Cowards die many times before their deaths. Weak!

Oh, sure, maybe there's just a little bit of a crisis in governance just now, what with the possibility the president obstructed justice in the Russia investigation (and might be planning to fire the special counsel), the Republican Senate plotting -- in secret -- to strip tens of millions of people of health insurance, and while we're at it, a couple of land wars in Asia that we barely talk about except when something really cool goes BOOM. Obviously, now is an ideal time for the political right to get its feathers seriously ruffled over a New York production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in modern dress, in which the title character looks more than a little like Donald Trump and -- spoiler warning! -- is bloodily stabbed to death. Fox & Friends went into low dudgeon over the play Sunday, and shortly afterward, Delta Airlines pulled its funding for NYC's Public Theater, which has been doing "Shakespeare in the Park" for decades. Bank of America very bravely announced it was only ending its funding of the production of Julius Caesar, but would continue funding the Public Theater.

Here's a fun detail: the Fox News story on the play originally described it only as a "New York City play," without mentioning that the play in question was by some guy named "Shakespeare," who presumably even Fox viewers have heard of. The article was updated after Delta pulled its funding. The Fox & Friends video also included a chyron reading "TAX-FUNDED PLAY 'ASSASSINATES' PRESIDENT," which prompted enough complaints to the National Endowment for the Arts that the NEA website now includes a statement on its homepage explaining that no NEA funds are going to the Public Theater's production of Julius Caesar. The Public Theater is funded by the City of New York, which is probably all the more reason for the Trump administration to eliminate Homeland Security funding for the city.

So, obviously, this is a play advocating the assassination of Donald Trump, even though that name is never spoken, because if Julius Caesar looks like Trump and is assassinated, then obviously the Public Theater loves the idea of killing Trump. Never mind that the play is mostly about what happens after Caesar is assassinated -- it's not called a tragedy for nothing, you know, and once the conspirators have killed the tyrant in Act Three, Scene One -- the middle of the play, not its climax, as too many articles keep saying -- the rest of the play is about the consequences, the conspirators' doubts and recriminations and infighting, the foolishness of public opinion, and so on. Oh, yeah, and the coming collapse of democracy. It's Shakespeare, which means it ISN'T EASY. If the sole meaning of Julius Caesar were "hooray for assassinating Caesar!" nobody would still be studying it in graduate school, said Wonkette's elitist PhD in Rhetoric (University of Arizona, 2000).

Shakespeare is pretty adaptable, without any modern-day trappings. The New York Times -- which, hooray for them, continues to fund the Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park -- points out that the Public's artistic director, Oskar Eustis, is hardly the only one to find Julius Caesar suddenly very relevant after November 8, 2016:

All over the country, from Oklahoma to Oregon, theaters have been staging “Julius Caesar” this year as a way to chew over politics, power, democracy and authoritarianism at a moment when a populist leader with a fondness for executive power has moved into the White House.

Of course, this production is in New York City, at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in Central Park (where "wilding" black teens may rape you if you ever go there) and much more prominently underlines the Trumpian qualities of the title character. But every word of it is still Shakespeare -- the same text that also inspired a 2012 modern dress production in which Caesar was played by a handsome black guy and opposed by a Cassius and a Casca who looked remarkably like Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell. It's a play about politics, the temptations of power, and the consequences of taking bloody action. Of course it's going to be performed with hints and nudges to relate Shakespeare's text to any number of contemporary political figures. But that takes several sentences to explain, and is far more elitist than just screaming "NYC PLAY ADVOCATES KILLING TRUMP!!" In other words, it's an elitist excuse from a murderous liberal making excuses.

The Public Theater's webpage for the free production in Central Park now carries this announcement, which takes up most of the space:

At the opening of the play this week, Eustis also offered this defense of the play and of the value of free speeching, which he encouraged the audience to record and share:

Dialogue? Democracy? Complexity? Those are for eggheads. Let's go with demagoguery instead -- it's not like the text of Julius Caesar has any warnings about that.

[NYT / Variety / NYT / Fox News / Image via Public Theater]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Guys, it's been one more shit day in a shit week in the fifth shit month of another shit Trump year. Which is why I need to remind you that it's not ALL shit out there! Oh, sure, it's MOSTLY shit, but you know what isn't shit? YR WONKETTE, and the strange community of strange internet people who have made getting through all this shit a bit more tolerable, that's who and what. Which is why you should give us money, so we can keep whanging away at the walls of shit with our shovels and laughing at the shit getting all over, because one of these days we will get it all cleaned up or at least not be up to our waists in shit, and we can all laugh about what a crazy fight it was, as St. Molly Ivins always kept reminding us.

In case you're new here, let me just remind you that Wonkette literally got me, Yr Dok Zoom, out of what wasn't quite poverty, but was pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck desperation. I started reading the site shortly before Barack Obama was elected, began commenting sometime in his first term, and submitted a story tip to Rebecca a few months after she bought the site for 47 dollars and a sandwich (I now understand it was a bit more than that). It was Memorial Day 2012, and she wrote back she was busy with some "stupid thing I have to do for some muneez," but would I like to try writing a blog post myself? "I understand if you say FUCK NO. But maybe you are thinking FUCK YES?" And then she warned me she paid only in Ameros. I did, the post was forgettable but OK, and then I wrote a thing (borrowed from now long-lost comments) that went semi-viral, and suddenly I was that hottest thing in publishing, a freelancer!

In less than a year, Rebecca asked you all to buy me to be your very own pet blogger, and my life suddenly became incredibly good, like as good as an Abba song. It's as good as "Dancing Queen." Thanks to the timing of the whole thing (and to Barry Obama and Nancy Pelosi), I actually had health insurance for the first time in years, a not inconsiderable thing. And you had an Editrix who was not working 12 hour days six and a half days a week and drinking too much from stress. Your continued donations helped hire Evan full time and Robyn and Bianca part time and a whole raft of freelancers, and now Rebecca is down to eight-hour days, five and a half days a week, and drinking because there's a madman in the White House and everything's terrible.

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There is a very normal article circulating on the internet right now by a fella named Don Boys (that's not the joke, the jokes are coming), who is both an insane batshit preacher, and also an insane batshit former member of the Indiana House of Representatives. (Also sometimes he blogs at the Daily Caller about how Mike Pence really went balls deep into the gay agenda when he swore in that insane batshit gay guy Rick Grenell as America's ambassador to Germany.)

This article, of course, is about Pete Buttigieg, because what are anti-gay buffoons obsessed with right now? Pete Buttigieg. Boys (still his name) is primarily concerned not with the simple fact that Buttigieg is gay, but with how gay Buttigieg really is. IN THE SEX WAY!

Well, Don, since you asked!

Shall we dive into this thing without the proper prophylactics? We shall.

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