Search This Blog

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The World Spins On

Do you ever feel like nothing changes while everything changes?  It sure seems that way today.  The controversy surrounding the performance of Julius Caesar in New York really illustrates this.  For as long as I can remember, the Shakespeare in the Park performances have been a part of Summer in New York.  These free, outdoor performances draw huge crowds.  They have always been free of politics; they were just tragedy or comedy on a grand scale.  This year, of course, it all changed.

The current performance of Julius Caesar outfitted Caesar as President Trump.  In that way, Act III brings the stylized murder of Trump in the Senate.  Critics of this move have come out of the woodwork.  Presenting the murder of the President as entertainment is an appalling bit of public theater.  An immediate controversy arose.  Two large corporate sponsors of the performance withdrew their support when the content became known.  On the other hand, Time Warner (which owns HBO and CNN among other things) actually increased it support to pick up the slack left when the others pulled out.  America was told this was just free speech.  We have to have free speech was the mantra.  When a crazy leftist with a rifle decided to take out a bunch of GOP congressmen, no change was made to the performance.  The players did not decide to tone down their violent depiction.  Again, it was free speech.

At last night's performance, a few protesters rushed the stage and started berating the performers and the audience for the nature of what was being shown.  This too was free speech, but you would never think so from the media/left reaction.  Nope, they thought it was an attack on free speech.  The protesters were cleared from the stage, and the play could have been finished at that point, but the message of the protesters had been given.  Is this protest which disrupted a play any different from a protest march down a major highway that disrupts traffic?  Not really; they're both free speech.  Of course, the police don't usually remove the marching protesters, something they did at the play last night.

I personally think it is usually wrong to disrupt the speech of others.  There needs to be a civil dialogue not a fascist monologue.  Nevertheless, it is hypocritical for the media to be upset about interrupting a play while saying nothing about protests that stop people from speaking on campuses.  It just becomes another manifestation of the inability of the media to see that not everyone shares their view of the world.

No comments: