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June 12, 2014

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NewYorkTheater

Isaac

Ever since you methodically eviscerated "Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark," much to my delight, I have greatly admired your rapier writing.

I didn’t look forward to your attack on my essay in Howlround, but knew it was coming, based on our exchanges on Twitter.

For the record, and at the risk of being unable to change your failing grade for my essay, I didn’t “own” my argument against diversity because I wasn’t trying to make an argument against diversity; I was asking questions – an approach I’ve taken previously in pieces in Howlround about subjects that were less contentious. Some of those questions David Henry Hwang specifically answers in the third section – he also asks some of his own questions.

I think these questions are worth asking. Let’s take the paragraph that begins: “When is it appropriate for a character to be played by an actor who does not fit the playwright’s description?” In response to your saying you didn’t understand what I was asking about Denzel Washington, I added a clarifying comment at the bottom of the Howlround piece. Washington was excoriated widely for portraying a character younger than the actor is now. Yet in 2005, he played Brutus, normally played by a white actor, and nobody complained because he’s African-American. I further comment: “I am not saying anybody should have knocked Washington because of his race. I'm glad nobody did. But I also don't think he should have been knocked because of his age in Raisin.That's my personal opinion. More interesting to me than my opinion are the questions raised by these differing reactions.” That's what I believe - the questions are worth asking, my opinions about them (those in which I've formed opinions) less interesting - and that's why I framed that second section as questions. I'm sorry this didn't work for you as a piece of writing.

Let other people judge your paragraph attacking the elderly as a group. I suspect when you get, um, older, you may be embarrassed by it.

Jonathan

Carole

I have an 85 year old friend who is a theatre goer. He lives on social security and walks with the aid of a frame. Could you clearly articulate the nature of his "dominance and power"? And can you also provide the evidence of his propensity for "inappropriate behaviour"? I'm supposed to take him to a show next week and now I'm scared.

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