Saturday, July 31, 2010

busy busy busy

Now that I've decompressed from JULIA & BUDDY it's on to the next projects:

Write Act II of J&B - set on a sailboat, with a "video clip" of Buddy performing in The Cassandra Directive, which began life as a parody of an actual - if obscure - movie.

Finish PALMYRA NJ which has been floating around for a year now. It's a full-length play loosely based on hippie commune-esque adventures I had back in the day with my pothead ex-husband and various friends, pagans and junkies. Ah youth.

Get a first draft finished of CELIA, my play about an ante-bellum slave with the Tom Sawyer-esque love interest.

Not to mention all the database development I have to do for the NYCPlaywrights web site. Oy.

Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.

Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, July 30, 2010


Six syllables.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Angels in America - in September!

I love Tony Kushner as much as I despise David Mamet. And so I am ecstatic that the Signature Theater Company is doing a production of ANGELS IN AMERICA, which I have never seen live, although I adore the HBO version. Tickets on sale August 3 - ONLY $20!!!

The show opens September 14.

The entire HBO production is apparently on YouTube for free. This can't last - so watch it while you can.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ad feminam

I thought I invented the term ad feminam but it turns out it's been around quite a while:
A term coined in 1963. Modeled on the much older ad hominem, it refers to attempts to defeat an argument rooted in sexist prejudice against women. [1][2] The term is most frequently used in this sense in feminist philosophy, to note systemic tendencies to discredit opinions of women.
The practice of course has been around much longer than that.

I was reminded of this because the blogger Digby (a woman but nobody knew that for a long time and many were surprised when she came out of the closet) recently wrote about a right-wing blogger attacking a female political candidate for having large breasts. Apparently he finds them gross. This has nothing to do with her qualities as a politician, but that's typical. Pretty much any woman facing down small-minded creeps will be hit with an ad-feminam attack.

Misogynists will always find some aspect of your appearance to attack. Or they will make references to sexual acts or even make sexual threats.

My own experiences include attacks from anti-abortion protestors, when I was doing clinic defense in the 1990s. I have some of these attacks on videotape - but on VHS so it will be a huge pain to transfer them to digital, but I will have to do it one of these days. Anyway, the very favorite way to attack women doing clinic defense was to tell us we were ugly, and also lesbians. Now beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I'm about as straight as they come, although totally pro-gay rights. I suspect that they think "lesbian" is just as much of an insult as "ugly."

It's not only hard-core rightwingers though. Ad feminam attacks can come from anywhere. I blogged about it in March of this year - off off Broadway - adventures with creeps.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Orwell on Dickens

George Orwell wrote a very interesting essay about Charles Dickens.

One crying evil of his time that Dickens says very little about is child labour. There are plenty of pictures of suffering children in his books, but usually they are suffering in schools rather than in factories. The one detailed account of child labour that he gives is the description in DAVID COPPERFIELD of little David washing bottles in Murdstone & Grinby's warehouse. This, of course, is autobiography. Dickens himself, at the age of ten, had worked in Warren's blacking factory in the Strand, very much as he describes it here. It was a terribly bitter memory to him, partly because he felt the whole incident to be discreditable to his parents, and he even concealed it from his wife till long after they were married.

Looking back on this period, he says in DAVID COPPERFIELD:

It is a matter of some surprise to me, even now, that I can have been so easily thrown away at such an age. A child of excellent abilities and with strong powers of observation, quick, eager, delicate, and soon hurt bodily or mentally, it seems wonderful to me that nobody should have made any sign in my behalf. But none was made; and I became, at ten years old, a little labouring hind in the service of Murdstone & Grinby.

And again, having described the rough boys among whom he worked:

No words can express the secret agony of my soul as I sunk into this companionship... and felt my hopes of growing up to be a learned and
distinguished man crushed in my bosom.

Obviously it is not David Copperfield who is speaking, it is Dickens himself. He uses almost the same words in the autobiography that he began and abandoned a few months earlier. Of course Dickens is right in saying that a gifted child ought not to work ten hours a day pasting labels on bottles, but what he does not say is that NO child ought to be condemned to such a fate, and there is no reason for inferring that he thinks it. David escapes from the warehouse, but Mick Walker and Mealy Potatoes and the others are still there, and there is no sign that this troubles Dickens particularly. As usual, he displays no consciousness that the STRUCTURE of society can be changed. He despises politics, does not believe that any good can come out of Parliament - he had been a Parliamentary shorthand writer, which was no doubt a disillusioning experience - and he is slightly hostile to the most hopeful movement of his day, trade unionism. In HARD TIMES trade unionism is represented as something not much better than a racket, something that happens because employers are not sufficiently paternal. Stephen Blackpool's refusal to join the union is rather a virtue in Dickens's eyes. Also, as Mr. Jackson has pointed out, the apprentices' association in BARNABY RUDGE, to which Sim Tappertit belongs, is probably a hit at the illegal or barely legal unions of Dickens's own day, with their secret assemblies, passwords and so forth. Obviously he wants the workers to be decently treated, but there is no sign that he wants them to take their destiny into their own hands, least of all by open violence.

Monday, July 26, 2010

awesome piece on the Shirley Sherrod smear case from Frank Rich

There's a Battle Outside and It Is Still Ragin'
That story began on July 13, when the N.A.A.C.P. passed a resolution calling on the Tea Party to expel "racist elements" in its ranks. No sooner had Tea Party adherents and defenders angrily denied that such elements amounted to anything more than a few fringe nuts than Mark Williams, the spokesman and past chairman of the Tea Party Express, piped up. He slapped a "parody" on the Web — a letter from "colored people" to Abraham Lincoln berating him as "the greatest racist ever" and complaining about "that whole emancipation thing" because "freedom means having to work for real."

Williams had hurled similar slurs for months, but now that the N.A.A.C.P. had cast a spotlight on the Tea Party's racist elements, he was belatedly excommunicated by the leader of another Tea Party organization. In truth, it's not clear that any group in this scattered movement has authority over any other. But one thing was certain: the N.A.A.C.P. was wrong to demand that the Tea Party disown its racist fringe. It should have made that demand of the G.O.P. instead.

The Tea Party Express fronted by Williams is an indisputable Republican subsidiary. It was created by prominent G.O.P. political consultants in California and raises money for G.O.P. candidates, including Sharron Angle, Harry Reid's Senate opponent in Nevada. But Republican leaders, presiding over a Congressional delegation with no blacks and a party that nearly mirrors it, remain in hiding whenever racial controversies break out under their tent. "I am not interested in getting into that debate," said Mitch McConnell last week.

Once Williams was disowned by other Tea Partiers, Breitbart posted the bogus Sherrod video as revenge under the headline "Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism." To portray whites as the victims of racist blacks has been a weapon of the right from the moment desegregation started to empower previously subjugated minorities in the 1960s. But its deployment has accelerated with the ascent of a black president. The pace is set by right-wing stars like Glenn Beck, who on Fox branded Barack Obama a racist with "a deep-seated hatred for white people," and the ever-opportunistic Newt Gingrich, who on Twitter maligned Sonia Sotomayor as a "Latina woman racist."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nancy G been out of the loop

I just heard this song for the first time today thanks to an Internet radio station - I thought it was from the 1970s until I did a search on the lyrics. Wow is this a good song - and it came out in 2006. Where the hell I been?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, David Brock

Well technically his birthday was yesterday, but I was too busy ranting about David Mamet. And speaking of teabaggers, David Brock does such wonderful work with his Media Matters for America site. The site is tackling the Shirley Sherrod controversy at full force.

See, in the real world, the right-wing attack machine plays "who's the racist" and smears people, notably two black women, Michelle Obama and Shirley Sherrod as racist by taking their words out of context.

In Mamet's world, black women are seething with hatred at whitey and will do anything to hurt the poor white man, including false rape charges AND destroying their own promising law career to do it. Actually both OLEANNA and RACE include a woman falsely accusing a man of rape. Mamet's pretty paranoid about that. You'd never know from Mamet that rapists get away with rape much more often than women falsely accuse men of rape. No, in Mamet's world the poor man is always the victim of dastardly feminine machinations.

Mamet also says stupid things about theatre, causing the blogger at Parabasis to ask: "Does David Mamet Go To The Theatre?
The second excerpt is particularly embarrassing, as Mamet straw-mans with abandon:

The theatre has become vastly political in my lifetime. Where once we had "weepers" (matinee structures featuring women abandoned, impregnated, deserted by their children or spouse, in a survival of the Victorian sensation novel), in the 1960s we began to see this love of melodrama recast as politics, giving the weeping audience not only the pleasure of a good cry, but also a pat on the back for knowing that group X were people, too. All right. The villain always has a waxed mustache, or can be counted on to stand for social positions that have vanished from our country everywhere but on the stage.

Old style:

"You must pay the rent."

"I can't pay the rent."

New style:

"You weak and unacceptable woman, homosexual, African American, go away, I do not want you."

"But, does no one see that we are people, too . . . ?"

Same thing.

It is easy to write this play, as the course of events is known, and one may simply paint in the spaces, according to the predrawn, paint-by-numbers pattern. But the light is not good in the alley. And the alley is the dark, hidden, forbidden human. A trip down into that alley, for the writer or actor, may be disturbing, revolting, frightening – for that is where the monster of our self lives, and there we may find not only the falsity of our constructed personality, but also the truth of our feverishly suppressed perceptions.

This has the benefit of feeling true without actually being true in the slightest. Yes, it is generally better when plays take the trip that Mamet describes above. At the same time, I can't think of a single play produced in an Off- or Broadway house in the last five years that actually fits the description of identity politics driven political thatre that Mamet is talking about. And neither can he, or else he'd name a few. I can think of maybe one or two performed in a basement somewhere written by a twenty three year old is beside the point, keep in mind these essays are both about mainstream American theatre with an emphasis on Broadway. I can also think of plays that were more journalistic in nature, and thus probed more deeply the external rather than internal realities of their subjects, but that's not what Mamet is talking about here.

Parabasis also has something very astute to say about critic John Simon, who, cranky old racist coot that he is, predictably loved the slanted bullshit of RACE:
Funny quote from John Simon on Mamet's Race...: [Mamet] has boldly asserted that our 230-year national experience has been a dialogue about race.

This is more revealing of John Simon's politics than anything else. There's nothing bold about the assertion that the race is the song of America... in progressive circles. Its only in Conservative circles-- since conservatives want to perpetuate the myth that we all of a sudden live in a colorblind meritocracy despite the structural embedding of discrimination thanks to that pesky thing called history-- that saying that something like that would be considered "bold".

About eight years ago I heard John Simon, on an episode of Theatre Talk, proclaim that Suzan-Lori Parks was a "social climber" because she married a white man.

But back to David Brock, who is the political mirror image of David Mamet - Brock started out as a conservative and then switched to liberal when he saw the right-wing smear machine at work from the inside. And what finally made him wise up? His participation in the right-wing machine's smearing of yet another black woman, Anita Hill.

From Wikipedia:
In 1986, [Brock] joined the staff of the weekly conservative news magazine Insight on the News, a sister publication of The Washington Times. After a stint as a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, in March 1992 Brock authored a sharply critical story about Clarence Thomas' accuser, Anita Hill, in The American Spectator magazine, in which he said Hill might be "a bit nutty and a bit slutty." A little over a year later, in April 1993, Brock published a book titled The Real Anita Hill which expanded upon previous assertions that had cast doubt on the veracity of Anita Hill's claims of sexual harassment.

The book became a best-seller. It was later attacked in a book review in The New Yorker by Jane Mayer, a reporter for The New Yorker, and Jill Abramson, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. The two later expanded their article into the book Strange Justice, which cast Anita Hill in a much more sympathetic light. It, too, was a best-seller. Brock replied to their book with a book review of his own in The American Spectator.

Brock said of the Anita Hill incident:
The biggest problem raised by the Strange Justice authors for the Thomas camp was the testimony of yet another woman, Kaye Savage, who had not been heard from during the first round of hearings. Savage made the claim... that she had seen Playboy pinups papered along the walls of Thomas's apartment in the early 1980s, when she and Thomas had been friends and Anita Hill was working for Thomas...

...Mark (Paoletta) phoned me back. He said he had posed my question about how to discredit Savage to (Clarence) Thomas, who knew I was at work on a review of the Mayer and Abramson book. Mark told me that Thomas had, in fact, some derogatory information on his former friend Savage; he passed it along to Mark so that Mark could give it to me. Quoting Thomas directly, Mark told me of unverified, embarrassing personal information about Savage that Thomas claimed had been raised against her in a sealed court record of a divorce and child custody battle more than a decade ago. Thomas also told Mark where Savage worked after Mark related that I was eager to hunt her down as soon as possible. Surely skirting the bounds of judicial propriety to intimidate and smear yet another witness against him, Thomas was playing dirty, and so was I.

...I grilled Savage, a mild-mannered, middle-aged African American civil servant, with the menacing threat of a personal exposure hanging in the background. I then told her that she could either cooperate with me and give me what I needed to discredit Strange Justice, or I would have to discredit her as a witness by disclosing whatever personal information I had about her, just as I had blackened the reputation of all the other women who had come forward with damaging information about Thomas. In the face of this threat, Savage refused to recant her accusations. I continued to press for anything I could get her to say to blunt the impact of her accusation. We agreed that Savage would give me a written statement in which she would say the Strange Justice authors had distorted and sensationalized her quotes. When I got back to my office at the Spectator, Savage faxed me a statement, but it was too weak to be of any use: the Strange Justice account would still stand. I called Savage at her office and insisted on some changes that would allow me to cast at least some doubt on the way Mayer and Abramson had quoted her. After a struggle on the phone in which I renewed my threats, Savage made some handwritten changes to the document and faxed it to me again... I knew Savage had given me enought to work with so that I could use the statement in my review to make it appear as though she had recanted the story, which in fact she had not.

...I next set out to blow away the Mayer and Abramson story that Thomas had been a frequent customer of an X-rated video store near Dupont Circle, called Graffiti, where in the early 1980s he was alleged to have rented X-rated videos of the type that Hill claimed he had discussed with her in graphic terms. In the hearings, Thomas had pointedly refused to answer questions about his personal use of pornography other than to categorically deny that he had ever talked about porn with Hill. The Graffitti story was another theretofore unknown piece of evidence for Hill's case, and it was a powerful counterpoint to the prudish image of Thomas presented by supporters like Armstrong Williams and repeated by me in The Real Anita Hill. Now that Mark had opened up a channel directly to Thomas, I asked him to find out for me whether Thomas had owned the video equipment needed to view movies at home in the early 1980s. Such equipment was not then as commonly used as it was in the mid-1990s, and I figured if I could assert in the review that Thomas had no way of watching the movies, the matter would be settled definitively.

Mark came back with a straightforward answer: Thomas not only had the video equipment in his apartment, but he also habitually rented pornographic movies from Graffiti during the years that Anita Hill worked for him, just as Mayer and Abramson reported. Here was the proof that the Senate investigators and reporters had been searching for during the hearings. Mark, of course, was still a true believer in Thomas's innocence. He couldn't see the porn rentals as at all significant. To Mark, Hill was still a liar despite suggestions to the contrary. But I had some distance from Thomas and I was troubled by the damaging report. It made Hill's entire story much more plausible. I can still remember exactly where I was sitting when Mark let me in on what had to have been one of the most closely guarded secrets within the Thomas camp, a secret, no doubt, that had been kept for three years among Thomas's most trusted advisers.

Brock eventually came clean and wrote Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative. Which I own, in hardcover.

Another article about David Brock.

So I guess this post is the story of two Davids, a formerly-right-wing liberal who used to do crap and now does good work, and a formerly-liberal right-winger who used to do good work and now does crap.

UPDATE: Andrew Breitbart, the teabagger responsible for the Shirley Sherrod smear, runs a blog called "Big Hollywood." The reviewer there, predictably, adored RACE:
A major piece of evidence in the case is a twenty-year-old postcard written by the accused man which contains inflammatory language about black women. This is held up as more critical to proving his guilt as a rapist than any physical evidence at the scene of the crime. It is taken as a given that a rich white man who appears to hold a prejudice against black women will be assumed to be guilty of this heinous crime. Thus, political correctness replaces jurisprudence and the constitutional presumption of innocence.

Welcome to the Politically Correct world we inhabit.

And this is the world Mamet wants to expose. Ever since his landmark play “Oleanna” which was written in the wake of the Clarence Thomas hearings, the playwright has been at his best when he shows us the roaches that live behind America’s proverbial refrigerator but only scatter when he shines his flashlight on them.

Yes, take it from the Breitbart smear machine, that heroic David Mamet is ready to stand heroically against the Mamet strawmen of political correctness.

Friday, July 23, 2010

David Mamet is a teabagger

*** This post contains spoilers about RACE by David Mamet ***

I can't believe that nobody except me and a right-winger picked up on the similarity between the straw-woman character Susan in RACE with her crazed college thesis, and the vicious, out-of-context misrepresentation of Michelle Obama's college thesis that was trumpeted by the right-wing smear machine.

To quote one of the emails that went around during the 2008 election and reprinted on the web sites of many teabaggers:
Michele Obama clearly has a chip on her shoulder.

Not only does she see separate black and white societies in America, but also she elevates black over white in her world.

Michelle Obama does not look into a crowd of Obama supporters and see Americans. She sees black people and white people eternally conflicted with one another.
The last sentence is an EXACT description of Susan's thesis.

Fox News' Sean Hannity also promoted the smear.

The urban legend web site explains:
Much scrutiny and discussion has been focused on a single phrase contained within the thesis, the statement that "blacks must join in solidarity to combat a white oppressor." This phrase has repeatedly been quoted out of context and presented as if it reflected Michelle Obama's own philosophy, but in its full context it is clearly her speculation about what she thought some of the respondents she surveyed for her thesis (i.e., students who had attended Princeton in earlier years) might have been feeling:

As discussed earlier, most respondents were attending Princeton during the 70's, at a time when the Black Power Movement was still influencing the attitudes of many Blacks.

It is possible that Black individuals either chose to or felt pressure to come together with other Blacks on campus because of the belief that Blacks must join in solidarity to combat a White oppressor. As the few blacks in a white environment it is understandable that respondents might have felt a need to look out for one another.

The Tea Party as such was not around during the 2008 election, but this incident is strikingly similar to the recent Shirley Sherrod case - a black woman smeared as a racist when her words were taken out of context - and this time they did some real damage.

Here is a piece of "satire" recently written by Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams:
Dear Mr. Lincoln

We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!

In fact we held a big meeting and took a vote in Kansas City this week. We voted to condemn a political revival of that old abolitionist spirit called the 'tea party movement'.

The tea party position to "end the bailouts" for example is just silly. Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn't that what we want all Coloreds to strive for? What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to us coloreds! Of course, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the only responsible party that should be granted the right to disperse the funds.

And the ridiculous idea of "reduce[ing] the size and intrusiveness of government." What kind of massa would ever not want to control my life? As Coloreds we must have somebody care for us otherwise we would be on our own, have to think for ourselves and make decisions!

The racist tea parties also demand that the government "stop the out of control spending." Again, they directly target coloreds. That means we Coloreds would have to compete for jobs like everybody else and that is just not right.

Perhaps the most racist point of all in the tea parties is their demand that government "stop raising our taxes." That is outrageous! How will we coloreds ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Totally racist! The tea party expects coloreds to be productive members of society?

Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house. Please repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments and let us get back to where we belong.


Precious Ben Jealous, Tom's Nephew
NAACP Head Colored Person
As blogger Lindsay Beyerstein notes:
Last week, the NAACP passed a resolution at its annual convention asking Tea Party leaders to condemn the racists in their ranks. The NAACP was right on the money. Regardless of whether you think the average Tea Party supporter is racist, overt racists regularly show up and make headlines at their events. Tea Party leaders would have you believe that they're a fringe element that is absolutely not representative of the core values of the Tea Party. So, the leaders should be only too eager to publicly distance themselves from the ugly fringe, right?

Wrong. Instead, one major Tea Party group doubled down, accusing the NAACP of racism.

The large and influential Tea Party Express withdrew from the National Tea Party Federation rather than rebuke TPE executive director Mark Williams for a satirical blog post in the voice of "Precious Benjamin Jealous", "Tom’s Nephew National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Head Colored Person"[sic]. (The current president of the NAACP is named Benjamin Todd Jealous.)

Williams later tried to defend himself by saying that the piece was satirical, that he was using the absurd to illustrate the absurd. Satire to underscore an offensive point is still offensive. The point Williams was trying to drive home with all the juicy stereotypes about "coloreds" and their "wide screen TVs" is that anyone who thinks the Tea Party is racist is the real racist for wanting to perpetuate slavery.

This is the kind of bizarro hall-of-mirrors logic that typifies the Tea Party rhetoric around race. Their favorite language game is "Who's the Real Racist"? Whenever anyone accuses the Tea Party of racism, they accuse the accuser of racism.

This game of Who's the Real Racist is a game that David Mamet likes to play too. In an essay he wrote for the NYTimes right before RACE opened he quotes Chris Rock:
Chris Rock, in his last tour, addressed the subject of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and asked, rhetorically and on behalf of the whites in the audience: Is it possible that a 70-year-old black man hates the whites? Let me enlighten you. You cannot find a 70-year-old black man who does not hate the whites.

This made sense to me. (I apologize to the esteemed Mr. Rock for what I am sure is a clunky paraphrase.)

Presumably because Chris Rock is black and therefore in Mamet's mind an authority on the racial views of 70-year-old black men, it's OK for Mamet to agree with this incredibly racist statement. Imagine for a moment if Michelle Obama said: "you cannot find a 70-year-old white man who does not hate the blacks."

Mamet then goes on to his very favorite tactic, false equivalence:

There has always been, at the very least, a little bit of hate between blacks and whites in this country, with each side, in its turn, taking advantage of its political strength (as who does not?). But that relationship is also perhaps like a marriage. Both sides at different times are bitching, and both at different times are bailing, but we’re all in the same boat.
You see it's a level playing field. Blacks taking advantage of political strength is the equivalent of hundreds of years during which whites held blacks in slavery, plus another hundred years of terrorism, bigotry, vote supression etc. etc.

RACE is full of the constant drumbeat of blacks hate whites, whites hate blacks over and over again, in between the incessant lawyer jokes. Mamet's message is clearly along the lines of, hey, let's not argue about who is the victim - we ALL are because we are ALL racists and liars.

The rightwing loves false equivalence as Media Matters for America documents.

And as in OLEANNA, Mamet completely stacks the deck. Even though it seems like he's saying we are all equal in our racial hatred, the villain of the piece is Susan (all the other characters get last names) who is basically inhuman and possesses a Terminator-like obsession to get whitey.

I am quite serious. The character has nothing to say about anything except race. She doesn't appear to have any friends, or relatives, or hobbies, or even very much to do in the law office where the entire play is set. She is presented as a bright woman with an Ivy-league law degree, she has talent the white lawyer guy says. But she throws it all away in order to set up her law firm, make them take a case and then make sure they lose the case. She destroys her own career, which presumably she worked very hard for. So that she can hurt a colleague who is fond of her.

And the final proof given for her insane obsessive hatred for whitey is when a portion of her thesis is read aloud during the play. (I will get down the the Dramatists Book Store soon and copy it down and post it here.)

Susan is a straw-woman like Carol from OLEANNA, but she is an even more fearsome invention than Carol. Carol is clearly a pawn of The Group, as I wrote about in my essay about OLEANNA History is Written by the Winners, and can only work her dastardly will on John through the amazing influence and reach of The Group, with its daring scheme to censor heroic John's work through a trumped up rape charge.

But Susan - wow, she is amazing! She seems to have no need for the corrupting influences of a Group, she soaked up the evil all on her own, from the very reverse-racist atmosphere of Academia itself. And she executes her scheme to destroy poor white lawyer guy - making sure that they take the case, making witnesses change their testimony all by her lonesome. But maybe she doesn't care that she completely destroyed her legal career - with those powers she could get a gig as a Super Villain in any comic book universe.

I mentioned one right-winger got it, Harry Stein writing in the City Journal:
Late in David Mamet’s recently premiered Race, something happens that, for those accustomed to the pro forma left-liberalism of typical Broadway fare, is little short of stunning. The play deals with a black-white legal team defending a prominent white client accused of raping a powerless, young black woman. They’ve just learned that the centerpiece of their ingenious strategy to prove his innocence was leaked to the prosecution—the culprit being their stylish, newly minted female black associate, the protégé of the white, liberal attorney (James Spader). The black attorney (David Allen Grier) is irate. He’d warned his partner not to hire her, knowing from the start that she’d be trouble, that she’d put race loyalty above the firm’s interests and even the truth. How could he have known all that, wonders his chastened colleague? Grier stalks over to a file, pulls out the young woman’s college thesis, and begins reading aloud. It's full of the inchoate, anti-white rage characteristic of such efforts - indeed, it recalls Michelle Obama's at Princeton. You think you know this woman, Greer tells Spader; you think she likes you, but she's an affirmative-action babe, a perpetual victim. That's how she sees herself, and this is her revenge.

Talk about an electric theatrical moment! The play may be otherwise seriously flawed, but here is vintage Mamet — in fact, a new, even more daring Mamet. It's the Mamet conservative theater fans have been waiting for since he took on the issue of sexual harassment in Oleanna back in 1992; and even more so since he came out as a quasi-conservative early last year in a Village Voice essay entitled, "Why I Am No Longer a Brain Dead Liberal"

Note he thinks the rest of the play may be flawed, but that moment there was just right. Because Harry Stein actually believes this creature exists, this "affirmative-action babe, a perpetual victim." And in fact, he thinks she is Michelle Obama.

Nobody has clued Harry Stein into the fact that the smear against Michelle Obama has been debunked - but unfortunately not only conservatives like Harry Stein are slow on the uptake - there are still liberals who let David Mamet slide because he's a Great Man of the Arts. Sarah Seltzer writes:
The nightmare that "Oleanna" predicted never happened. I hope that if Mamet took on the issue today, the results would be a bit different.
Mamet did not predict the nightmare that is OLEANNA - he believes the nightmare exists. Every bit as much as he believes that Susan exists - maybe he, like fellow conservative Harry Stein, even believes Michelle Obama is just like Susan.

Is he a card-carrying (or teabag carrying) member of the Tea Party? Probably not. But he would be perfectly comfortable hanging out with Tea Partiers, most of whom are, like Mamet a White, Republican, Older Male with Money

Now I admit I am a little surprised by the non-reaction to RACE. Whereas misogyny is perfectly acceptable from a Great Man of the Arts, and will not hurt a man's career in the least, as David Mamet demonstrates, I would have thought that more people would have called him out on RACE - but then again a good number of liberal arts-types defended admitted child-rapist Roman Polanski on the grounds that he's a Great Man of the Arts and shouldn't be held to the standards of mortals, so I guess they have no problem at all giving Mamet a pass for his paranoid reverse-racism obsession.

I'll leave the final word to a member of the demographic Mamet hates and fears the most - a female college student in the clutches of the corrupting liberal forces of Academia:
Last year, Mamet came to UT to conduct a writing seminar for several graduate and undergraduate playwrights and screenwriters. During the seminar, Mamet called Muslims terrorists and Arabs pedophiles. He also, unsurprisingly, spewed misogynist rhetoric in addition to his racist diatribe. Several students were shocked and appalled and took Mamet to task for his bigoted remarks. He countered with, "Why shouldn't we pick on Arabs? They blew up New York City."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My dinner with Linda

I did see RACE Wednesday night with my actor pal Linda and then we had dinner afterwards and trashed the play thoroughly. I'm too tired thanks to that nice big glass of wine to go into details now sports fans. But soon...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eddie Izzard explains his executive transvestism

With any luck today I will see Eddie Izzard perform in "Race" - I'm not a big Mamet fan - but I am a big Izzard fan.

Eddie Izzard could NOT be any cooler - here he discusses feminism.

Monday, July 19, 2010

JULIA & BUDDY wrap-up

Well the JULIA & BUDDY run is over all ready and that's probably a good thing - I don't know how much more schlepping around all the props & costumes I could stand.

I learned much about what needs to be tweaked in this play and discovered that several people thought there should be another act to the play - the audience wanting more is always a good thing. I also got feedback that the play seemed very short for 45 minutes - also a good thing.

The video quality of this clip is not professional even though the performances are - I had to record from the booth. But at least there is some record of the performances. More to come...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mediocrities uber alles

Krugman demonstrates once again that most people are idiots - including - or especially - high-status alleged experts.
In short, it’s hard to think of a case less suited to tell us anything at all about fiscal stimulus under the conditions we now face. And the fact that a prominent commentator on current events apparently doesn’t know that, after a year and a half of debating this issue — well, as I said, I’m feeling fairly despairing.
The problem that Krugman now faces is unpopularity among decision-makers - pointing out the mistakes of mediocrities NEVER causes the mediocrities to rethink their own actions - it only makes them join up with other mediocrities to try to punish the Krugmans of the world, those who are clearly smarter and better than them - resentment pushes out self-reflection every. single. time.

You can see the coalition of the mediocrities in action - David Brooks, a true mediocrity if ever there was one - led the charge as I blogged on July 8. One of the weapons of the mediocrities is to ignore the fact that the Krugmans are right and focus on their view that the Krugmans are immodest.

This doesn't only happen in economics, of course. Rather, it's a standard group dynamic and a huge reason why human society is as screwed up as it is. Mediocrities always rule through sheer force of numbers.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

oh Krugman...

I know you're right but you're soooo depressing!
Of course, flirting with crisis is arguably part of the plan. There has always been a sense in which voodoo economics was a cover story for the real doctrine, which was “starve the beast”: slash revenue with tax cuts, then demand spending cuts to close the resulting budget gap. The point is that starve the beast basically amounts to deliberately creating a fiscal crisis, in the belief that the crisis can be used to push through unpopular policies, like dismantling Social Security.
more on evil Republican schemes at the NYTimes...

*sigh* I need something less depressing to think about... I know!

Daniel Genalo in the forthcoming Marie Claire "Broadway" edition:

Please note that he is wearing the hanging-down suspenders that I admired not so long ago on the Steampunk Cutie here on this blog. Daniel claims it was his own idea to go with the suspenders like this - I sure hope this catches on!

This man has the most amazing abs - it's worth the price of admission to see JULIA & BUDDY just to get to look at his abs through the semi-transparent white tank top. His abs are like a third character in the play.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oliver's Army

Nothing better than early Elvis

Don't start me talking
I could talk all night
My mind goes sleepwalking
While I put the world to right

Call careers information
Have you got yourself an occupation

Oliver's army is here to stay
Oliver's army are on their way
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today

There was a checkpoint Charlie
He didn't crack a smile
But it's no laughing party
When you've been on the murder mile

Only takes one itchy trigger
One more widow, one less white nigger


Hong Kong is up for grabs
London is full of Arabs
We could be in Palestine
Overrun by a Chinese line
With the boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne

But there's no danger
It's a professional career
Though it could be arranged
With just a word in Mr. Churchill's ear

If you're out of luck or out of work
We could send you to Johannesburg

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The men of Mergatroyd Productions

Daniel Genalo as "Buddy" in JULIA & BUDDY
Nick Fondulis as "Angry Jesus" in PERSONAL JESUS
Nat Cassidy as "St. John Rivers" in JANE EYRE
Nick Lowe as "Tam Lin" in TAM LIN
Mike Giorgio as "Oliver" in SODOM & GOMORRAH: THE ONE-MAN SHOW
Greg Oliver Bodine as "Rochester" in JANE EYRE
One thing that Mergatroyd Productions does especially well is glorify masculine pulchritude. And that's because I am a big fan of masculine pulchritude and I call the shots for Mergatroyd. If a straight man was calling the shots things would be very different.

I know this from hard experience. If my play is directed by a man I invariably will have to fight with him to ensure that the actor cast in a role of a man who is supposed to be attractive (especially to female characters) actually is attractive. Now I have fairly wide-ranging taste as can be seen in the images above of men who have had roles in Mergatroyd Productions shows - and charisma counts for alot - but he has to have something going on that women will find attractive.

Two examples to illustrate: Edward Einhorn, the world's biggest asshole, tried to cast an obviously effeminate man in the role of TAM LIN in the 2004 production. The effeminate man was OK looking but he would be read immediately as gay by any woman - and not just as himself - his Tam Lin read as gay too. I insisted on the beautiful Nick Lowe who had already played TL in the 2003 production.

The only director whose direction of a play of mine I've really liked is Oliver Butler - he directed my BLESSINGS OF THE SUN GOD in 2003. But even he failed on the masculine pulchritude front - he cast a very average-looking guy in a role which the script clearly describes as beautiful - the character was based on my gorgeous friend Earl Rich. But since I wasn't producing, I didn't make an issue out of it.

Straight men are resistant to casting attractive men for two reasons - homophobia - sometimes unacknowledged homophobia - and resentment of masculine beauty. Some men will go so far as to claim that they don't know what a good-looking guy looks like - you know, because they are soooo extreeeeemly heterosexual. They do know. But it is not in their ego's interest to promote a man whom women will be clearly sexually attracted to.

There's also the fact that since men have been running the world for the past several millenia and have had things their own way, our culture will naturally tend to favor the straight male view of beauty - famously known as "the male gaze" - over straight female or gay male views.

And because men are still running everything - especially in the arts - the straight male gaze still dominates. You need look no further than the recently-released movie "Cyrus" to see that I'm right. The double-standard is alive and well because NO woman as unattractive as John C. Riley would ever be cast in a romantic lead role in a movie. We won't have equality until the beauty double-standard is gone.

Straight women need to see sexy men on stage every bit as much as straight men need to see sexy women. All that crap about women not being as visual as men is strictly evolutionary psychology propaganda.

But there's more to it than just casting an attractive man - you have to play up his attractiveness. You have to make sure his costume is flattering and if he has a nice body, let him flaunt it. His hair has to look nice and he should wear at least some make-up.

And finally there's the role itself - it has to let the sexy man strut his stuff. You have to be able to understand why the female character wants him so much, and not just because the script says so.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

jolly good show!

Well JULIA & BUDDY came off tonight virtually without a hitch! Which was a miracle because I was doing the sound & lights with completely unfamiliar equipment.

But also - Kat and Daniel just completely wowed the audience. And many people felt like there should be more to the story of JULIA & BUDDY - which I plan to do.

the J&B program

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Well I knew my play was pretty sexy, but wow, Daniel and Kat took the sexiness to another level entirely!

J&B opens today!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm talking pedicure on our toes toes

There's something about this video clip that really gets to me - the symbolism of soldiers on patrol suddenly busting out into a dance routine, and to this, of all songs. The lyrics:

Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy
(Hey, what up girl?)
Put my glasses on, I’m out the door - I’m gonna hit this city (Let’s go)
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back
I’m talking - pedicure on our toes, toes
Trying on all our clothes, clothes
Boys blowing up our phones, phones
Drop-toping, playing our favorite cds
Pulling up to the parties
Trying to get a little bit tipsy

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop no
Woah-oh oh oh
Woah-oh oh oh

Ain’t got a care in world, but got plenty of beer
Ain’t got no money in my pocket, but I’m already here
Now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger
But we kick ‘em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger
I’m talking about - everybody getting crunk, crunk
Boys trying to touch my junk, junk
Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk
Now, now - we goin’ til they kick us out, out
Or the police shut us down, down
Police shut us down, down
Po-po shut us -
Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop no
Woah-oh oh oh
Woah-oh oh oh

Wikipedia entry about this video

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mark Twain speaks

The NYTimes has another story on the forthcoming unexpurgated edition of Mark Twain's autobiography. There are some excerpts from the University of California Press. One bit in particular from one of the excerpts I found especially interesting since it touches on issues I deal with in my upcoming play CELIA:
...I was taken from school at once, upon my father's death, and placed in the office of the Hannibal Courier, as printer’s apprentice, and Mr. Ament, the editor and proprietor of the paper, allowed me the usual emolument of the office of apprentice - that is to say board and clothes, but no money. The clothes consisted of two suits a year, but one of the suits always failed to materialize and the other suit was not purchased so long as Mr. Ament’s old clothes held out. I was only about half as big as Ament, consequently his shirts gave me the uncomfortable sense of living in a circus-tent, and I had to turn up his pants to my ears to make them short enough.

There were two other apprentices. One was Wales McCormick, seventeen or eighteen years old and a giant. When he was in Ament's clothes they fitted him as the candle-mould fits the candle—thus he was generally in a suffocated condition, particularly in the summertime. He was a reckless, hilarious, admirable creature; he had no principles, and was delightful company. At first we three apprentices had to feed in the kitchen with the old slave cook and her very handsome and bright and well-behaved young mulatto daughter. For his own amusement - for he was not generally laboring for other people's amusement - Wales was constantly and persistently and loudly and elaborately making love to that mulatto girl and distressing the life out of her and worrying the old mother to death. She would say "Now Marse Wales, Marse Wales, can't you behave yourself?" With encouragement like that, Wales would naturally renew his attentions and emphasize them. It was killingly funny to Ralph and me. And, to speak truly, the old mother's distress about it was merely a pretense. She quite well understood that by the customs of slave-holding communities it was Wales's right to make love to that girl if he wanted to. But the girl's distress was very real. She had a refined nature, and she took all Wales’s extravagant love-making in resentful earnest.
The book isn't all about threats of rape of course. This Wales was quite a character and luckily Twain was there so he could later immortalize his hijinks:
(Alexander Campbell) preached a sermon on one of these occasions which he had written especially for that occasion. All the Campbellites wanted it printed, so that they could save it and read it over and over again, and get it by heart. So they drummed up sixteen dollars, which was a large sum then, and for this great sum Mr. Ament contracted to print five hundred copies of that sermon and put them in yellow paper covers. it was a sixteen-page duodecimo pamphlet, and it was a great event in our office. As we regarded it, it was a book, and it promoted us to the dignity of book printers. Moreover, no such mass of actual money as sixteen dollars, in one bunch, had ever entered that office on any previous occasion. People didn’t pay for their paper and for their advertising in money, they paid in dry-goods, sugar, coffee, hickory wood, oak wood, turnips, pumpkins, onions, watermelons—and it was very seldom indeed that a man paid in money, and when that happened we thought there was something the matter with him.

We set up the great book in pages - eight pages to a form—and by help of a printer's manual we managed to get the pages in their apparently crazy but really sane places on the imposing - stone. We printed that form on a Thursday. Then we set up the remaining eight pages, locked them into a form and struck a proof. Wales read the proof, and presently was aghast, for he had struck a snag. And it was a bad time to strike a snag, because it was Saturday; it was approaching noon; Saturday afternoon was our holiday, and we wanted to get away and go fishing. At such a time as this, Wales struck that snag and showed us what had happened. He had left out a couple of words in a thin-spaced page of solid matter and there wasn’t another break - line for two or three pages ahead. What in the world was to be done? overrun all those pages in order to get in the two missing words? Apparently there was no other way. it would take an hour to do it. Then a revise must be sent to the great minister; we must wait for him to read the revise; if he encountered any errors we must correct them. It looked as if we might lose half the afternoon before we could get away. Then Wales had one of his brilliant ideas. in the line in which the “out” had been made occurred the name Jesus Christ. Wales reduced that to J. C.

It made room for the missing words, but it took 99 per cent of the solemnity out of a particularly solemn sentence. We sent off the revise and waited. We were not intending to wait long. In the circumstances we meant to get out and go fishing before that revise should get back, but we were not speedy enough. Presently that great Alexander Campbell appeared at the far end of that sixty - foot room, and his countenance cast a gloom over the whole place. He strode down to our end and what he said was brief but it was very stern, and it was to the point. He read Wales a lecture. He said "So long as you live, don't you ever diminish the Savior's name again. Put it all in." He repeated this admonition a couple of times to emphasize it, then he went away.

In that day the common swearers of the region had a way of their own of emphasizing the Savior's name when they were using it profanely, and this fact intruded itself into Wales’s incorrigible mind. It offered him an opportunity for a momentary entertainment which seemed to him to be more precious and more valuable than even fishing and swimming could afford. So he imposed upon himself the long and weary and dreary task of overrunning all those three pages in order to improve upon his former work and incidentally and thoughtfully improve upon the great preacher's admonition. He enlarged the offending J. C. into Jesus H. Christ. Wales knew that that would make prodigious trouble, and it did. But it was not in him to resist it. He had to succumb to the law of his make. I don’t remember what his punishment was, but he was not the person to care for that. He had already collected his dividend.

Good times in Missouri.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

B or not B

Patrick Stewart on Sesame Street

I've never directed Shakespeare's work, but just the little bit of Shakespeare I've inserted into JULIA & BUDDY has been fun to work on. I really need to tackle AS YOU LIKE IT - that's the play that really turned me onto Shakespeare when I was a teenager and saw the BBC's version on television. Remember television?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Newflash: men have a much higher opinion of their own intelligence than women

This story is over a year old but I doubt anything has changed:
"We found a consistent difference in how intelligent men and women believe themselves to be; with men giving themselves significantly higher levels of intelligence in all 12 counties. Not only did men award themselves high scores in traditional male abilities like spatial and logical reasoning, they also gave themselves higher ratings in verbal ability...

.."These results do not reflect any actual differences between men and women's levels of intelligence," added Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. "Rather, our study shows that men like to have a high opinion of themselves and are prone to over-estimate their level of intelligence while women are more modest, and even under-estimate their own intelligence.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Krugman vs. Brooks - talk about an uneven matchup.

Oh David Brooks, why must you fight a battle of wits unarmed???
These Demand Siders have very high I.Q.’s, but they seem to be strangers to doubt and modesty. They have total faith in their models. But all schools of economic thought have taken their lumps over the past few years. Are you really willing to risk national insolvency on the basis of a model?

Moreover, the Demand Siders write as if everybody who disagrees with them is immoral or a moron. But, in fact, many prize-festooned economists do not support another stimulus. Most European leaders and central bankers think it’s time to begin reducing debt, not increasing it — as do many economists at the international economic institutions. Are you sure your theorists are right and theirs are wrong?

The Demand Siders don’t have a good explanation for the past two years. There is no way to know for sure how well the last stimulus worked because we don’t know what would have happened without it. But it is certainly true that the fiscal spigots have been wide open. The U.S. and most other countries have run up huge, historic deficits. And while this has helped save public-sector jobs, we certainly haven’t seen much private-sector job growth. It could be that government spending is a weak lever to counter economic cycles. Maybe monetary policy is the only strong tool we have.

The Mighty Krugman
A quick note on David Brooks’s column today. I have no idea what he’s talking about when he says,

The Demand Siders don’t have a good explanation for the past two years

Funny, I thought we had a perfectly good explanation: severe downturn in demand from the financial crisis, and a stimulus which we warned from the beginning wasn’t nearly big enough. And as I’ve been trying to point out, events have strongly confirmed a demand-side view of the world.

But there’s something else in David’s column, which I see a lot: the argument that because a lot of important people believe something, it must make sense:

Moreover, the Demand Siders write as if everybody who disagrees with them is immoral or a moron. But, in fact, many prize-festooned economists do not support another stimulus. Most European leaders and central bankers think it’s time to begin reducing debt, not increasing it — as do many economists at the international economic institutions. Are you sure your theorists are right and theirs are wrong?

Yes, I am. It’s called looking at the evidence. I’ve looked hard at the arguments the Pain Caucus is making, the evidence that supposedly supports their case — and there’s no there there.

And you just have to wonder how it’s possible to have lived through the last ten years and still imagine that because a lot of Serious People believe something, you should believe it too. Iraq? Housing bubble? Inflation? (It’s worth remembering that Trichet actually raised rates in June 2008, because he believed that inflation — not the financial crisis — was the big threat facing Europe.)

The moral I’ve taken from recent years isn’t Be Humble — it’s Question Authority. And you should too.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Steampunk cutie

If only this kind of look would become the fashion for men - long hair, waistcoat and stuff hanging from the belt - and unless I'm seeing things, dude is wearing suspenders, but they are hanging down from his pants instead of around his shoulders, hidden by the vest. Nice use of a utilitarian devise for pure decorative effect!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Julia & Buddy video clips

I AM a maintenance man!

more clips here

Monday, July 05, 2010

Julia & Buddy pix

Daniel Genalo performs very briefly as Hamlet in this show. However, he's never performed as Hamlet in the actual play HAMLET - but maybe he should, he looks damn good in Hamlet gear.

more Julia & Buddy pix.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Julia & Buddy song

Julia & Buddy theme song take 2 - I really like the intro - the guitar line seems so formless, until the bass line comes in and anchors it to a beat and then the drums pull it all together. Fun!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

on the curriculum part 2

Another college, the University of Alabama links to my web site.

The Metaphysics of the Love of the Sexes

That Schopenhauer - he usually has something astute to say about everything :
...sexual love is compatible even with the extremest hate toward its object: therefore Plato has compared it to the love of the wolf for the sheep. This case appears when a passionate lover, in spite of all efforts and entreaties, cannot obtain a favorable hearing on any condition:-

"I love her and hate her."
- SHAKESPEARE, Cymbeline, iii. 5.

...Not one but many a Petrarch has there been who was compelled to drag through life the unsatisfied ardor of love, like a fetter, an iron weight at his foot, and breathe his sighs in lonely woods; but only in the one Petrarch dwelt also the gift of poetry; so that Goethe's beautiful lines hold good of him:-

"And when in misery the man was dumb
A god gave me the power to tell my sorrow."

Petrarchan sonnet at Wikipedia

Sonnets, Triumphs and Other Poems by Petrarch


Amor mi sprona in un tempo ed affrena.


Love in one instant spurs me and restrains,
Assures and frightens, freezes me and burns,
Smiles now and scowls, now summons me and spurns,
In hope now holds me, plunges now in pains:
Now high, now low, my weary heart he hurls,
Until fond passion loses quite the path,
And highest pleasure seems to stir but wrath—
My harass'd mind on such strange errors feeds!
A friendly thought there points the proper track,
Not of such grief as from the full eye breaks,
To go where soon it hopes to be at ease,
But, as if greater power thence turn'd it back,
Despite itself, another way it takes,
And to its own slow death and mine agrees.



O passi sparsi, o pensier vaghi e pronti.


O scatter'd steps! O vague and busy thoughts!
O firm-set memory! O fierce desire!
O passion powerful! O failing heart!
O eyes of mine, not eyes, but fountains now!
O leaf, which honourest illustrious brows,
Sole sign of double valour, and best crown!
O painful life, O error oft and sweet!
That make me search the lone plains and hard hills.
O beauteous face! where Love together placed
The spurs and curb, to strive with which is vain,
They prick and turn me so at his sole will.
O gentle amorous souls, if such there be!
And you, O naked spirits of mere dust,
Tarry and see how great my suffering is!



Quando mi vene innanzi il tempo e 'l loco.


The time and scene where I a slave became
When I remember, and the knot so dear
Which Love's own hand so firmly fasten'd here,
Which made my bitter sweet, my grief a game;
My heart, with fuel stored, is, as a flame
Of those soft sighs familiar to mine ear,
So lit within, its very sufferings cheer;
On these I live, and other aid disclaim.
That sun, alone which beameth for my sight,
With his strong rays my ruin'd bosom burns
Now in the eve of life as in its prime,
And from afar so gives me warmth and light,
Fresh and entire, at every hour, returns
On memory the knot, the scene, the time.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Bond vigilantes and confidence fairies

Krugman makes a good case for the proposition that magical thinking is not limited to children or the religious:
So the next time you hear serious-sounding people explaining the need for fiscal austerity, try to parse their argument. Almost surely, you’ll discover that what sounds like hardheaded realism actually rests on a foundation of fantasy, on the belief that invisible vigilantes will punish us if we’re bad and the confidence fairy will reward us if we’re good. And real-world policy — policy that will blight the lives of millions of working families — is being built on that foundation.