I’ve said it before: I really don’t want to wax politic here, I really don’t. This blog is about writing. It’s about my love of writing, the things I’ve learned that I want to pass on. It’s a part of my lifelong career. I don’t want to wax politic because a) that’s not what this blog is about, b) I don’t want to bore you/chase you away, and c) I try to avoid said waxing as much as possible these days for health reasons.
So I’m just going to say this about Shakespeare in the Park’s recent interpretation of Julius Caesar: to be honest, when Shakespeare is reworked and set in a more current context, quite often it’s bloody fantastic. We saw a recent version of Hamlet that took place during an extremely paranoid Cold War that worked perfectly. West Side Story (aka Romeo and Juliet, of course) is one of the best musicals ever made. The Globe Theatre’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream set in present time that we saw last year was absolutely hilarious. So a version of Julius Caesar in which JC is a very clear interpretation of Donald Trump? Totally makes sense to me. [And yes, it is true that the same troupe did a version some time ago using Obama, to little or no controversy.]
The issue here is not using a sitting President (a term I presently use with a bitter taste in my mouth, natch) in a play in which a major plot point is that he snuffs it. I mean, come on — remember Primary Colors (the book and the movie), which was supposed to make Bill Clinton look like a moron? LOLs for days from the right wing, as I recall. I saw the movie myself — it was pretty bad quality, but its ham-fisted attempts at cleverness didn’t give me the vapors.
The issue here, at least for me, is the willingness to be so incurious, so impassive, so willing to blindly idolize a person to the point that logic flies out the window. Or as Darrin Bell’s comic strip Candorville put it so wonderfully yesterday, “I’m starting to think you’ll say anything just to win an argument.” The vocal backlash was boggling. Blessedly short, but boggling.
On the plus side, it’s ridiculous situations like this that empower me even more to keep on writing. I don’t need to fight against pointless agruments like this. These voices may be loud and have a network megaphone, but they’re also a shrinking base. The longer this play goes on, the less comedic it becomes. There’s the unfortunate byproduct of all this, in which certain people will find this claptrap as God’s Truth and hurt someone, and I do sometimes fear that will escalate if this keeps up.
BUT — I refuse to lay down my quill because of it. More to the point, I want to pick it up more often. To keep sanity alive and kicking.