Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Then there’s me, walking on the fraying tightrope between naivete and phobia, calming my nerves and tensing my body.
I will not fall. I will not fear. I will not fear to fall.
Although it isn’t a common occurrence, it also isn’t unheard-of for audience members to vocally disagree or simply walk out in protest during a more politically charged play presented as part of Too Much Light. We have suggested that maybe we don’t want to support in any way the Marines who rape and kill innocent civilians. We often state that gay marriage actually might not destroy civilization. We have presented a monologue about race relations delivered by a man wearing blackface. We have burned an image of the President in effigy.
(Our ensemble is predominantly liberal. We do have one self-identified conservative who I love and admire as a person and as an artist, even when I find myself compelled to rebut her politics. On certain issues, even the rest of us have gradient shading…disagreeing on how far we support something, or what we feel the solutions might be.)
I’d like to say I don’t do this often, because I don’t like what it says about me…but during plays like these I will, as often as not, scan the audience to make sure that nobody is about to react with something more aggressive than distaste. I’d like to say that, but it isn’t true. I so completely adopt Secret Service mentality from the sidelines, considering the best course of action if the sour-faced gentleman sitting in the second row house left third from the center decides that he’s heard just about enough of this liberal garbage and by God he will do something about it if the rest of you weak-kneed, terrorist-loving pansies are too busy having Pride Parades and premarital abortions to do it yourselves.
And in that scenario I tell my colleagues onstage to get down, run across the floor with a large black Mag-Lite and attempt to avert a disaster, perhaps grabbing the small wooden table under the stage left downspot as a shield…
…and then I’m shot dead and never know what happens afterwards.
Of course I don’t imagine that part of it. In my head the scene plays out exactly like it should and nobody dies. But let’s be honest–in that scenario, since I am not Batman, I get about five feet and then cease to exist, and if that doesn’t happen it’s only because I was very lucky that day.
This, kids, has been Paranoid Confession Corner. Nervous laugh, ha ha, who in their right mind actually thinks about things like that, huh? I mean, really?
But then we have a day when a man shoots up a liberal-leaning Unitarian Universalist church in Tennessee, killing two and wounding seven, allegedly because of his feeling that his job opportunities had been taken from him by gays and liberals.
During a production of Annie. Performed by children.
It would be comfortable and convenient, I think, to simply say This Madman Is Insane and leave it at that. It is uncouth, I know, to politicize such horrors. But today I’ve observed the most rabid of the right wing try to escape to higher ground and disavow any connection to Jim David Adkisson, and I call shenanigans on it, because he sure as hell wanted to be connected to them.
I am an advocate of personal responsibility. I am aware that just because a man reads books titled Liberalism Is A Mental Health Disorder that it doesn’t make him go shoot up a church. In the end, you are the final arbiter of your actions; you are the last line of defense against the evil that men do.
But I can’t abide those who smugly sit back and proclaim that these books and pundits had zero influence whatsoever. Bullshit. Supreme and utter bullshit.
Years and years now of dehumanizing and vicious rhetoric from these blowhards, people who have become filthy fucking rich casually spouting off that liberals are treacherous, that liberals are not really Americans. Carefully crafted soundbite after soundbite that either suggest liberals should be killed outright or, at least, that nobody should lift a finger to stop it if liberals are being attacked…
But oh, it was just a joke. Just like the last five times I suggested liberals should be hunted down and shot. A joke! Funny!
You don’t get it because liberals, in addition to having tails, horns, and cloven feet, also lack a sense of humor. You should thank us for wanting you killed.
Joke! Again! See?
Earlier today I suggested to one of my longtime online sparring partners that the FAUX News crowd were a more insidious and less intense version of the mullahs who say that their followers should kill the infidel, or the Hutu Power media that helped stoke the Rwandan genocide. I was accused of comparing apples to oranges, but I still can’t see the difference in anything except for the receptiveness of the listening audience.
And that’s the thing of it…personal responsibility, again. Most of the audience fumes and vents and sends around libelous emails about the number of people Barack Hussein Obama X Horton has had killed, but they don’t go so far as to commit mass murder.
Everybody is handed an empty rifle, and the pundits stand on a balcony tossing out boxes of bullets. And yes, it is the choiceof the crowd to pick up the bullets, a choice to load the rifle, a choice to fire.
All I’m suggesting is that maybe it is also a choice to blindly distribute the bullets.
When one of us delivers a potent and difficult play during the show I want to watch them perform it; I don’t want to watch the audience and wonder for two minutes if somebody has decided to take it to heart that we are so dangerous that we must be eliminated.
I do not wish to fear. I do not wish to fall. I do not wish to fall to fear.