Thursday, April 26, 2007

Daisey's doozy

I'm writing a Back Stage editorial for next week's issue on the Mike Daisey debacle, so I want to be a little circumspect -- for the moment -- about how I feel. However (all right, all right, I'm giving a little bit away), bearing in mind that the group that left Daisey's show was apparently not officially affiliated with a religious group, and bearing in mind that the anti-American bozo sleazeball that poured water on Daisey's script was a chaperone, not a student:

If the religious right wants to engage in activities that leads our nation down the slippery slope to book burning and Fascism, let the word go forth to these uncivil foes that such actions will and must be met with actions of equal destruction and desecration at (as George W. Bush would put it, I'm sure) a time and place of our choosing.

If the religious right wants a civil war in the United States on the subject of free speech or over the imperialistic dreams of their pious religiosity, their actions will and must be met with equal fervor and equally unstinting fury, with all words we use and all legal actions we take chosen and taken (as George W. Bush would put it, I'm sure) at times and places of our choosing.

If the religious right believes, as we know it does, that AIDS activists interrupting Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral (once upon a time) are doing something terrible; if they want to pimp their hate-filled souls on Fox News and invent, every Christmastime, imaginary wars against those of the Christian faith; if they want to piss on art (and drown it in water) in the holy name of Christ, let the word go forth to these foes of freedom, these unrepentent maggots wrapping themselves gleefully in the mantle of hate, that the real forces of freedom will and must have the capacity to meet them head on and will defeat them. More and more I feel it is not so much a matter of our nation being in the "long war" against terrorism but a matter of it being in a long war against itself.

And don't even get me started on the explosive device they found in Texas right near an abortion clinic today.

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Jen Ryan's Brain said...

compare this to the Yale school of Drama eliminating weapons in a production so as not to "offend the sensitivities" of people still freaking out and fearing a spree killer will pounce into the theatre during the 3rd act of Hamlet or Raisin in the Sun ....
You have every right to walk out of a performance, but you only attract attention to yourself when you heckle a performer.
thanks for the blog plug btw!!!!

Nick said...

Really nice rant, Leonard.

But seeing how the religious right had absolutely nothing to do with the Mike Daisey incident, I keenly await an editorial all about the Mike Daisey incident.

Leonard Jacobs said...

I was just waiting for someone to say something about the fact that the "religious right had absolutely nothing to do with the Mike Daisey incident," but in fact I disagree. No, they weren't wearing tags saying "I represent the religious right," but they're sensibilities, their morality, and most important, the idea that any single one of them, student or adult, believes they have the right to desecrate someone else art, someone else's First Amendment protections, are all hallmarks of their belief systems and their tactics. Or, to put it rather differently, libertarians they are not.

Scott Walters said...

You are making sweeping accusations that are not based on fact. A member of the group said that there were Christians in the group, not that it was a Christian group. I do not condone the water pouring -- in fact, neither did anyone else connected with the group, from what I've read. But people have the right to leave a show, even if there are a lot of them, and if the theatre is designed in such a way that such exits are not easily managed unobtrusively. Declaring a holy war on this or any other incident is irresponsible, intolerant, and deeply offensive. And it will not help the arts in the least.

Leonard Jacobs said...

Dear Scott,

Your apology is lame. My issue has nothing to do with the "right" of people to leave a show. It has to do with the perceived right of certain people to tamper with someone art -- to tamper, in effect, with someone else's free speech. I wrote an editorial for Back Stage on this and would be happy to send it to you. The issue is not whether the group is Christian -- that's a designation anyone can confer upon themselves and I frankly don't know what it means. Perhaps, since you're so eager to defend Christian values, you can define it as the right has inculcated it in your head. For me, the issue is how these so-called "Christian" values -- specifically, the supposition that someone's morals can be superior to someone else's -- have been hijacked by the religious right so that people not only believe what it stands for, but further believe that it is right, good, fair, plausible, acceptable and moral to take physically hurtful, invasive actions in order to convey their fuming disapproval. In the editorial I wrote, I liken it to book burning -- because that's exactly what it is. There is a sickness out there and what happened to Mike Daisey is a symptom of it. And unlike you, I have no intention of playing the ostrich or sitting around not addressing the larger issues in order to make myself somehow swallow what is, in the end, not morally acceptable but, in fact, morally indefensible. Freedom will triumph over apologists like you.

Scott Walters said...

Man, as before, you are making sweeping assumptions based on no evidence. How in the world do you "know" that the right has inculcated anything in my head? Please present your evidence. Is not possessing virulent anti-Christian sentiments enough? And how can you attack Christianity's belief that somebody's morals are better than somebody else while at the same time saying that your morals are better than Christians'? Isn't it the same thing?

Of course not, because You are Right and those who disagree with You are Wrong. You are the Intellectual Inquisitor.

And I'm not certain what apology you are referring to. I don't remember apologizing for anything. Although I did muse about the balance between tolerance and strong feelings, if that is what you mean. You don't seem to have been able to find that balance yet.

Leonard Jacobs said...

I am right because I'm right, you are correct. And unless you singularly represent the inculcations of the Right, I do not believe I was referring specifically to you, whoever you are or purport to be. Go pick on someone squatting at your own intellectual level. Bye.