Friday, December 11, 2009

Things I disagree with

Scott Walters, who's all about class and politics rather than theatre, recently wrote on his blog:

Democracy is built on a multiplicity of voices -- E Pluribus Unum, right? From the many, one. That motto is the description of a process: unification that develops through the consideration and integration of many viewpoints. And it never ends -- there are always new voices to consider, because times change and new people are either born, arrive from elsewhere, or begin to speak -- so the unum is always temporary, contingent, a circle . . .

. . . Unum results from the sharing of diverse viewpoints, so that each individual experience of the production is informed by the aggregated viewpoints of the group. Anyone who has ever posted a controversial idea on a blog ought to recognize the truth of this instinctively. Our ideas acquire complexity and depth to the extent that they are informed by the comments of those who read them and either disagree or agree while adding on.

There's so much I disagree with here, I hardly know where to begin. The odd assumption that art is a democratic form, and should be made in the same manner as democratic laws? The alarming, and horrifyingly popular, worship of process for its own sake? The weird, and demonstrably false, idea that depth is achieved through consensus (when pretty obviously the opposite is true)? The mind boggles.

But what's most disturbing is that all this human-resources-style gobbledygook is being spouted as some sort of prescription for theatre. Theatre - one of the last refuges of the un-assimilated human voice left on the planet. My gut tells me that Walters and his ilk are the enemies of theatre rather than its friends - and "friends" like these are popping up more and more in the blogosphere. "Of many, one" is their motto, but their real goal is something like "Of many, more of us."

No comments:

Post a Comment