Finally, I understand Trump supporters, thanks to my friend Tony. Tony says Trump supporters are like rap music fans: It’s all about pussy and getting rich, showing off, pushing people around and buying things.
Screw reality: It’s all about attitude.
I haven’t come across a better explanation.
Tony is an artist who pays his bills by doing manual labor for a big right-wing newspaper. He’s a descendant of Sicilian immigrants, which gives him a leg up on understanding Donald Trump. Tony’s ancestors and Trump’s may have come over on the same boat. But Tony is a native-born U.S. citizen.
Nonetheless, I’ve changed his name, because you never know these days. Some of those elite news barons will fire you in a minute for obstructing Donald. They really will.
“They’re exactly the same!” Tony said of Trump supporters and hip-hop fans, in a phone call from his undisclosed location to mine.
“You can tell them it’s just a tasteless, cruel fantasy, about raping women, beating people up and buying things, but they don’t care. All they care about is the attitude.”
We hung up and I opened my Sunday Times to see the shocking news that — brace yourself — the New York Public Theater is producing Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” at Shakespeare in the Park.
The elite, lamestream right-wing media is incensed at this, because this Caesar has poofty blond hair and wears a long red tie that falls all the way down to his tiny Julius.
Bank of America and Delta Airlines pulled their support from Shakespeare in the Park. Fox News, of course, called it an outrage. American Express boldly announced that none of its money was involved with this Caesar, which is free to the public.
Shakespearean actors: Damn socialists.
Even Donald Trump Jr. got into the act, tweeting: “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”
Let me answer that: None, and No.
“No taxpayer dollars support Shakespeare in the Park’s production of ‘Julius Caesar,’” the National Endowment for the Arts said.
And since when have we been putting Shakespeare’s plays in sneer quotes?
Don Jr. appears to be as ignorant as his father, so let me clarify: When “art” becomes “political speech” it does not change a goddamn thing.
The Funeral March of Beethoven’s Third Symphony, for example, is an implicit criticism of Napoleon, for declaring himself emperor. Does that “change things”? Should God-fearing Frenchmen insist that the Eroica be performed, if at all, without its second movement?
Stalin damn near executed Shostakovich for the finale of his Fourth Symphony.
But here we may be hitting a bit too close to home.
With all the insanity that masquerades as government in Washington today, is a play that Shakespeare wrote in 1599 really worth getting hot and bothered about?
Should we deport Shakespeare? And all of his actors?
Many moons ago (625 moons exactly) Alfred Harbage wrote a page about the ceremonial apologies that Shakespeare tacked onto the end of his comedies. Shakespeare himself may have taken the stage to recite them. The concluding apology, Harbage wrote, “is only a bow … a gesture of humility after a display of power, in theater (or) concert hall.”
The tradition is preserved in concert halls today, where even the most egotistic of performers will bow to the audience and the conductor — be the humility false or not.
Hip-hoppers just drop the mike and walk offstage — leaving their audience with a gesture of contempt. Just like the Donald. Has anyone seen the tiniest gesture of humility from him, ever, about anything?
To ask the illustrious Donald or any of his fellow pussy-grabbing hip-hoppers to carry on the moldy traditions of Shakespeare or Beethoven would be, of course, supererogatory.
“Comparisons are odorous,” Constable Dogberry said. But that which we call a stench, by any other name, smells the same.