Saturday, June 17, 2017

I blame Twitter

for sometime-in-the-future celebrating the death of Kellyanne Conway:

The Lenox company has received roughly 40 such messages, including one that wished the theater “the worst possible life you could have and hope you all get sick and die.” At Shakespeare Dallas, executive and artistic director Raphael Parry says his company has received about 80 messages, including threats of rape, death, and wishes that the theater’s staff is “sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives.”

Meanwhile, New York Classical Theatre, which performs in Central Park, has received a host of threatening messages, and Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, D.C., has received about a dozen caustic e-mails and numerous tweets accusing the company of inciting violence and linking it to this week’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice.

“We just got slammed,” Parry said. “It’s pretty amazing the vitriol, the wishing we would die and our family would die. A whole lot of them say that we should burn in hell.”

Because, you know, Shakespeare.  I'm guessing all these threats are coming from confirmed Baconians; or maybe DeVereans.  Those people can be quite zealous.  But the play they're concerned about is a production in Central Park.  It's not a play Shakespeare wrote about Donald Trump.

Yeah, yeah, I know, ignorance and all that.*  I'm left wondering why somebody dressed to resemble Trump is portraying Julius Caesar in the first place, except maybe the reference is to current governmental leaders in the country where the play is being performed.  It's not like Shakespeare ever wrote a play advocating anarchy or the death of rulers (his theater company would have been arrested on the spot, and he'd never have been heard from again).

Indeed, if you really wanted to insult Trump, dress an actor to look like him in the role of Iago.  That is Shakespeare's prime villain (Lady Macbeth could take lessons from Iago, who never felt a twinge of conscience about anything).  He identifies himself with the Father of Lies, and every word he utters, except in his soliloquies, the audience knows to be a falsehood.  You can see where I'm going with this.  And how many people would pick up on the reference, the way they are reacting to this play?

Protesters attempted to shut down the Friday night performance of Trump-assassination play, Julius Caesar, in New York's Central Park as one man shouted from the audience that 'the blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands'.

'Right-wing' journalist and activist, Laura Loomer, stormed the stage shouting that the controversial play was 'unacceptable'.

'Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable. You cannot promote this type of violence against Donald Trump!'

'This is violence against the right. This is violence against Donald Trump,' Loomer yelled as many people in the audience started to boo her off the stage.
Enough, by the way, with this idea of "normalization" where something is said publicly you don't like.  Right wing loons are using it, which should be enough reason for the left-wing to be more reasonable (but don't hold your breath).   As I say, a true depiction of Trump in Shakespeare would be through Iago; and it wouldn't inflame the ignorant who want to march on Shakespeare in Dallas, now.

And really, the "blood of Steve Scalise"?  This is where Trump's loose talk about Scalise taking a bullet for us (what about the Capitol Police officers, who took bullets for Scalise and the other people there?) gets us.  If Scalise dies from his wounds (and again, no, I wish him no ill, despite his politics), heaven help us for the martyrdom that becomes.

Shakespeare actually had a lot to say about discord in government.  His famous phrase (very popular when I entered law school; I even had it on a t-shirt, though I knew what Willie meant, and most people didn't):  "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," was not a plea for rough justice, but for anarchy.  Remove the laws, as Robert Bolt had Thomas More say, and what stands between you and the Devil?

Iago is as lawless a character as Shakespeare ever created.  He is in no way to be admired.  His every action is for himself alone.  He manipulates and abuses everyone he knows; only his wife knows him well enough not to fully trust him, and he kills her in cold blood when she finally exposes him.  As I say, if you want to comment on the true character of Trump, making him resemble Julius Caesar, a man assassinated by fanatics who act, not selflessly but selfishly, is not the way to do it.

And maybe, once again, we can start turning down the rhetoric about turning down the rhetoric.  That fight doesn't seem to be winning this fight.

*Yeah, could be this, too:

“What might be gurgling up for them is their ire around having to do Shakespeare in high school,” he quipped. “They’re like, you know what? I never realized I hated my English teacher as much as I did.”


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