May 03, 2004

“Edward Said: The Musical” A

“Edward Said: The Musical”

A few days ago, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were subjected to a feature-length documentary entitled “Derrida.” As anyone who knows his postmodern arse from his postmodern elbow (which, come to think of it, isn’t a particularly easy thing to know), the film’s title refers to Jacques Derrida, the Grand Old Man of so-called deconstruction.

This pathetic exercise in filmic hagiography offered manifold learned musings of M. Derrida, who waxed poststructuralist on all and sundry. In addition to the nauseating spectacle of fawning graduate students giddily lavishing praise on M. Derrida, the movie presented the doyen of deconstruction with plenty of camera-time to discuss a number of topics. Still, M. Derrida didn’t say that much.

Regarding deconstruction, for instance, M. Derrida merely informed his audience that it was not a sit-com. Thanks, Jacques. You might write impenetrable sentences, but even we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” already knew that there was a distinction between deconstruction, on the one hand, and, say, “Silver Spoons,” on the other. Rick Schroeder’s—pardon us, Ricky Schroder’s—career may have gone down the proverbial toilet, but that doesn’t mean that he’d be caught dead playing hermetic word games with the likes of you.

What most rankled us, however, was the laudatory tone of “Derrida”; its creators clearly thought that they were in the presence of Greatness, and the viewer is constantly reminded of how gosh-darn profound its subject is.

After a few moments of grumbling, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” hit upon an idea: If some independent film company thinks it can make money by pouring praise upon trendy academic superstars, why can’t we capitalize off the idea? After all, the only thing we like more than neo-Marxist Fredric Jameson is making a hefty profit off of neo-Marxist Fredric Jameson. How’s that for postmodern irony?

Immediately, then, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” put on our collective thinking caps, and attempted to come up with a product that would make us the big bucks. Without, as they say on the game shows, any whammies. One junior editor—let’s just call him “Chip”—suggested a Stanley Fish “Reader-Response Board Game.” You know, the game would be entirely determined by the will of its players. But the rest of our staff, when asked its response to the idea, thought it was stupid.

Then one senior editor—let’s just call him “Chip”—presented us with an ingenious notion: “Edward Said: The Musical”! Indeed, it’s the perfect money-making gambit: An off-Broadway show detailing the life of everyone’s favorite postcolonial theorist and Palestinian propagandist!

Why, we could almost see the advertisement for the play in the pages of The New York Review of Books:

Now Opening at the Aimé Césaire Theatre, it’s “Edward Said: The Musical”!

Ricardo Montalban as Edward Said
Ben Kingsley as Homi Bhabha
Jar Jar Binks as Yasir Arafat
Nathan Lane as Ariel Sharon
and Ariel Sharon as Harold Bloom!

This explosive musical tracks the career of Edward Said, a patrician Egyptian masquerading as a dispossessed Palestinian. The smart-set will marvel in this op-ed writing, rock-hurling intellectual’s zany hijinks! Featuring unforgettable musical numbers such as:

“76 Virgins (in the Afterlife)”
“So-Called ‘Terrorism’”
“You Sa-id Tomato, I Sa-id To-mah-to”
“If I were a Zionist”
“I Feel Othered”
“I’ve Got Jews Under My Skin”
and the touching romantic duet “Colonial Discourse Analysis,” featuring Noam Chomsky as himself.

You’ve never experienced a night of highfalutin Arab apologetics quite like this! The musical will tour in the United States, Israel, and Western Europe, but, like Said’s books, will be banned throughout the Muslim world.

Here’s what the critics have to say:

“I might not know the difference between George Bush and Osama bin Laden, but I know great theatre. And 'Edward Said: The Musical' is great theatre!”
--Tariq Ali,
The New Left Review

“I had a blast! It was even better than ‘Cats’!”
--Unknown Al-Quaeda member

“Consider that in the very act by which the subject reproduces the conditions of its own subordination, the subject exemplifies a temporally based vulnerability that belongs to those conditions, specifically, to the exigencies of their renewal.”
--Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

If you, dear reader, also think that this is a smashing idea, please send us checks to help finance the show. After all, we’re going to need a lot of musicians—we mean, munitions.

Posted at May 3, 2004 01:43 AM | TrackBack