June 30, 2004

The Theatre vs. Bush The

The Theatre vs. Bush

The June 27, 2004 number of London’s venerable Times contains an article by one Ben Dowell regarding the import of the British play Guantanamo to the good ole’ US of A. For those readers unaware of current affairs who might think that said piece of theater (excuse us, theatre) pertains to some lost tribe of Indians, Mr. Dowell assures us that the transfer of the show from England to the New World is “an attempt by British ‘left-wing luvvies’ to prick America’s conscience in the run-up to the presidential election.”

To be sure, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are certain that these radical “luvvies” introduce thoughts of “pricks” in our minds, but this pricking hasn’t a thing to do with our consciences.

Mr. Dowell informs his readers that the financial backers for this indubitably fair-minded play about Guantanamo Bay include such well-grounded figures as Vanessa Redgrave and Patrick Stewart. The former, of course, is famous for her slightly-to-the-left-of-Stalin politics. The latter, of course, is famous for being bald.

By this point, dear reader, you are probably itching to see this theatrical interpretation of current events, secure in the notion that the play will prove balanced and nuanced.

Not so fast. Mr. Dowell’s article makes clear that the show will only play in a few venues:

“The producers…plan to tour the country targeting Washington, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Cambridge, Massachusetts, which are also key ‘swing’ areas in November’s election.”

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t intend to ruffle any feathers, but we have a bone to pick with Mr. Dowell’s discussion of “swing areas.” In fact, if we weren’t so certain about the deep-seated knowledge of American politics on the other side of the pond, we’d venture to say that Mr. Dowell’s sentence is faintly ridiculous.

First, we can’t tell whether Mr. Dowell, when he mentions “Washington,” refers to the state or Washington, DC. Given the rest of his list, however, we are inclined to guess that he means the latter.

If so, this means that Mr. Dowell, a writer for the London Times, earnestly believes that Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Cambridge, MA are key “swing areas” in the upcoming election. As such, he posits that those behind Guantanamo are attempting to inform undecided voters about the horrors of the Bush Administration.

Ah, yes: Cambridge, MA—also known as the People’s Republic of Cambridge—is surely a key battleground for the race for the presidency. Just because Massachusetts is John Kerry’s home state, and just because the citizens of Cambridge would blithely vote for Pol Pot, doesn’t mean that it won’t prove to be a major focus of the Bush Administration.

In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have the sneaking suspicion that Karl Rove is about as concerned about winning the Cambridge vote as he is about Washington, DC and San Francisco.

It would be unnecessary to assert, of course, that the voters of San Francisco could go either way.

In fact, Mr. Dowell’s article made us wonder whether the organizers of Guantanamo hadn’t made a grave error by foregoing the key battleground area of Berkeley, CA. That ought to be an electoral dogfight, too.

Posted at June 30, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack