Monday, November 03, 2008

If You See Something Say Something |

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING, the title of Mike Daisey’s new monologue which he performs at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, is all about a bomb. The one he describes so vividly that he actually makes you see it.

Of course, that bomb is no less than the atomic bomb fired on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. It’s the bomb that was invented at Los Alamos. And Daisey takes us along on his tour of the research base and lab where the neutron bomb was invented, to the crater where it was first exploded, to the gift shop where tourists purchase key chains with replicas of the bomb. “Some people will use it” he says “for keys to their security” – their homes, cars, “and they will carry it through all the hours of the day.”

Daisey is a formidable writer whose radical political speak reveals an amazing depth and breadth of knowledge about his subject. He is also a fierce presenter, weaving in and out of autobiography, numerous different biographies and current events all of which chronicle the development of the military industrial complex and the American arms industry which has, according to Daisey, continually escalated since the end of World War II.

But if we are to take away one essential refrain, it is simply about the way Americans equate fear with security. There’s nothing new about that insight, but what Daisey finds in this oxymoron is a theme that carries through our history from the invention of the atom bomb to the post 9/11 world of Homeland Security.

5:27 PM