The same oligarchs currently pushing through a healthcare bill that will kill more people each year than gun homicides want to cry foul over Shakespeare?
The conservative media is losing its collective marbles over a provocative production of Shakespeares Julius Caesar. Staged by the Public Theater in New York City, the play depicts a suspiciously Trump-like Caesar getting gruesomely assassinated by a group of women and minorities who decide hes fired.
In a Fox & Friends segment that identified the production simply as tax-funded play (at least in the clip that ran online under the similarly vague headline NYC Play Appears to Depict Assassination of Trump), host Ainsley Earhardt clutched her pearls over how the production could inspire copycat crimes in those who may be on the verge of a violent act. Im sure the makers of Call of Duty will be happy to pawn off responsibility for the next school shooting on a guy whos been dead for 400 years.
It wasnt long before the plays corporate sponsors began receiving angry tweets, leading the ones with substantial numbers of conservative customers to pull funding. No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summers free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines values, Delta said in a hollow non-sequitur of a statement.
Bank of America issued a similar one, noting: The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in a way that was intended to provoke and offend. Because if theres one thing Trump supporters value, its propriety.
To take it from Fox, the Public Theaters production is a dangerous piece of propaganda about how murdering tyrants will solve all our problems. But as anyone who did their 10th grade English homework will tell you, the play is deeply critical of political violence.
Brutus thinks hes saving the Roman republic when he stabs his friend on the senate floor. Instead, he unleashes a chaotic chain of events that ultimately culminate in the deaths of the conspirators, their associates and the very republic they were trying to save.
Fans of Trump should not be boycotting the Public Theaters sponsors, but thanking it for spreading the message that their lecherous leader deserves to live.
In a moment of extreme optimism about the Fox News crowds desire to understand Shakespeare, director Oskar Eustis tried to explain. Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means, he wrote on the Public Theaters website. To fight the tyrant does not mean imitating him. Needless to say, the sponsors were unmoved.
All this hysteria over an imaginary depiction of violence by an arcane art form nobody really cares about anymore seems especially rich coming from a political sect with gallons of actual blood on its hands.
After all, these are the same oligarchs currently pushing through a healthcare bill that will kill more people each year than gun homicides, and whose airstrikes killed over 1,000 civilians in Syria and Iraq in the month of March alone.
The same ones who want to legalize vehicular homicide of protesters, and who think Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group. (If you think Bank of America doesnt invest in some equally evil things, Ive got a bridge to sell you.) And dont forget the rash of all-too-real hate crimes committed by those sympathetic to Trumps racist, misogynistic and xenophobic ideology. Excuse me for placing these atrocities slightly higher on my human rights watch list than stage blood spilled by theater nerds.
Not to mention, these are the same people who cry censorship any time one of their own gets in trouble for saying something that offends liberals. When Trump jokes about sexually assaulting women or murdering his opponent, its just talk, and when the alt-right wants to preach eugenics on college campuses, its freedom of expression. But when a black socialist feminist gets silenced by death threats, they say nothing. Its almost like the Republican party only cares about freedom of speech for select groups of people, and not as an across-the-board principle of democracy.
To be fair, the Public Theater is not completely innocent. While productions of Julius Caesar often sub in contemporary political figures as a way to keep Shakespeares text relevant an Obama-like character was featured in a 2012 production its assassination-in-effigy seems tailor-made for liberal audiences eager to experience the visceral thrills of an anti-authoritarian coup within the safe confines of their theatre seats.
But none of that takes away from the blinding hypocrisy on display. Maybe Trump should work on harming fewer flesh-and-blood human beings before he complains about damaging representation again.