Friday, February 12, 2010

Do they know whereof they speak?

This is just a brief note about another troubling aspect of the theatrical blogosphere these days - its seeming indifference to actually seeing theatre. One problem with Bill Marx's recent put-down of All My Sons, for instance, was that he seemed to be positing that the Huntington wasn't doing enough new work. But of course the Huntington devotes itself largely to new work - yet Marx was happy to insinuate that All My Sons was not the exception but the rule. I wondered - was he being intentionally dishonest, or does he just not know what's going on? Can he be unaware at this point that Boston is swimming in new work, that about two-thirds of what we see is new, as demonstrated by Art Hennessey?

Meanwhile I've been battling with various bloggers over my criticisms of Lydia R. Diamond. They've been babbling about whether I'm a Kantian, or a racist, or a bigot, or a bigoted Kantian racist - but it has slowly come out that none of them seem to have read or seen Diamond's work. They're just throwing political punches in the dark; they have no knowledge of the artwork at hand (they're probably skimming it right now!). And I just read a screed against David Mamet's Race on yet another blog in which the blogger sticks carefully to lines (ripped out of context) which have been widely published on the Net. So I had to wonder - has he even seen the play he's sneering at?

It's also hard not to notice that once a string of comments gets going, it almost inevitably slides away from aesthetic considerations - and even away from texts and plays - and into ideological warfare.

So I wonder - is theatre blogging at all about the art itself anymore, or is it just politics by other means?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post.
    There's always going to be those who chatter on blogs without experiencing the original content, just as there will always be people who read book reviews while reading few actual books.
    That's why one of my many missions is to encourage people to get out to see more work--and to feel more confortable being critical about it.
    I look forward to reading more from you and your posters.
    Lou Harry
    Arts & Entertainment Editor
    Indianapolis Business Journal.