Monday, January 4, 2010

Diversity XII: Old Dead White Guys

99 Seats goes off on folks like Thomas Garvey who bring up Shakespeare in every argument about diversity. Basically, it's the equivalent of Godwin's Law: You bring up Shakespeare, you lose. I don't know if I'd go quite so far as making it the Godwin's Law of theater, but the point is very well taken.

The argument is better phrased that there is no danger that Scott Walters, 99 Seats, or anyone is ever going to drive Shakespeare out of existence. (I'm producing Shakespeare right now!). So there's no danger in having Scott Walters, 99 Seats, or anyone pull as hard as they want to against Shakespeare. On the other hand, there is a very real danger that the diverse, vulnerable playwrights who aren't getting produced might get further trampled. So really, the concern for Shakespeare is far out-weighed by the concern for diversity.

The only reason I'm hesitant is because the Nth degree of this pull is David Byrne's belief that opry is so dead that we shouldn't teach anything but pop music. There's a lot of diversity that can come through even productions of the classics: maybe the playwright is old and dead, but The Classical Theatre of Harlem certainly fits one definition of diversity.

Still, 99 Seats' post just makes me smile because of:
Because no one ever says, "What about Rutherford B. Hayes?!?" Why? Because he kind of sucked. So didmost of the old dead white guys.
Damn straight, 99 Seats. Give mediocre Presidents the tongue-lashing they rightly deserve.