The recent, nasty brouhaha over at Tom Loughlin's "A Poor Player" reminded me again of one of the ironies of the blogosphere - that it's often riven by immature battle-royales between horrid little high-school-style cliques. The usual reprobates were behind this particular imbroglio, I think - none other than Isaac Butler and J. Holtham of the blog "Parabasis," the "mean girls" of the theatrical blogosphere, who have banded together against me in the past, and who seem to think that somehow they run the Internet cafeteria; they're always denouncing people and insisting that so-and-so can't sit at their table, etc. (As if anyone wanted to sit at their table - I know they're both over-privileged types with connections, so a lot of people make nice, but seriously, there's a limit.)
Holtham, it seems, has finally accepted the fact that he is not a talented playwright; Butler keeps resisting the same verdict on his directing ability; meanwhile, both have slowly become cartoons of the kind of politically-correct mandarin so widely scorned by stand-ups and late-night TV. Which, you know, would be okay if they weren't so bureaucratically-minded, mean-spirited, and basically censorious. Their campaign against poor Tom Loughlin - whom I've read off and on for years, and who believe me, is no racist - to my mind only makes them look desperate. And perhaps they should be desperate; I mean, what have they got left but race and racism?
Meanwhile, of course, the Boston bloggers - me, Art, and Ian - seem somehow to always get along, even though I'm sure we disagree quite strongly on various political issues. Indeed, we make jokes at each other's expense and in general enjoy each other's company. I don't know if this is because we actually bump into each other, and so know each other as human beings, or not (I certainly doubt that compromises our camaraderie). I imagine the fact that we all are clever enough to read in each other's writing our varied, but mutual, intelligence and good nature, also helps us maintain our relative harmony.
Which leads me to the deeper problem with Parabasis - I simply can tell that those two writers are not generous of nature or spirit; their mutual flattery is so unctuous and all-encompassing as to be unconscious, and their political (and class) conformity is so explicit it's suffocating. The latest evidence of this is their treatment of Loughlin - it is impossible to have been reading this writer for the past few years and imagine that he is a racist. Do you hear me? IMPOSSIBLE. So to pretend that he is, frankly, is obviously the coldest kind of self-aggrandizing, ideological calculation - which is, of course, typical of Parabasis.
I'll go a little further - I can't think of the last time I met a racist who was devoted to the theatre. Seriously. Do I know any racists in the theatre? Okay, maybe there are some covert ones, maybe - but why would they stick around? I mean, would Hitler take a job in a kibbutz? Get real, guys. When the Parabasis Boys start circling in their vulture-like way, and begin insinuating such things about somebody who has devoted his or her life to this declining, but delightful, and eternally progressive, art form - think twice. And then think three times. Because trust me, you are most likely being played by two of the most obnoxious, and obvious, operators on the Internet.