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August 05, 2010

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Jay

I love the expansion to the addictive nature of power. Thanks.

99

I think I like this even more than the classic backpack metaphor.

Josh

What an apt metaphor. Thanks for passing this on.

Also, $3? Smokes are more like $13 now. Be glad you quit when you did, otherwise you might be in debtor's prison all to feed the beast!

Scott Walters

We also hate having the privilege pointed out, in the same way Jay's mother would have responded had the smokey clothing been pointed out. We've seen this a lot when we've discussed the pernicious effects of class as it functions in the theatre, for instance in the disturbing pattern concerned playwrights and their alma maters. People in theatre are really good at pointing out people who are racists or sexists or homophobes, but we tend to get real quiet when it comes to class.

RVCBard

People in theatre are really good at pointing out people who are racists or sexists or homophobes

Hardly.

Ian Thal

I'd say it's more accurate to say that "people in theatre are really good at reflexively pointing out people who are racists or sexists or homophobes"

This doesn't mean that they are particularly thoughtful about about identifying the racist, sexist, or homophobe. They're particularly adept at ignoring certain bigotries or certain individual's bigotry.

Actually, we're really not talking about theatre at this point. Selective outrage is a constant.

RVCBard

They're particularly adept at ignoring certain bigotries or certain individual's bigotry.

Exactly. People are still debating whether Shakespeare (or, to be precise, "The Merchant of Venice") was anti-Semitic.

Ian Thal

RVCBard, some people are still debating whether Europe is anti-Semitic.

I remember having a conversation with a Frenchman who called me a "racist" for mentioning the existence of European anti-Semitism. Eventually, he did admit that the Vichy Regime actually existed, but assured me that he would have fought it were he alive at the time-- but reiterated just how offensive it was for me to identify any of these people as being of European origin.

RVCBard

I remember having a conversation with a Frenchman who called me a "racist" for mentioning the existence of European anti-Semitism.

Does. Not. Compute.

Ian Thal

It was apparently really insensitive for me to suggest that there was some linkage between European civilization and killing Jews.

Kim

Ian,

I think RVC Bard's confusion was not about "being insensitive...to suggest that there was some linkage between European civilization and killing Jews", but why you suddenly switched from talking specifically about prejudice among theatre people, to a general observation about European anti-semitism. I can see why you did it, but it certainly threw me on first reading.

anonymous

Ian made the point about "selective outrage" being "a constant" in an earlier comment.

Ian Thal

Actually Kim, RVCBard brought up antisemitism. I was merely agreeing with her, and I didn't get the impression she was the slightest bit confused. I took her "Does. Not. Compute." not to mean that she was confused by anything I said, but that she felt that there was something wrong with the gentilhomme I described.

If I was making a point about people not wanting to admit that The Merchant of Venice is an ur-text linking medieval Judenhass with modern antisemitism, it was only that the play and the discomfort with admiting that it is what it is is symptomatic of larger problems within European civilization.

I am just of the opinion that theatre people are really not radically different from others in their general cohort (in terms of educational levels) when it comes to either principled speaking out against prejudice on one hand or cynical and knee-jerk accusations (and denials) of prejudice on the other. We are just as good and just as bad as the audiences for whom we hope to perform.

Anonymous does get it right that I do feel that selective outrage is a widespread phenomenon.

99

I think RVCBard can speak very well (and will) for exactly what she meant.

What did not compute about your statement is that, well...over the last few months, when someone like me, or RVCBard has called out bigoted and racist statements, we've been told that we're the ones who are racist and bigoted. It's become a bit of a thing in current American culture that, when you call someone a racist for saying something racist, you're supposed to apologize to them for insulting them. So it seems a bit funny that you see that perfectly well with Anti-Semitic Europeans, but apparently not so well with bigoted Americans. Does. Not. Compute.

99

To be clear, what I meant was "What did not compute for me" in that last comment. RVC can speak about what, if anything, did not compute for her.

RVCBard

99,

Ian got the gist of it, but it would be interesting to explore the point you brought up.

Ian,

I am just of the opinion that theatre people are really not radically different from others in their general cohort (in terms of educational levels) when it comes to either principled speaking out against prejudice on one hand or cynical and knee-jerk accusations (and denials) of prejudice on the other. We are just as good and just as bad as the audiences for whom we hope to perform.

You take that back! Theatre is sacred even for secularists! How DARE you insult this noble and holy institution by suggesting that bias, prejudice and discrimination have EVER been problems! I'm just appalled. Appalled and offended that you would even hint at it, let along state it so baldly as you do here. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Ian Thal

I'm still mystified why anyone continues to insinuate that RVCBard is confused by my comments. She has just cause to be be appalled and offended.

It's become a bit of a thing in current American culture that, when you call someone a racist for saying something racist, you're supposed to apologize to them for insulting them. So it seems a bit funny that you[My emphasis] see that perfectly well with Anti-Semitic Europeans, but apparently not so well with bigoted Americans. Does. Not. Compute.

Care to clarify why you appear to be directly addressing me on that topic, J.?

If I'm particularly apt observer of European and European-derived antisemitism it's mostly because it's a topic upon which I research and write.

Again, note, that the clearly not-confused RVCBard was the one who brought up the topic.

99

RVCBard cleared up any confusion just fine on her own.

Do you need to research bigotry in America to see it? Does one have to qualify?

Ian Thal

You're being evasive, J.: I asked you why you appeared to be directly addressing those comments to me. (Despite what you appear to be insinuating) If I'm not always seen speaking out about every other form of prejudice in the comments section it is not due to a blind spot but because I feel that others have already spoken and I have no additional insight to offer. I'm long past the point of needing to prove my righteousness to others by saying "I completely agree with you, can I join your club?"

Again: I took the entire exchange between RVCBard and myself to mean that she and I not only understood one another but were largely in agreement. It was others, believing they were speaking on her behalf, who kept insinuating that she was confused.

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