Monday, November 10, 2008

Right Wing Entertainment?

Terry Teachout asks why there aren't more conservative plays.

Leonard Jacobs answers him.

And Andrew Sullivan talks about the fate of Comedy Central in the post Bush era.

I did witness, the night after the election, how the first barbed Obama joke fell really flat on the Daily Show. To be fair, it wasn't that great of a joke. But the audience hissed a little bit too loudly.

Satire, it is said, has no real friends.

I believe Colbert, using the brilliant convention that he has created, will fare much better than Stewart in the intitial transition. Talk radio is already losing their collective minds with hyperbolic talk of Obama enslaving school children into reeducation camps. (This taken from Obama's projected policy of trying to increase community volunteering as part of public education.) Colbert will eat this kind of stuff up, along with tracking the Republican's moves towards getting back in power.

Elsewhere on CC, David Alan Grier's new show, Chocolate News, hasn't really panned out, yet. But that network will stick with shows for a while, so maybe Grier will be able to more consistently rise to the level of his very funny piece about Maya Angelou preparing a poem for Obama's inauguration:

As a side note: Though they haven't been posting since April, I will miss the little audio clips from the guys at Weekly Radio Address.


Thomas Garvey said...

Teachout might have a point if "conservatism" weren't in such an intellectual shambles. It's impossible to pretend that there's anything coherent about a movement that could field Sarah Palin as a serious candidate, so it's hard to bemoan the fact that no one is writing anything from that point of view. Or is he seriously proposing a play themed on the idea that the middle class should pay higher taxes than the rich? Good luck with that! The deeper problem, as Leonard Jacobs points out, is that art tends to be open-ended politically; it's about how life cannot be confined to a single theory. Therefore it tends to have a "liberal" atmosphere, even though much of the greatest art would strike us as quite conservative if we pondered its superficial political message: Chekhov mourns, and sometimes even celebrates, the aristocracy, and Shakespeare is, in the end, a monarchist. Maybe that will console the vapid Terry Teachout.

Ian Thal said...

To add both to Leonard Jacob's response as well as to Thomas' observations-- is it possible that the creative professionals on the right (especially on the doctrinaire right to whom theatre's essential "liberalism" is alien) find it more lucrative to work in other media, like television and film? What about 24 which constantly valorizes "enhanced interrogation techniques" as an infallible tool of national security?

But then: why is the theatrical blogosphere even taking Teachout seriously? He can't tell the difference between liberalism, socialism, and communism so that he can't tell that Stoppard's long-standing opposition to communism comes from an essentially liberal concern for human rights, democracy, and intellectual and aesthetic freedom-- and not from some knee-jerk conservatism. And seriously, Mamet a conservative? Has Teachout even seen November?