe that someone charged with a crime should serve their time but then they should have the chance to live their life. People make horrible, awful, stupid, mistakes and sometimes we need to be big and forgive them. Give them a chance to be better people.
We aren’t, generally, interested in such things. We are interested in placing people into the category of “generally a good person” or “they should be dead.”
So anyway, Bruno Fernandes de Souza was a star goaltender in the Most Popular Sport in Every Country But America (TM) and he had his girlfriend murdered and fed to dogs. He was sentenced to 22 years but after only six years, he was released on a technicality.
So what happened next? He got a chance to play Soccer again. Because he’s that good. Or at least he was.
I might even be able to deal with that if he wasn’t an insufferable jackass. He basically categorized what he did as “a mistake.” To be fair, he did say it was “a serious one.”
And here’s the thing – he’s has a skill that is important to a lot of people and that means he will get as many chances so long as he’s still good at it. And that’s the bullshit message of this story.
You can get away with murder. As long as you are a celebrity.
Just a quick note: I was on vacation for two weeks so a few of the things that pissed me off this week are old. I didn’t want to forget about them, though. So you’re welcome, I guess?
Let’s count all the ways this is wrong.
- On the air? Are you fucking kidding me?
- Her dress was not indecent. You could see her shoulders. If that was distracting people from the regional temperatures, those folks have some serious issues that go far beyond what their weather person is wearing.
- Although they were not, apparently, so distracted that they were unable to text and e-mail while she was still on the air.
- They asked her to cover herself while she was on the air!
Guys – assume for a moment you are a weather person and you wear a shirt someone finds objectionable. Or, you decide to do your morning report in a muscle shirt. Do you think you’d get half the e-mails that this young woman did?
The fact people made it their business to whine about her dress should be embarrassing. To them.
It shouldn’t have been embarrassing to her. Except it was because the station made the incomprehensible decision to fix it. On the air!
Point is, women in media are subjected to this kind of scrutiny all the time. They have to think about every style choice they make because the “wrong” choice might just result in an embarrassing situation like this one. Men in media basically need to decide which tie to wear.
People don’t send a lot of e-mails about ties.
Before I go on my traditional mini rant, let me begin by saying the head of Xbox games, who sponsored the party, and the head of Microsoft both came out saying, in effect, “holy shit was that a horrible decision and we feel like complete assholes and while we can’t actually say we are going to fire whoever put this party together, we are totally going to fire whoever put this party together.”
So I don’t want to pile too much abuse on a company that seems to recognize how stupid it was to host a women in gaming panel on the same day they hired some sexy Catholic schoolgirls to encourage gamer nerds to dance.
I will, however, heap abuse on whoever actually decided to hire the sexy Catholic schoolgirls.
Because what in the hell were they thinking? In a time when their industry is under heavy fire for not really giving a shit about women gamers, they decided it’d be a good time to blatantly not give a shit about women gamers.
They could have hired ripped dudes to dress up as Italian plumbers for a little gender balance and it still would have been a dumb PR move but probably wouldn’t have resulted in quite the uproar they are currently experiencing.
I realize the return on investment may have seemed lower given gaming is still very much a male dominated industry but when you are throwing thousands of dollars at a dance party for gamers, you may have already been making poor investment choices.
Maybe if it had been a Dance Dance Revolution party for gamers…
PS: After reading this article, I do think it’s important to address the dancers. They were doing a job for which they were hired. There is nothing wrong with that.
He didn’t just threaten to kill someone. He did it while holding a loaded shotgun.
He admitted he did so to police. He even said he probably should have fired.
At issue is not the question of whether or not people have the right to own guns. The issue is why people feel that casually producing a gun and pointing it at someone in the street is an acceptable act. This guy is a loon but his action is, I think, part of a greater movement that troubles me.
When people openly carry semi-automatic weapons into Target because they feel it is their right, we have a problem. This isn’t about the right to bear arms any longer. It is about the right to not have someone point a gun at you when you are shopping for produce.
I feel that if I like a different kind of Pop Tarts than you, I shouldn’t be concerned that we are going to need to have a showdown in frozen foods to settle the problem.