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September 05, 2004

Comments

Catherine

Thanks Mac! I loved this hypothetical digression. So when are YOU going to write this play?

Michelle

Fantastic entry, Mac. Really great.

Yustin

I truly hope everyone involved in making another soap-box style production reads this. Excellent, thought provoking work, Mac.

Tim Hulsey

Hmm. Kushner turns Laura Bush into a second Harper Pitt. I think "G. David Schine in Hell" is weaker than Only We ..., but not by much. Fifty years from now, if Kushner's neurons are still firing, he'll still be recycling material from Angels. It's like the guy is eating the same cheeseburger over and over, with similarly diminishing returns ...

I find myself wondering why theater folk hate Dubya so. It can't be because of his anti-Gay stance, because they hated him long before he took up that dubious cause. I can't be because Dubya killed arts funding, because the budget for the NEA is up by nearly 50% since he took office. Clinton couldn't have managed that.

Perhaps it's because artists see Dubya as the kind of stupid lout who used to beat them up in high school. Perhaps it has something to do with the smirk, or that weird chimp face he makes. Maybe his being from Texas has something to do with it -- the art world is full of New Yorkers, and I've found the New Yorkers I know incredibly provincial. (The world does not end just outside of Yonkers.)

Or maybe, just maybe, the resentment toward Dubya comes from the fact that artists need each other's support in order to survive -- and if their politics aren't appropriately left-wing, they don't get invited to the parties, the opening nights, the networking groups, the places where they could meet potential producers ....

As several "Anybody But Bush" leftists have informed me, there's no reason for them to associate with someone so obviously "unevolved" as to disagree with their ideas. I know that artists, with their superior powers of human empathy, are supposed to be above this petty prejudice, but they're at least as susceptible to old-fashioned hubris as the rest of us. Thus the art world's politics of left-wing hatred and ressentiment becomes self-reinforcing: Artists don't know any conservatives, because if they did they wouldn't remain artists for very long, and conservatives don't know artists, often because many artists won't deign to speak to us -- or for that matter, about us -- without resorting to contemptuous caricature.

Mac

Tim, I understand the phenomenon you're describing, and this whole conversation got started with Laura decrying something similar. I should say in fairness that I work with a number of artists who dislike the Bush administration for reasons entirely unrelated to the arts or any peer pressures in the arts world, and I even know a few talented artists planning to vote for Bush this fall. So my own little corner of the arts world isn't quite as monolithic as all that.

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