Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two Corrections

I kind of like The Guardian's blog's "Noises Off" feature. It always signals to me the moment a debate has been over for a little bit and it's time to summarize it. Journalism is supposed to be the first draft of history, but the "Noises Off" feature is basically the second draft: rarely is The Guardian's blog a primary source of discussion, but it's a nice way to round up everything that went on. At any rate, if I want to link to a complex discussion (like the one we had about Quality/Diversity or the one we had about Thomas Garvey -- good times!), it's a lot easier to link to their index-of-important-moments than to try and hit all the original posts myself.

That being said, they don't always get it exactly right (as is always the case with the second draft of history. And I thought it would be worthwhile to correct two quick points, both in reference to myself.

Firstly, in this post, I'm described as an "actor-turned-playwright." That makes it sound like I don't perform anymore... contrary to popular belief, I do still act! In fact, if you want to see me act, my show is still running this week:

Thursday at 9:30 PM
Friday at 7:30 PM
Saturday at 2:00 PM and 8:30 PM

All at 721 Broadway's 2nd floor Shop Theater. I'd love to see you there, and you can see for yourself that I still perform. Granted, I also wrote the play, but I am a performer!


Secondly, in this post, my brief response to Nick Clegg's liking Samuel Beckett is summed up in the sentence, "Clegg did come in for criticism from some quarters." Actually, when I said that "As usual, liking theatre is apparently on par with the worst opinions of bigots towards black community members," I was not criticizing Clegg, I was criticizing the horrible cultural atmosphere we have that makes Clegg's statement so rare.

I'd much prefer if Clegg's statement was the norm, just one of many intellectual acknowledgments that politicians made. Instead, it landed in the cultural sphere like a bombshell -- Somebody cares about us! The implication behind all of the glowing praise of Clegg was, "How politically risky it is to approve of the arts!" That's what I meant. That's the problem. Certainly I didn't criticize Clegg for not playing into it.

Also, I do have to say that this mischaracterization of my meaning (which I will accept some responsibility for, because that was kind of a throwaway post) does come at least in some part because of the common journalistic formula that gets applied often, not only here but in many media. The formula goes something like:

Token Liberal said: XXXXX

Token Liberal 2 agreed, saying YYYYY. Token Liberal 3 explained further, ZZZZZZ.

Not everyone agreed with Token Liberal, however. Token Conservative said AAAAAAA. Another Token Conservative said BBBBBBB.

Obviously that's almost insultingly reductive, (and I'm using Liberal/Conservative in place of any reductive "with-us-or-against-us" mentality) but when I saw how I was quoted in the Noises Off it seemed to me that I was suffered by being shoehorned into the wrong paragraph.

Just setting the record straight.

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