The Playgoer: Across Ideology?

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Across Ideology?

"I haven't been back to see the play, as there's no way I'd enjoy it a second time around. I am puzzled, though, at the lack of discussion on right-wing blogs about the troubled New York production Are people genuinely not interested in the censorship allegations, or have they used up all their outrage on the Cartoon Wars? Left-wing sites, intent on turning Corrie into a latter-day Anne Frank, have made almost all the running, as far as I can see."

-London-based Conservative and culture-blogger Clive Davis (no, not the record producer). Much appreciative to Clive for continuing to follow the story, and particularly for linking back here to Playgoer, where he's been doing the following.

And an important example of someone who disagrees strongly with the politics of the play and yet clearly sees the wrong done in handling it.

Where indeed are the conservative free-speechers? "I'll defend to the death your right to say it," used to be a conservative debating mantra, no?

For a sampling of the American ultra-right, check out this Spectator column. Basically seems to be saying: who cares if bad speech is censored. Plus some distasteful rhetoric about the real-life Rachel and her family. And anyone who classifies Vanessa Redgrave as standing for "Hollywood" has no right to opine about arts or entertainment. (Sorry, that's being a free-speech hypocrite, isn't it...)


freespeechlover said...

Vanessa Redgrave is a good actress who was villified by Hollywood for daring to criticize those who were burning her in effigy outside the Oscars on the night she received an award. She had to be brought in under cover through a back door for security reasons; her opponents were issuing death threats before the Oscars. She called the thugs "Zionist holligans," which they were--they were members of the JDL (Jewish Defense League) which is NOT AIPAC or even the Anti-Defamation League but a terrorist organization.

Redgrave supported the PLO in the 1970s, when it was extremely politically unpopular to do so, but eventually Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the same people she supported.

For her political sins she was ostracized and villified by Hollywood and America for years.

If I were her, I'd be feeling somewhat vindicated by the fact that My Name is Rachel Corrie has also been a fiasco that has been filled with smears against Corrie, as she endured. The difference is that it is 2006 and the smearing and strongarming tactics of anti-Palestinian politics in America are being taken seriously by Jews and gentiles alike.

Anonymous said...

Playgoer links to Christopher Orlet's "American Spectator" article, published yesterday. Orlett's piece twice contains html links to an article from "Front Page" which is almost three years old. Allegations made in the cited "Front Page"article by Greg Yardley, when used by Joshua Hammer in his "Mother Jones" article about Rachel Corrie, were definitively refuted by scholar Phan Nguyen in a "Counterpunch" article published September 20, 2003 ( ).

Additionally, the Israelis have since concluded that much of the information alluded to in Yardley's piece is inaccurate.

The left has its problems with Rachel Corrie iconography, but the right refuses to do the slightest entry level fact checking.

freespeechlover said...

I think Joshua Hammer does not represent the American "left," but one slice of it. Much of the U.S. left does not have a problem with any iconography surrounding Corrie, because most of the left is more sophisticated on this issue than Hammer and Mother Jones. In addition, I think most of the left, regardless of its politics on Israel, does not support the Sharon administration running over U.S. citizens with bulldozers. The Mother Jones piece was a fiasco anyway, and they received a lot of criticism for it. Put another way, yes, there are the Todd Gitlins and Joshua Hammers of the world, but they are increasingly embattled today among a large segment of at least the academic left--a lot of it is due to their initial position on the Iraq war as perhaps "just," followed by bailing ship only when the war went south. I think there is a significant portion of the left that is better informed on the Middle East than the folks at Mother Jones, but that may express a hope more than a reality.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who don't remember the Jewish Defense League (or who never knew), check out this website:

If you read the text of Vanessa Redgrave's acceptance speech, her support for the Palestinians would today be considered quite moderate. It's important to remember that Andrew Young, the US Ambassador to the UN, was fired in 1979 for meeting secretly with the PLO (yes, the same PLO that caused such distress in the US by losing the last election in Palestine.) At the time Redgrave spoke, Palestinians were nonpersons with no rights that anyone else was bound to respect.

The reaction to Redgrave, and the inability to rewrite in light of historical change, reminds me of the parroting through history of Patrice Lumumba's supposed radicalism in his speech to the Belgian king on the occasion of Congo's independence. Lumumba simply reminded the assembled Belgian notables that Congo was an independent country, the people of the Congo were not little black brothers who should know their place and, that while the Congolese wanted good relations with Belgium, the Congolese were no longer colonial subjects.

Some reactions are set in stone, and never revisited.