Tuesday, June 06, 2017


The current Shakespeare in the Park production is Julius Caesar and, the play being very adaptable to contemporary politics in every age, Caesar in this case is reportedly very like Donald Trump. Conservatives are enraged because — plot twist! — Caesar gets stabbed.

But Roy, you may be asking, how did they even find out? Conservatives, even the culture-cop type, are more likely to wallow to superhero movies than sit still for stuffy old plays. Heck, their appetite for dumbbell entertainment is so great they’re even forcing themselves to go see the feminist-friendly Wonder Woman movie (though their reviews are full of defensive arguments — e.g., that the movie is really about Jesus, or that it’s feminist but not too feminist ‘cause if it were really feminist Rich Lowry couldn’t have enjoyed it).

It's a set-up. In most of the angry Julius Caesar stories, one Laura Shaeffer is cited as the complaining witness — for example, Breitbart.com:
“To be honest I thought it was shocking and distasteful,” Shaeffer told Mediaite. “If this had happened to any other president — even as recently as Barack Obama or George W. Bush — it would not have flown. People would have been horrified.”
Wondering who Laura Shaeffer is and why you should care? Mediate reports she’s “a sales manager at Salem Media” -- which specializes in targeting audiences interested in "family-themed content and conservative values.” They also own several rightwing sites. That’s right — no prominent wingnut could be inveigled to spend a few hours at the Delacorte, even in pursuit of boob-bait, so they got one of the kids in the sales department to go. Wonder if they gave her a fidget spinner to occupy her during the long talky parts?

Anyway, now the brethren are outraged that the arty-farties are being mean to their Maximum Leader:

“Trump as Caesar Gets Brutally Murdered Onstage — Apparently murdering the president is all the rage among liberals,” screams Truth Revolt. (Yes, they actually put those words in red.) “The center left is gradually convincing themselves that violence is acceptable,” claims Blazing Cat Fur.

“Insane ‘progressives’ are trying to provoke some brainwashed idiot follower into attempting what they themselves are regularly fantasizing about,” yammers The National Sentinel. “…When it happens, they will have blood on their hands and will have earned our enduring ire. And vengeance.” Wow, they’ve already planned out their retaliatory killing spree for the assassination plot they fantasized! That’s insane -- but, you must admit, efficient.

“Move over Kathy Griffin, these actors stabbed President Trump in their rendition of ‘Julius Caesar,’” cries Rare; “First, it was Kathy Griffin's brutal depiction of herself holding a bloody severed head of President Donald Trump; now New York's Shakespeare in the Park” etc., bandwagons Newsmax. “Week After Kathy Griffin ‘Beheads’ Trump, He Is ‘Stabbed To Death’ In NY Play,” scrawls SarahPalin.com. I wonder if their followers even remember who Kathy Griffin is? It's been a whole week.

Some of the brethren attempted to engage the play itself, which was a terrible mistake. Onan Coca of Constitution.com:
Are the people who put on Shakespeare in the Park arguing that if someone were to murder the President they should be hailed for defending the United States, as Marc Antony hailed Brutus for defending Rome?
“Brutus is an honorable man” was our Intro to Irony when I was in middle school, yet Coca seems to have missed it. Maybe she was homeschooled.

Naturally there’s a lot of whataboutism, e.g. Eagle Rising: “If someone had done this with Barack Obama, the Left would have wanted to jail everyone involved.” Well, they have done it, see, but in their own argot -- our art forms are literature, drama, opera, etc. whereas wingnuts' are tractor pulls, roadside stands, and Ted Nugent.

Also, though I haven’t seen this production, I’m gonna take a leap of faith and say that the point Oskar Eustis et alia were trying to make was not “Kill Trump.” But trying to talk actual culture to culture warriors is like trying to teach a dog algebra. Speaking of which, Teressa Monroe-Hamilton at Right Wing News:
I fail to see parallels between the Roman dictator and Trump. Wasn’t it Barack Obama who had the Greek/Roman pillars behind him as he ascended to the Presidency? I think they have their presidents confused.
I can imagine Monroe-Hamilton saying, “How can Nurse Ratched be the villain of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? She’s dressed as a nurse!”

(I hope they have plans for a boycott -- it'll make it easier for my friends back home to get good seats.)

UPDATE. Sorry, the links weren't working earlier -- have just fixed them.

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