A new presentation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar with a Donald Trump figure as Caesar bruised the fragile feelings of right-wing commentators who missed the play’s historic value and message, says Michael Winship.
By Michael Winship
Over in New York’s Central Park, just a short distance from our offices, the curtain came down last week on The Public Theater’s controversial production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Controversial because the actor playing the assassinated Caesar looked and sounded like Donald Trump, right down to the overlong red necktie and clownish orange-blond nimbus of hair.
But the curtain didn’t fall because of the outrage that came tumbling from the Right — including protesters heckling at a couple of the performances and death threats directed at the production’s director (not to mention feverish tweets and emails from confused trolls hurled at any theatre company with the word “Shakespeare” in its name).
Nor did it occur because two of The Public Theatre’s corporate donors, Bank of America and Delta Air Lines, pulled their sponsorship of the show, a gutless move of appeasement from two businesses, banking and air travel, so well known these days for their dazzling records of customer satisfaction. (Another company, American Express, didn’t yank its cash from The Public but tweeted that its money doesn’t fund Shakespeare in the Park “nor do we condone the interpretation of the Julius Caesar play.”)
No, the fact is, Julius Caesar always was scheduled to end the night that it did. That was to make way for the summer’s second Shakespeare in the Park production — A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Gentle readers will recall that this is the Shakespeare play in which, among a great many other things, a knavish sprite named Puck turns a man into an ass. Such an act once seemed like magic, but given today’s political climate, the turning of men into asses has become the rule rather than the exception.
‘Snowflakes’ on the Right
Witness the aforementioned kneejerk reaction of the Right, so quick to accuse the Left of behaving like snowflakes but themselves so hypersensitive to even the mildest heat that they melt as fast as Frosty the Snowman — that is, if he was a whiny Fox or talk radio host instead of a jolly happy soul.
We’ve established before that this is not a crowd that embraces a thoroughgoing knowledge of history in general, and it’s probably fair to assume a knowledge of theatrical history not at all. Elsewise they might realize that Julius Caesar is not a play that celebrates political violence but loudly condemns it.
In an email, The Public’s artistic director (and director of Julius Caesar) Oskar Eustis wrote: “Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save. For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park.”
Back in the day, Queen Elizabeth I herself recognized that the playwright’s scripts often were thinly veiled depictions of the current political scene in Britain and even of herself. Apparently, she had a thicker skin than the gang at Delta Air Lines or Bank of America — she kept encouraging Shakespeare with money from the royal purse.
Julius Caesar in particular has always been a play lending itself to parallels with contemporary politics. George Washington hosted an amateur production in Philadelphia during the first full year of his presidency. He didn’t seem to take offense. Orson Welles directed and played Brutus in a 1937 staging that drew parallels with the rise of fascism in Europe, even recreating the infamous “Cathedral of Light” at Hitler’s Nuremburg rallies.
For the last few years, The Acting Company has been touring the country with a version in which Caesar bears a close resemblance to Barack Obama — no one has protested. And ever since Trump started to dominate the electoral landscape, several productions have used Julius Caesar as a metaphor for the debilitating illness that pervades our body politic.
Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro recently wrote: “As long as politicians resemble Caesar and as long as their opponents seek to justify their overthrow, ‘Julius Caesar’ will continue to matter. …
“It is the mark of a tolerant society that we don’t try to shut down the expression of words or viewpoints that some might find disagreeable, least of all Shakespeare’s, whose works we all share. We rely on newspapers to learn what is happening in the world. But we turn to productions of Shakespeare to make sense of it.”
A Bigly Hissy Fit
But none of this stopped the trolls of the Right from throwing a major-league hissy about the show, even if very few of them actually attended a performance. Much of the consternation was based on a video of the play’s assassination scene that went viral.
Some, Sean Hannity among them, even suggested that the recent wounding of House majority whip Steve Scalise and four others at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, somehow was linked to the production of Julius Caesar.
“The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!” screamed one of those who disrupted a performance. And the President’s son, Donald Jr., retweeted conservative commentator Harlan Hill’s comment that the shootings were “EXACTLY why we took issue with NY elites glorifying the assassination of our president.”
This was and is opportunistic sophistry, an attempt to use tragedy to distract by aiming a fallacious attack at “elites” and the Left. The production of Julius Caesar should no more be condemned for its alleged connection to an act of senseless violence than The Catcher in the Rye should be banned because John Lennon’s assassin Mark David Chapman was obsessed with the book.
The attack on Scalise and the others was the act of a deeply disturbed man who had made anti-Trump statements on Facebook and elsewhere. And there’s no denying that it took place in an atmosphere of elevated hate speech from Right and Left — but face it, mostly from the Right — and violence that has only gotten worse since the election, aggravated by the man now president who egged on his supporters at splenetic campaign rallies.
But let’s talk about what also really needs discussing. Not just a production of a classic play that offended some, or the unreasoned words and actions of far too many, including men and women in Congress and the White House. Since we’re talking about the freedom to speak out, let’s speak out about guns.
Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWinship. [This article originally appeared at
OUR PRESIDENT > https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/01-at-6.04.52-PM.png
The Racial and Religious Paranoia of Trump’s Warsaw Speech
When the president says being Western is the essence of America’s identity, he’s in part defining America in opposition to some of its own people.
In his speech in Poland on Thursday, Donald Trump referred 10 times to “the West” and five times to “our civilization.” His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means. It’s important that other Americans do, too.
The West is not a geographic term. Poland is further east than Morocco. France is further east than Haiti. Australia is further east than Egypt. Yet Poland, France, and Australia are all considered part of “The West.” Morocco, Haiti, and Egypt are not.
The West is not an ideological or economic term either. India is the world’s largest democracy. Japan is among its most economically advanced nations. No one considers them part of the West.
The West is a racial and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white. Where there is ambiguity about a country’s “Westernness,” it’s because there is ambiguity about, or tension between, these two characteristics. Is Latin America Western? Maybe. Most of its people are Christian, but by U.S. standards, they’re not clearly white. Are Albania and Bosnia Western? Maybe. By American standards, their people are white. But they are also mostly Muslim.
Steve Bannon, who along with Stephen Miller has shaped much of Trump’s civilizational thinking, has been explicit about this. In a 2014 speech, he celebrated “the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam” and “our forefathers” who “bequeathed to use the great institution that is the church of the West.”
The author entirely misses the nub of this problem…that there are
emotionally unstable people wandering around out here looking
for some justification for committing a violent act. We’ve seen it
again and again in the news, most recently with the shooting of
a congressman in Alexandria, VA. The nasty, vicious, irresponsible
attempt on the part of the producers to score some publicity by
attracting the Trump haters was an act of naked provocation
on their part. Hopefully. the city of NY will think twice before
permitting such provocateurs to pull such an act again…and on
public property supported by taxes paid by those who voted for
Trump as well as those who didn’t.
Good grief, man.
Two people interrupt a play and its a ‘hissy fit’ from the entire right…(there’s only Good and ‘Right’ for authors like these)… because the ‘right’ expressed displeasure with the rhetoric and apologetics for *violence* toward Trump?
“…atmosphere of elevated hate speech from Right and Left — but face it, mostly from the Right.”
Parry should be ashamed of posting a sophomoricopinion piece like this. From where I sit, the elevated ‘hate speech’ has come from the Left.
As well as hate hoaxes- so many hate hoaxes it looks to have been organized. Bomb threats to Jewish centers were inexplicably blamed on Trump. When the Jewish pepetrator was caught, every excuse was offered but the obvious one: stoking up more hatred of the ‘right’ (and keep those DHS grants coming)… and buttressing the victim status of Jews. Pay no attention to Palestine, which, by the way, doesn’t exist.
in a self-statisfied orgy of POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC from the dishonest left, every sparrow that fell to the ground after the election was due to white supremacist cisgendered patriarchy emboldened by the election of the candidate who HAD NOT armed ***Al Qaeda*** and probably ISIS in order to topple Syria’s legal government for the benefit of Israel.
Who is this guy kidding?
Not the well-informed.
‘Hate speech’ is the last refuge of a crypto totalitarian- meanwhile it is and has been the far left shutting down speakers, rioting, demanding safe spaces, demanding Whites leave campus, pontificating about the evils of ‘Whiteness’ – hate hate hate, antifreespeech, antidebate for months… years… with the blessings of leftist administrations, politicians, and journalists but clowns like this author are **desperate** to create an absolutely false equivalency…
As snowflakes, blind to their own hate and violence, are wont to do.
A leftist crying about ‘muh free speech?’ Really, dude? Did you not fear disappearing in a puff of hypocrisy?
When you claim that everyone not a far Leftist is a ‘Nazi’ there is no need to respect differing opinion or to respect free speech or the democratic process or truth in journalism.
You also end up punching people who not only are not Nazis, but who are prepared to punch back.
I was disappointed to see such a miserable, hypocritical opinion piece at Consortium News as a consumer of left, right and libertarian opinion.
I shall be far more hesitant to link to it at all in future.
Mike D “Parry should be ashamed of posting a sophomoricopinion piece like this. From where I sit, the elevated ‘hate speech’ has come from the Left.”
DOJ Ethics Consultant Quits, Says Hypocritical To Work In Trump Administration
Suggesting the assassination of the President should be a jailing offense. It would be if I were President.
It isn’t just “the right” that finds it over the line to play act the assassination of the current President.
While I applaud the defense of this theater’s production, I deplore the fact that this play, and this article, merely continues the false history about Caesar. To portray Trump as Caesar is a gross insult to Caesar, who was a reformer fighting corruption and trying to level the playing field for common Romans. He was murdered by the very aristocrats who were robbing people blind through usury and peasant slavery.
Trump has far more in common with the conspirators who stabbed Caesar than he does with Caesar himself.
At the very least, you could have pointed out this fact instead of merely continuing to heap slander on one of history’s greatest reformers.
Trump is Brutus, not Caesar.
STEPHEN BANNON: I think if you look at the lines of work, I kind of break it out into three verticals or three buckets. The first is kind of national security and sovereignty, and that’s your intelligence, the Defense Department, homeland security. The second line of work is what I refer to as economic nationalism. The third, broadly, line of work is what is deconstruction of the administrative state. … If you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason. And that is the deconstruction. The way the progressive left runs is that if they can’t get it passed, they’re just going to put it in some sort of regulation in an agency. That’s all going to be deconstructed. And I think that that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Steve Bannon speaking at CPAC, talking about the deconstruction of the administrative state. And as the media focuses on just a particular series of issues in Washington, whether it’s the healthcare plan or the Russia investigation, in fact, there is a very systematic, very fast dismantling of the administrative state that is going on. And I was wondering if you could comment on that and some of the people who are involved with this, from Scott Pruitt to Mick Mulvaney, the OMB director, even to the White House counsel, Don McGahn.
NANCY MacLEAN: Yes, thank you. This notion that Bannon represents something very different from the Kochs is troubling, because it leads us to not notice exactly what your clip just showed, that he is utterly devoted to deconstructing the administrative state. This also comes from Buchananite thinking, which said that agency officials don’t—and this includes public health professionals, too. This apparatus has tried to discredit people who test children’s blood for lead. I mean, this is how bad it is. But they will say that agency officials only want to expand their fiefdoms, they don’t actually care about the issues they’re working on, they just want their own self-aggrandizement.
And so, Bannon is expressing this and talking about the deconstruction of the administrative state. And they are doing it, as you pointed out, Amy, in your opening news segments about all the environmental regulations they’re undoing, all kinds of other regulations they’re undoing. As we all focus on Trump’s tweets, they are undermining core features of our democracy and of our regulatory system, on which we all depend for our health, our well-being, our clean water, our clean air and the quality of our public health apparatus. And we can see this in the Republican Party being captured by this donor network, because they vote against things like funding for Zika and Ebola, you know, and they don’t believe in public health. They don’t—you know, they just come from a different philosophical system.
AMY GOODMAN: So, how did you find out about the Nobel Prize-winning economist Buchanan and his close ties to the Koch brothers, particularly Charles Koch?
NANCY MacLEAN: I did not set out looking for this man. This man announced himself to me from the archives. I had just finished a book on something else, when I happened on the story of the school closures in Prince Edward County from 1959 to 1964. In protest against Brown v. Board of Education and in the name of individual liberty and states’ rights, a county in Virginia completely shut down its public school system and sent all the white children off to private schools and deprived black children of education, any formal education, for five years. And it was part of the system of mass resistance that came with the first modern system of tuition grants, they called it, but it was essentially school vouchers. And I became intrigued in this—about this.
And then I learned that Milton Friedman had written his first modern case for vouchers in 1955, as news came up that the most arch segregationists were saying they were going to completely shut down public education rather than desegregate. So, I thought, “What are these people, who talk about a free society and who talk about liberty, doing, essentially abetting the most arch segregationists who are trying to destroy public education in order to preserve segregation?” So, at first I was following Friedman. But Buchanan kept appearing, with different reports, pushing, pushing, pushing for the most arch privatization. And then—so I followed those reports. He came on my radar.
My third data point was moving to North Carolina in 2010 and then seeing the radical Republican takeover of my state government. And what they were doing, I realized, was a concrete incarnation of what Buchanan had written about. And that included things from the most draconian unemployment insurance changes that we had seen in the country, later a monster voter suppression bill, some of the most arch gerrymandering in the country, undermining public education, shifting resources to totally unaccountable private education providers. I mean, just the list goes on. And, I mean, I could tell you 30 things, if we had time, that they did in North Carolina. But that helped me to see what was going on.
And also, the person who’s crucial in North Carolina, as the journalist Jane Mayer pointed out, Art Pope, has been working with the Kochs for several decades now. And he actually used the phrase—his organization used the phrase “big bang” to describe what they were doing. And that’s a phrase that actually comes out of the George Mason operation that Koch funded by—someone that Charles Koch has worked with there for several years urged that if you want to push through this agenda, that most people do not want and would not support if they knew it was coming, you should have a big bang. He said you should have clustered big bangs. And that’s what we’ve seen all around the country.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain, clustered big bangs.
NANCY MacLEAN: Oh, meaning that you push things through very, very radically, a whole series of things. It’s like the shock-and-awe doctrine of warfare—right?—that you push out so much so quickly that people are utterly shocked. You know, they just don’t even know where to start to resist. And they can’t—they can’t respond to the whole panoply of measures. And while they’re shocked and dazed, you’ve effectively changed the terrain.
MORE > http://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/29/republicans_have_trifecta_control_of_25
It’s the shotgun method: they throw so much shit at you that you are overwhelmed. There is no time to deal with all of it. While you are carefully deconstructing one lie, they have put out ten more. The only way to deal with this shit storm is to take down those generating it. Don’t fall for a piecemeal approach – that’s playing into their hands.
Its interesting how delicate the feelings of some on the right are considering how rabid some of the responses to comments posted at online news sites are. Even after their bully/clown was elected they still seem threatened by opposing opinions. But I guess that is better than some zealots on the right at least they show some DOUBT.
Sorry Mike, you are flat out wrong.
Depicting the violent death of a living person who you oppose is not within the realm of civilised behaviour. But then, these days, the deranged left has come to represent the opposite of civilisation and civility.
Mike, stop supporting leftist incitement to political violence. The threat to democracy comes from the left these days. It seeks to impose a ideological singularity that can only be enforced with the usual murder of those who dissent, but this time with a happy face, for the sake of equity and safety.
Anon – “Mike, stop supporting leftist incitement to political violence. The threat to democracy comes from the left these days”
It’s no surprise the response of the so-called “right” to this Julius Caesar staging. There is a kind of collective madness in US society, absurd polarization, and it’s been festering for years. I maintain things seriously started going mad when we got Bush-whacked, and the US government started on its rampage Middle East and Africa killing spree. This last electoral campaign was like none other for madness. We are paying a national karmic price and unless we get this monster killer of government under control we are asking for a bad Roman ending to this mad orgy. Sticking to identity politics is no solution, we need some serious moral fiber.
Are you sure the bust is of Julius Caesar? It looks more like his eventual successor, Augustus, to me.
Me too – did someone say the right snowflakes know history not, seems that the left snowflakes know not a father from adopted son.
”We’ve established before that this is not a crowd that embraces a thoroughgoing knowledge of history in general, and it’s probably fair to assume a knowledge of theatrical history not at all. Elsewise they might realize that Julius Caesar is not a play that celebrates political violence but loudly condemns it.”
I guess Winship is referring to the far-right crowd. He sounds a bit like Hillary. But I wonder… who is the ‘we” that established the dumbness of this crowd?
Its just too bad he doesn’t have the same passionate hatred for the Israeli Zionist Neanderthals as he does for the American right.
We really have no idea who the Neandertals were, except that they had large brains and survived on this planet for very
much longer than Homo Sapiens has, without trashing it in the process. And for those interested, Zechariah Sitchin and
similar authors have very interesting theories about who the Jewish people are and how they came to be. An edict to
‘Mark All Boy Babies in the Flesh of their Foreskin’ might have originally been a convenient and easy way to keep track
of a genetic engineering project . . .
Sitchin has been completely and irrefutably discredited. Real language scholars have looked at the clay tablets he claimed to have decoded. None of them said what he claimed…not even close. The Nibiru stuff is absolute unadulterated nonsense. But if you enjoy being played for a fool by unscrupulous con artists, have at it. Erik vonDanikin is a fraud too, but if you bought Sitchin, you’ll buy anything.
” We really have no idea who the Neandertals were, except that they had large brains and survived on this planet for very much longer than Homo Sapiens has,””
OMG ! Is this commenter for real?
”According to genetic and fossil evidence, archaic ** Homo sapiens evolved to anatomically modern humans*** between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, with members of one branch leaving Africa by 60,000 years ago and over time replacing earlier human populations such as Neanderthals and Homo erectus.’
Some humans still carry some Neanderthal DNA…..you can get your DNA checked
Yes, I’m for real. And a good case can be made that our current dismissive attitude towards Neandertals
may be very similar to the 19th/early 20th century attitude of most Americans towards our Native population.
I think my chosen ‘comfort zone’ of the Continental Subarctic may be due to my Neandertal DNA.
Sorry you find the concept of homo sapiens being an experiment in genetic engineering so offensive.
It makes perfect sense to me. One does not have to ‘trust’ Zechariah Sitchin; the images on the Sumerian
cylinder seals (reproduced in his books) speak for themselves. No translation necessary.
The rich are addicted to money and power. What they have already is never enough; they are driven to get more and more. There is no crime they will not commit to feed their addiction. They are truly out of control and insane. It is no use trying to reason with them or restrain them, they are in the grip of a madness beyond their control. If the whole world might be destroyed by nuclear war, it does not matter to them in their pursuit of more and more.
A couple of years ago my wife and her brother went on a trip to England. One night when my wife and her brother attended the theater to see a Noel Coward play which was a comedy centered around the current Queen Elizabeth, my wife said, although she laughed heartily, she didn’t laugh as hard as this one theater audience member did who sat behind her during the hilarious Noel Coward show. That audience member was none other than the Queen’s son Price Charles.
The story we have of Caesar as a power-hungry megalomaniac is the myth created by his enemies who murdered him. He was a populist reformer and met his death because of his plan to return the lands the aristocracy had stolen from ordinary Roman citizens. Crassus, Cato, Cicero, the men who wrote the lies that about him that have come to us as history were the neocons, the Wall Streeters, the One Percenters of the Roman world.
Like Trump, Caesar took power in a nation vastly changed by its imperial conquests. Like us, the ancient Romans built a tiny agricultural settlement into a world-dominating empire magnificent beyond anything they initially set out to do. Their world crumbled into political anarchy, widespread poverty and starvation, and an aristocracy gone mad with greed, because they relied on the values which had brought them to greatness without understanding that those values now stood in the way of moving on to the next level of survival.
The form of governance that we inherited from the American republic cannot effectively manage a worldwide empire. We are witnessing the abandonment of our traditional form of government made necessary by our world conquests. Like Rome, we retain the institutions of liberty long after they have become empty symbols stripped of their power to safeguard our liberty.
I always look forward to your telling of history historicvs. What you wrote here today leans credence to why I’m no fan of ‘big’. Everything in the U.S. is big. Our schools are too big, our corporations are too big, our airports are too big, our media is too big, etc., etc., etc.. One of my reasons for not liking big, is that so far I have not see a management who can truly control big, or make big work for that matter. There is also safety in numbers, and the more you compact everything down into one big thing, the more probable it will be as a result towards losing it all in one big swoop.
“There’ll be one corporation selling one little box, and it’ll do what you want, and say what you want, and cost whatever you’ve got.- Greg Brown
Excellent insight. Thank you.
“At 36% to 37% in the latest polls, Donald Trump’s approval rating is in a ditch in what should still be the “honeymoon” period of his presidency. And yet, compared to Congress (25%), he’s a maestro of popularity. In fact, there’s just one institution in American society that gets uniformly staggeringly positive votes of “confidence” from Americans in polls and that’s the U.S. military (83%). And this should be the greatest mystery of them all…..” (TomDispatch) Great article.
Forget all the complicated ideas, and go back and read Charles Dickens. It hasn’t changed that much since he wrote his classics.
The rich will do everything in their power to pull the wool over your eyes; just rip it off and confront the naked reality of our situation, then you can decide what to do. As long as you play their games according to their rules, you will be lost in circles of endless confusion. Simplify, simplify.
Must see video:
Historian: Republican Push to Replace Obamacare Reflects Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
See also; http://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/29/republicans_have_trifecta_control_of_25
These are two salient signals of what right wing control of gov’t means for America.
OK. So I read the stuff about the Koch Bros. etc. It’s the same old story, the rich people want everything for themselves and nothing for the rest of us. So they hire a bunch of “intellectuals” to wrap their greedy plans in a bunch of books and ideas. The naked truth of their design is even too ugly for them to put in plain language, so they try to hide it in a serving of bullshit. You just have to ignore all that and realize it’s as simple as the rich against the poor. And if the poor suffer and die, the rich do not care one whit.
Hey, mild-ly facetious, have you been slumbering for many years now???
We’ve had a Right-Wing Government for the last , oh, 37 years or so. Since
Ronnie Reagan to Bushy One to Bubba & Hillaroid to Bushy Two to Barry OBomber, and
the Donald !!! Notice that Bubba & Hillaroid & OBomber are all from the
“Democratic Farty” !!!!!!! Are you still a Brainwashed follower of the “Democratic
Please watch the videos, orwell — take a good look at where we’re headed.
Find also emerging data on “Fed coin”.
As Republicans attempt to revive a bill to overturn Obamacare, we look at the radical right’s attempt to reshape the role of the federal government—from healthcare to education to housing. We speak with Duke University historian Nancy MacLean, author of the new book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.” MacLean also uncovers the instrumental role the late libertarian economist James Buchanan played in the right’s campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting and privatize schools.
As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempts to revive a bill to overturn Obamacare, we look today at the radical right’s attempt to reshape the role of the federal government—from healthcare to education to housing. While the Congressional Budget Office predicts 22 million would lose health insurance as a result of the Senate bill, some forces in the Republican Party, including the billionaire Koch brothers, say the bill does not go far enough. This comes as the Koch brothers recently announced plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million in the 2018 midterm elections. During a retreat last week, Charles Koch said, quote, “We are more optimistic now about what we can accomplish than we have ever been.”
Well, as the Koch Brothers gear up for the 2018 elections, we turn now to look at the ideological roots that have reshaped the Republican Party in recent decades. A new book by the historian Nancy MacLean uncovers the instrumental role the late libertarian economist James Buchanan played in the right’s campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize schools and curb democratic majority rule. Her book is titled “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America”. MacLean is a professor of history and public policy at Duke University.
Sorry Mike, no snowflake right or left here … but I thought it was disgusting and in very poor taste.
Disgraceful.The audience, as poet Friedrich Schiller observed in “Theater Considered As A Moral Institution,” should leave the theater better than when they entered it. The “Central Park Caesar” with its pornographic symbolic murder of the President, does the opposite. If the two protesters who shouted “You are all Goebbels,” made the audience uncomfortable it is because they were indeed being incited to support violence against this President, especially when viewed in the light of the unconscionable actions of “comedian” Kathy Griffin and Actor Jonny Depp. While Shakespeare did indeed write his plays with the intent of educating both the monarchy and the British people, he did so as metaphor, not with Caesar dressed as Elizabeth. Nor was Caesar dressed as President Washington when it was respectfilly performed in Philadelphia. Moreover, the author shows that he misunderstands the actual meaning of the play, so stated in Cassius’ famous reply to Brutus.,”the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves, in that we are underlings,” I.e.the blame for the demise of a Republic lies in the citizenry. One is reminded of the answer ot Ben Franklin to a Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia who asked “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic,ma’am, if you can keep it.” Ironically, it is those who cheer on the ongoing soft coup against the elected President of the United States.being directed by the so-called “deep state,” thoroughly documented on this site, show they understand neither Shakespeare nor Franklin.
You have a point. Anything that hints strongly at the assassination of a President is not only in bad taste, it is dangerous. We live in a nation with more than it’s share of nut cases. And your remarks about the real meaning of the play are quite accurate.
Full support for the above comments by J.D. and mike k.
Interesting and thoughtful comment, J.D.
My view is that this Director obviously chose to follow down the dumb
road of the dumb Saturday Night Live so-called “satire”, which is the lamest of the lame. Also, to cash in on the “novelty of the moment” , that is, the
ongoing “battle” between the Donald and the oxymoronic “Intelligence
Community ” and the equally oxymoronic “Democratic” wing of the Vicious
“bird of prey” , which is the Corporate Capitalist “Two Farty System”.
By all means, a Director has the right to interpret a theater work in any way
he or she chooses, but that interpretation is always open to criticism,
and this “Julius Caesar” seems to turn the tables on its Director.
In a buffoonish attempt to buffoon the character of Julius Caesar ,
I believe he insults Shakespeare’s work, and exhibits his own buffoonish
Meet the director….
Oskar Eustis …http://www.vogue.com/article/oskar-eustis-public-theater-artistic-director
Eustis says, “I was a fat, unhappy kid, and I got passionate about ideas in a way that most of the kids in my class would laugh at me. I felt completely alone in the world till I met the Jews and discovered theater.”
Eustis met the playwright Tony Kushner, whose first play, A Bright Room Called Day—a fanciful, lefty drama that draws parallels between Hitler’s Germany and Reagan’s America.
“I identify with the rage,” says Eustis. “For me, the equivalent is people who try to say things to cheer me up. They have this desperate need to believe that you can be fixed.”
Eustis literally carries the past with him, keeping his mother’s Communist Party membership card in his wallet
Behold the HYPOCRISY of the fat sad childhood leftist extremist ——>“The thing that’s new is that somebody is using the arts as a way of manipulating people and lying about the arts,” Eustis said. “That’s the new toxic element in our culture.”
Spare me the artsy fartsy malcontents and vanity idealist of the weirdo pissant left. Its no more ‘art’ than the homoerotic, sadomasochistic ,drinking urine porno art of Mapplethorpe in the 70’s.
This play was deliberate political provocation and they are not even creative enough to write anything original as a vehicle for their ‘politics’—they have to borrow from Sheakespere.
JD — “it is those who cheer on the ongoing soft coup against the elected President of the United States.being directed by the so-called “deep state,”
If you only knew how terrible wrong you are, JD — unless you’re in favor of the Right’s plan to totally remake American democracy.
See my video links below, if you will.
I’m no Shakespeare expert. I probably had to learn something about that play eons ago in school, but I don’t remember how Shakespeare portrayed Julius Caesar – I’m guessing he was a “bad guy”. But I remember very clearly how Michael Parenti dissected the saga. Julius Caesar dared to try and do something constructive for common people, and the elites murdered him for it. As I recall, Parenti’s interpretation of Julius Caesar made him out to be a character more reminiscent of JFK than Donald Trump: murdered by the elites for threatening their military industrial sacred cash cow. Parenti is a legitimate historian. Shakespeare wasn’t. Between dramatic license on the left and sanctimonious indignity on the right, Moyers & Co. have once again managed to expertly orchestrate “propaganda 4.0” – it’s the art of making the truth go away – just by telling it.
I don’t get your remark about Moyers?
You need to find out where Moyers was on 22 November, 1963. Does that clear things up?
Thanks for pointing this out. Moyers presents himself as being against the Deep State when actually he has always been firmly entrenched in it.
Exactly. And Moyers was a shuffle-butt defender of LBJ’s war policies while Dr. King and 1/2 the nation were in the streets trying to get him–LBJACKASS–to stop dropping napalm on ” those little yella people” as he called them. Then Moyers retreated into christianity and that worried old duffer look he constantly has and tried to take his unearned place as an elder statesman. I hate that guy.
You know, I keep discovering that people I’ve admired have clay feet. Depressing. One of them said, “Hold your nose and vote for Hillary.”
I remember the “hold your nose” thing. I thought about making some money by producing cloths pins with “Hillary 2016” emblazoned on the side for the “nose holders”.
Wow. I was two days old on 11/22/1963. They told me that the next day some president was shot in texas, and he died. Well , I certainly know where I was, and Bill Moyers must have been maybe a young twenty-something reporting from wherever. Should I know where Moyers was on the day that I was 48 hours old? Would my life be complete with this piece of information?
The reality is that democracy and freedom are under severe attack via a rightwing plan to take us back into the repressive era when corporate giants wrote all the rules and Pinkerton style muscle controlled the citizenry.
Trump’s presidency is based on fulfilling a truly RETROGRADE policy fully financed/funded by Ultra Right Wing Libertarian organizers,i.e. the Koch brothers, alt-right bigots and wealthy antagonists against the very idea of We The People.
Policies against water protections, defunding science and/or health research, destruction of unions, creation of methods of voter suppression– the entire gambit of backward-looking policies that can only Shrink freedoms. Their declared policy is to utterly destroy the Administrative State and establish an Every Man For Himself non-society.
There’ll be no “Rising Tide Lifting All Boats” but a nation of Every Man For Himself and God help those who cannot swim. The waters are already swilling and we’re headed into the descent into the maelstrom.
God Bless America as it’s being made Great Again – back to the days of robber barons and plantation owners.
Right on. You’ve got their agenda exactly. These are the robber barons in drag. Let’s remember who our real enemies are: rich people. Money is the index of power; those with lots of it got it by oppressive means, and they want more of it. Human greed is an illness abetted by the phony theories of capitalism. Everything you see and hear on CNN and other MSM is meant to make the rich more powerful, and the rest of us less able to do anything about it. We the people are the deplorable dispensables that only exist to be exploited by the real people – the rich and powerful. Our lives mean nothing to these neo-aristocrats. The political system, laws, money system are all there for the purpose of dominating the masses and ensuring that they have no real say in how the wealth of our the natural world and the fruits of labor in it is distributed.
‘Let’s remember who our real enemies are: rich people’ >>>>>
All rich people are the enemy?
Exactly, MildyF, and you must have noted that every Trump appointee was assigned an agency in order to destroy it. The deconstruction of democracy of any kind is well under way. These powerful wealthy people want every bit of government deconstructed. They make no secret of that. Just read today that Kentucky is passing a law that bible study will be in all their schools. Women in Missouri will not be allowed birth control and can be fired and refused apartment housing if they do not obey. Maybe these draconian laws won’t be enacted, but the sickening trend is rolling along.
I don’t think you understand what ‘libertarian’ means.
Unlike the Left we remain pro-civil liberties, Constitution, and anti-war no matter who is in office.
Meanwhile the Left’s collectivist, statist mindset is primarily about using coercion to limit dissent as it chips away at individual liberty and Constitutional restraints on government.
And look at how the Left cheered even Trump when he attacked Syria, illegally, based on credible evidence.
Good grief the hypocritical smugness… it is nauseating.
What happened to my comment? Is it not permissible to criticize Michael Winship or Bill Moyers?
Couple things; the bust image accompanying the article is of Octavius Caesar Augustus, and likening Trump to Julius Caesar is an outrageous affront to Caesar’s memory.
Also he was a genuine military leader and led his troops from the Front unlike today’s armchair generals.