Friday, July 18, 2008

In Mr. Hall's Friday roundup he spares a few words for the argument we've been having. I won't go so far as to say he responds—it's more accurate to say he picks and chooses a few sentences and ignores the bulk of what I've been saying.

"The thing is, there's a pretty big difference with stating an analogy is bullshit and actually proving it is - see Mike? It's an analogy. You can't prove it one way or the other. Arrogant dick."

This is pedantry, and poor pedantry at that. One can certainly assert that an analogy is worthless as it doesn't reflect the actual realities of a situation, which is an argument I've made at length both here and here. If Don isn't capable of addressing any of these arguments, then we're done with this.

In my earlier post I asked that he stop addressing my positions if he won't engage with the actual arguments—to this his response is:

"Then don't read my blog."

I can only assume this means that things won't be changing soon, and whether it's simple intellectual laziness or a descent into the kind of smirking debate tactics I associate more with our president than the theatrical community, c'est la vie.

"What I have read, though, seems pretty fixated on how actors don't make any money and how those regional theaters are fucking over the artist while paying you a check to say it. Not a bad gig, biting that hand that feeds you."

Though you simplify and crassify what I do, and reduce it to one work, this is accurate. As an independent artist I demand accountability from institutions for my work because I have carved out a position that makes that possible. I demand accountability from my industry because I know it is right, and I'm doing what I can to foment change in the arenas that I work within—and both I and my art are mindful of my responsibility.

"There are a few folks I know who have been able to straddle the line and perform selling soap for bread and performing theater for the art of it, but when the money calls, the theater gets the short end."

I've worked in both arenas—I performed for years in the garage theaters of Seattle without the possibility of a dime, and now I work in the national arena. HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA is in part about those two universes, and what they have to say to one another. While you have experience in one of these worlds, I don't think you have it in both, or your argument would have more depth, texture, and humanity to it. It's facile.

"I'll admit, while you have an amazing ability to skewer those analogies of others because they paint a picture of yourself you're not pleased with..."

When and if you actually address any of the very real responses to your bad analogy, we'll talk again. Until then Psych 101 routine doesn't do you any credit.

Now things take a left-turn back into pedantry:

"...your own analogies are ridiculously overblown. An actor makes a choice to stop acting and you equate it with Death?"

Let's look at what I actually said:

"And now you connect the death of my good friend's career..."

This is a bog-standard expression, and clearly "death" here is being use to refer to the end of the career in question, not Death in his grim robes coming with a scythe. Only a fucking moron would actually think otherwise, or someone desperate for a rhetorical point who doesn't have the stomach to argue something out, as they will lose.

In other matters, A number of people have taken issue with a somewhat colorful invective I used at the end of my last post, and have accused me of making the fight personal. I'd urge those people to read again the
post I responded to, and my response itself—I think it's clear who introduced the personal.

Still, it's never attractive to stoop to the level of others, but let me return to the paragraph I wrote just before my outburst:

"And now you connect the death of my good friend's career, after years of her selflessly devoting herself to the American theater and being highly lauded for that work, with a nine-year-old deciding not to play skeeball anymore."

Mr. Hall does not contest any of that, so I can only assume that my interpretation of what he was trying to communicate is valid and confirmed by him. So I will add only this—early in the piece, Hall states:

"As you point out, I've not seen your work - and if you ever come to Chicago - actually in October at the MCA - I'll be there in the front row, fucking myself in the eye with a knife."

You misunderstood me. Please take care of that before October.

4:37 PM