Okay, so I'm still capable of being shocked, even In These Times. This is the entirety of an Associated Press report I read yesterday:
"1st Amendment support rises:
Americans' support for First Amendment freedoms has returned to levels not seen since before Sept. 11, an annual survey shows. The survey released Monday found that 65 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement "the First Amendement goes too far in the rights it guarantees.""
Support for the First Amendment is RISING?!?!?! Is that supposed to be good news? Support for the First Amendment actually DROPPED at some point!??!? September 11 was that point? I presume 2001 was the year in that date, they don't actually say in the story. So those planes and buildings were destroyed by freedom of expression, then, is that it? 35% of Americans think freedom of speech and religion and assembly GO TOO FAR?!? GO TOO FAR?!?!? Maybe I shouldn't be that affected or surprised but, look, I know there's always a faction that wants to curtail our freedoms but I can't believe they phrase it that nakedly. Wasn't this all hashed out, somewhere around 1790? I'm guessing these are our most hardcore patriots saying this.
But...September 11...First Amendement...THE FUCK?!?!?! GOES TOO FAR?!?!?!?! What's the logic here? Could someone please explain the sequence of thought to me? Terrorists commit mass murder against us, therefore free speech must be limited. That concept apparently makes sense to one out of three Americans. What am I missing here? Here's the best I can come up with:
"The terrorists hate freedom...and maybe they have a point!"
I got badly sunburned Sunday, from marching for Barack in Chicago's Gay Pride Parade. My pale Irish skin is set aflame after two hours of uninterrupted sun. Somebody bring back the ozone layer. It was cool. Barack himself wasn't there, had some emergency State Senatoring to do, so it wasn't as fun as last year. But it was nice to note that last year the big question was "Who is Obama?" and now the big question is "Where is Obama?" The parade itself is lots of fun of course, but for a straight man, it's also a bit like Vietnam (because everything is a bit like Vietnam, or to be current, Iraq) Just as you couldn't tell the innocent peasants from the guerilla soldiers, you sometimes can't tell the difference between the hot chicks and the drag queens. I'm not saying it's not usually obvious, but some of those guys are GOOD. Both gay man and hopefully straight woman alike asked me to place Obama stickers on various naughty parts of their bodies and I did my duty. "Your ass has been slapped by Barack Obama, remember that in November, but don't phrase it like that to the media."
Later that night I saw much of my old Improvolympic class perform. The management of IO put them together as a performance team, I was sadly among those passed over. But they're doing brilliantly without me.
Have you ever wondered if there's just one Goodyear blimp or like a fleet of them? Turns out there's three. But only one in the midwest. And that one flew what I swear was only a few hundred feet above my apartment Saturday morning.
I had a dream last night where I met a beautiful woman who told me to search for her at her house. She just gave me an address and the next day I went on a quest of some sort through a sprawling suburban neighborhood with some companions I don't remember. We eventually found the house and the girl but I don't think we wound up together in the end. So not a lot of difference from real life then.
So Jack Ryan, the enemy of Barack Obama and hence, All That Is Good, is having some troubles. He used to be married to an actress named Jerri Ryan, who played the cheesecake Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager (proving once again that the Borg-Republican Party connections run deep) and they had a nasty divorce a few years ago. The records were just made public and supposedly there was some damaging stuff there, and rumors have been swirling for months. I haven't paid much attention to it, knowing Barack will win on his own merits, and I always assumed it was something fairly run of the mill, bit of conventional adultery perhaps, nothing that would destroy Ryan. But my goodness!
As I was in bed last night I listened to a local news broadcast that informed me old Seven of Nine accused Ryan of forcing her to come with him to "Sex Clubs". SEX CLUBS! Tee hee, I say! Most radical right religious conservatives are pretty hypocritical when it comes to Republican pols, but SEX CLUBS! The descriptions were lurid and hilarious. People are kept in cages at these clubs. The corn fed aw shucks Boy Scout who the Republicans picked as their nominee for the U.S. Senate gets off on people in cages! Poor Jack! How humiliating! How simply frightful! How...delightful...
Once again some fool learns the perils of fucking with my peeps.
Things are hopping in the theatrical world. Theoretically this website was supposed to be about my theater career and also largely theoretical production company. My short play festival last weekend was awesome, a dizzying, fun experience to go in at 8am and be performing 12 hours later. It was like a microcosm of what doing a play is normally like, you immediately become friends with your castmates, you do a zillion rehearsals compressed into a couple of hours and then you're in the field. I discovered that I'd been cast as the lead of my play, which was cool, although it was a "hapless protagonist" part, it would have been much more fun to play the antagonist, who was explicitly based on John Cleese. The festival was a competition, the top three scripts were to get full productions, and mine was among the top three. Two L3K veterans were among the other casts, as my people slowly begin to dominate all of Chicago, and soon the world.
Even better was the staged reading of a play written by another L3K actress, Reina Hardy, at the same theatre two days later. I had always known Reina was a smart, witty, talented girl but was not prepared for the utter genius of the script, its dialogue, characters and imagination was enough to make me suicidal. I rarely feel I am equaled by my peers, Marc is certainly an equal, and I've seen some other really good plays, but this is only the second time in as many years that someone a couple of years younger than me has written something better than anything I've ever done, and I want to kill her and myself. I've seriously got to work on my new script now and make it good so that I don't feel like a complete and utter failure.
Ronald Reagan is still dead. All hopes for a miraculous ressurection from the dead ala Jesus have been dashed.
You know what's weird? A movie about Garfield starring the voice of Bill Murray. In 1987 I would have considered that one of the most exciting events of my life and now it's just kind of like, what? From what I gather, Garfield's CGI while Odie and other animal characters are real. This is strange. And the plot involves Jon buying Odie as a puppy. Terrible revisionist history designed to whitewash the fact that Odie originally belonged to Jon's "friend" Lyman, who disappeared from the strip early on under some very mysterious circumstances. It's very parallel to the Reagan memorilizing going on.
So I got cast in a short play last night. It's this Sunday night. The idea is the actors walk in at 8am, get the script and go onstage at 8pm. Exciting. It's supposed to be modeled on the Twilight Zone. I like the Twilight Zone, as my life frequently seems to largely strange events followed by cuttingly ironic morals.
We always knew this day would come. Ronnie has left the building, and the media has unleashed the all too predictable avalanche of whitewashing of one of the worst leaders in American history, albeit one of the most unbelievably charismatic and personally likable, that borders on deification. I truly believe it is an ambition of many to make him a god. How would that square with the diehard evangelical Christianity he and most of his most dedicated followers espoused? Simple, he will be made part of the Trinity. Let's face it, folks, the Holy Spirit has not been pulling its appropriate amount of weight over the centuries. In a thousand years it's going to be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Cowboy.
Like me, he was an actor and a writer, and I think he accomplished some really amazing things in those disciplines. He made millions of people truly believe in the worlds he created. And that shows an artistic mastery I could spend the rest of my life aspiring to. And if you think I'm being sarcastic, well I'm not. It's a sincere compliment.
He's been gone from the public eye so many years, it's odd that he's really gone only now. It's like the death of a ghost. He was the President of my childhood. He was reviled by most of the adults I grew up with, working class Chicagoans, (in 1984, when I was six years old, Walter Mondale carried only his home state, with 13 electoral votes, when I heard on the news that Mondale had only won 13 votes, I thought "Wow, I know most of the people who voted for him") but I always had a lot of affection for him.
Not for his war against non-rich people, his race baiting and religious fanaticism, his horrific expansion of the military industrial complex, his support for genocide in Central America, his willful disdain of AIDS victims, his tacit support for Middle Eastern terrorists and tyrants, or...well you know, all that stuff.
I liked him for his warmth and his humor and the fact that he genuinely seemed to believe that the preceeding insanities were the right thing to do. He was a great grandfather figure. And...well, I'm very sorry that he suffered so much in his final years. I hope he's found peace. And wisdom.
I was going to post today about various lighthearted things today but I've been in a bleak mood since I read this It's a contest to find the most vicious, horrible things posted on some right wing website, and indeed most of the offerings are pretty horrible but the most beyond belief one was the one about Rachel Corrie. I really, honestly don't take a side in the whole Arab/Palestinian thing. Mercutio said it best, a pox on both their houses. Or maybe it was the Mad Hatter, "We're all mad here." God's chosen holy land is nothing but a realm for the criminally insane. Those are among the words that come to mind about a person who will strap explosives to his chest and walk into a cafe or board a schoolbus. But the manner the Israeli government chooses to respond to such atrocites is no less absurd and nihilistic. What they do is, they determine what village the perpetrator of the crime came from, and they send the army in with bulldozers to destroy said village. Rachel Corrie famously stood in front of these bulldozers and she was killed. She immediately became a martyr to the Left, particularly the far Left, and a figure of venemous backlash from the hardcore Zionist Right. The Israeli government maintained it was an accident of course, they didn't see her, they simultaneoulsy maintained that they made every effort to get her out of the bulldozer's path. Both couldn't be true and I suspect neither was.
Here's the thing, Corrie's story was pretty affective to me because she was two years younger than me. She could easily have been someone I knew, but I'm not saying I necessarily agreed with her politics. I think she was a little naive, and a little too Marxist for my taste. And I don't think what she did was a good thing. I'm of the unromantic school of thought that throwing your life away for a political cause is more stupid than noble. Some of my more idealistic friends and I have gotten into spirited debates on the topic. Really, honestly nine times out of ten, it's better to be a live coward than a dead hero. That's the biggest reason why Rachel Corrie and I are in fact, very different. I couldn't and wouldn't do what she did, and I don't agree with it. But I REALLY disagree with what the soldier in the bulldozer did. Of course, he is a free man today.
I usually shrug off the zillions of injustices in the world but today I read on that website that some guy actually organized a movement to buy pizzas for Israeli soldiers on the anniversary of her death. Pizzas. Get it?
I'm ashamed of my skin because it's made out of the same types of cells as that guy's.
I asked my friend Jacob at work what he thought of that. He said he heard of a theory that suggests a Darwinian reason for violence, but not the usual the strongest will survive theory, but one that suggests we fight and kill each other so that our ideas will prevail. Related to meme theory, you know, ideas are viruses? If we wipe out those who believe differently than ourselves, our beliefs will prevail in the ensuing generations. It's a wonder than, that the ideas of peace and tolerance exist at all. They're not terribly competitive, in an evolutionary scheme are they? Or maybe it's us cowards who get to pass them on.