Friday, February 06, 2004

Kushner Trashes the First Lady and Beam Trashes Kushner
Poor Alex Beam. He can’t keep his own bigotry locked up for even as long as the length of his column. His article on Tony Kushner’s new work in progress, “Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy,” which is receiving a reading in Cambridge must have been just too much for him. He spends many paragraphs laying out what at first seems a somewhat credible discussion for dismissing Kushner’s work as a one sided political diatribe, but by the end of his writing he completely goes bonkers on his own argument. His last paragraph reads;

“I wish the Cambridge Forum and the ART much success in staging this wonderful work of hate. I am sure there are members of the Cambridge booboisie who will pay the top ticket price of $300 to finance more bile like this. I wish only that the sponsors wouldn't tout their production as "controversial." There is nothing controversial about pandering to an audience's bigotry and narrow-mindedness. A controversial play would place Ariel Sharon's late wife onstage with the souls of the dead Palestinian children her husband's armed forces have killed. But who would pay $300 to see that?”

Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. Mr. Beam, some of us read cultural criticism for enlightenment and for wisdom, not for the type of liberal-conservative polarizing you are doing here. I can buy a copy of Sean Hannity’s book if I want that. And also, Beam completely ignores the fact that Kushner would probably support a play that dealt with dead Palestinian children.

And by the way, who is bigoted, exactly? The Ariel Sharon example he uses would be just as horrible to some as Kushner’s current work-in progress is to him. However, to Alex it is only controversial if you agree with the premise. Mr. Beam is intelligent, witty, great to read, but also showing a neo-conservative bent. Just like the high priests of the conservative airways, he must protect the great god Reagan at all costs. Beam writes “Welcome to Kushnerworld -- Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Angels in America’ Kushnerworld -- where heterosexuals are repressed homosexuals trapped in loveless relationships, gays are generally noble and capable of spiritual enlightenment, religion is soul-suffocating bunkum, and Republicans occupy a moral plane similar to that of the Nazis.” He completely dismisses the power and emotions of Angels in America, and the fact that it contained many dignified characters, who were not homosexuals. Beam takes a joke line from the play, (“You’re nice, I can’t believe you voted for Reagan,”) which is always performed with sarcasm, and he heaps all of this heavy ideology on it like a dutiful officer of the Thought Police. Somebody reading the column would think the line was an amazingly pivotal moment, written to be spoken with a teary-eyed deep sense of revelation.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the right wing crush on artists and entertainers since 9/11 has been the fact that their arguments have not so much been with content of the artists’ remarks or their work, but rather with their position in society. Examples: Natalie Maines is a ditzy blonde musician who should just shut up and sing. Michael Moore is fat slob who should shut his pie hole. Now, Beam chimes in that Kushner is a narrow minded little faggot who writes fag plays and has no right to assail the Bush or Reagan administration. In the Kennel of the Right Wing Republican Attack Dogs the only people with a right to speak on any political issue are the members of the current Republican administration and, of course, the dogs themselves.

Maybe in the world of Alex Beam only propaganda supporting the regime can be considered art. Perhaps the ART should have Toby Keith in for a confab. I am sure that Laura Ingraham, Alex Beam, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage would love to pay 300 a ticket to join a sing-a-long of, “Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.” And after that, Mr. Beam could put on his play about Sharon.

I am just waiting for the day when these right wing attack dogs set loose on Saturday Night Live for their caricatures of Bush. Mark my words, it is coming.

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