Thursday, December 24, 2009

Legitimacy IX: The Right To Speak

Not much that I want to say on my own, but if you seriously aren't reading 99Seats but are reading this blog (which seems really silly, you should fix that), take a look at this post on the lottery issue.

It encapsulates a bunch of issues but one of them has to do with a simultaneous debate that's raging alongside the debate itself, which is, Who has the right to take part in the debate?

That's a debate I am thoroughly disappointed by. I hate that debate. For instance, I used to read Leonard Jacobs' Clyde Fitch Report. But every time he would link to Isaac Butler at Parabasis he'd refer to Isaac as "trust fund baby Isaac Butler". He often had that sort of casual scorn for people, often based on where they're coming from. Maybe that's a virus that takes a hold of you when you start being a contributor to Fox. So I stopped following his blog, even though it's a wealth of information and a very good blog, simply because it feels unhealthy to me to sit around questioning "does so-and-so have the right to weigh in on this issue?"

We could sit around until the cows come home and debate it. Does Scott Walters have the right to talk about arts administration even though he hasn't been in "the shit"? Suppose Isaac Butler did come from a wealthier background (I have no idea -- he doesn't sign his posts with his parents' income level), can he still talk about ways of lifting up the poor? Does 99Seats have the right to weigh in the debate and keep his anonymity?

Ach who cares! We're not going to keep anyone out of the debate, what with this pernicious free speech thing and the problem that the internet doesn't pedigree people before they register.

I do think his Backdraft metaphor is worth the read. I would have gone with "economists and laborers" or something pedantic like that, but instead I get to be Billy Baldwin for the day.


isaac butler said...

Hey CF,

Thanks again for the shout out, and thanks for saying what you just said.

To provide a little history... a couple of years ago, I noticed that no one in theatre would talk about class, and that it was our dirty little secret. particularly amongst directors. I noticed that i could point to every single director who had "made it" in my age group and tell you exactly where their money came from (with the exception of Lear DeBessonet, who really did do shit like rent couches in apartments so she could afford to do theatre).

Anyway, as a gesture of good faith, i decided to start being open about my own money situation and how class had advantaged me.

The end result has been thus far that I came forward to talk about my own advantages, very few othe rpeople did, and now I get attacked and dismissed for it.

As you can imagine, this has made being open about myself on the blog difficult, but I still try to do it.

Leonard Jacobs said...

You're welcome not to follow me. And if you want to join the ranks of those who put IB on a pedestal, however unearned that might be, I understand. But I'll be watching you.

CultureFuture said...

Hi Leonard,
Somewhere between putting someone on a pedestal and casual dismissal is the respect that two people who don't know each other personally but know of each other's work can reserve for each other.

Anyways, thanks for dropping by, and Merry Christmas to both of you.

Leonard Jacobs said...

Actually, we did know each other personally and one screwed the other over. Then we agreed not to speak of each other ever again. And then a little bird informed me that one of us was doing precisely that. Not very seemly, so all bets are off.

Merry Christmas to you. And, as I said, I'll continue to follow you. And you're welcome not to follow me if that makes you feel better.