I know, I know. As is its wont, the Globe has once again attacked the performing arts in the name of "saving" them. It's hardly news that journalists are closet culture-haters, I suppose - or maybe it's just that they're so mad about having journalism destroyed by digital media that they're hungry to see other noble endeavors meet the same fate. Who knows! All I know is that the Globe's drumbeat of insinuations, dire predictions, and demands for dumbing-down is by now a wearily predictable rhetorical river which I suppose no one can stop. Someday, when the entire world is a scorched, post-cultural virtual environment inhabited by fans of the Patriots and Coldplay, the Globe will finally shut up about how Shakespeare and Beethoven must die. But something tells me not till then.
Ironically, however, this latest salvo has been met by a wall of pure rage from - yes, Facebook and the twitter-verse. So much rage, in fact, that you wonder just how pitched this battle might eventually become, given the teensy-weensy amount of evidence reporter Beth Teitell has amassed to support her supposed thesis. What Beth actually says is that a few productions of "Sesame Street" and "Avenue Q" will allow "tweet seats." (Read: puppet shows with juvenile audiences will allow tweeting.) Marketing directors in Worcester and Central Square are also talking about it. (Only think about it, Central Square - do you really want to be thought of as "the other Worcester"?) Beth also has found four other productions across the country that have allowed "twits" to do their thing.
Oh my God, it's already over!! Theatre's sacred space is about to be raped by a horde of tweets! Ha ha - only kidding. Firstly - just because somebody is sitting in a "tweet seat," that doesn't mean you can't kick them in the balls and knock their fucking teeth out. Remember that. Seriously - would a jury convict you of anything? I think not. [As you may guess, the "tweet seats," should they exist, had better be far away from me.]
As for the rest of Beth's article, it's all about how marketing directors are trying to encourage tweeting at intermission. Wow - what a cool idea!!! Is that actually already happening? Who knew!! Can a rocket car that runs on soda be far off?
In the meantime, as I posted on Art's site, there is this melancholy undertow to these discussions, a tide which whispers that yes, my friends, we are witnessing the fall of Western civilization. Don't kid yourselves - it's over. The post-human is on its way - technology all but mandates it. After all, culture can't exist for people who are more interested in tweeting than they are in their own lives.
But hey, sunsets can be beautiful, right? I'd rather have Shakespeare and Beethoven be forgotten than have them half-listened to by an audience that's more interested in tweeting about them. Sometimes I wonder what it will be like when the last symphony orchestra goes bankrupt, when the last Vermeer is stolen, when the last guy who understands Shakespeare dies, when the whole world is like some lost chapter of Fahrenheit 451. But frankly, I'm hoping I don't live that long.