Ladies and gentlemen of the Atlanta Arts Council, I have come to you tonight to talk to you about an insult to the world of theatre.
As you may be aware, in two weeks time the Kennesaw Repertory Theatre intends to create a controversy with their staging of Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Atlanta Performing Arts Center. The director of this so called “adaptation,” one George Olbermann, has refused numerous attempts on behalf of myself and other members of the Atlanta theatre community to provide insight as to the proper staging of this great work, in a means befitting both what is arguably the Bard’s greatest work as well as the artistic sensibilities of this community.
Rest assured I take this situation very seriously. There is no greater wound upon this wonderful artistic community than the grim specter of censorship, and our protest of Mr. Olbermann’s presentation could rashly be interpreted as such. But given the audacity of this, forgive me, what I can only call obscenity, flung in the face of the Atlanta theater community, it is impossible to be silent.
My friends, I present to you the description the Atlanta Performing Arts Center has provided for this travesty. And I quote: “Renowned Theater Historian George Olbermann lovingly recreates the legendary setting of the royal palace in Elsinore, Denmark in the late 14th century, as Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of revenge and desire is masterfully staged in a way that will leave audiences feeling as if it were performed in Shakespeare’s own time. 6:00 and 9:00 performances as well as selected special dates,” etcetera, etcetera.
I gather by your stunned silence that you are as shocked about this as I am. “As if it were performed in Shakespeare’s own time.” In a time like this, a community like this, to perform Shakespeare with no gimmicks or historical anachronisms? As Shakespeare himself intended? Why not just rip the food from the mouths of Atlanta’s performing community? Continue reading
Hello? Who is this?
Is someone there? It’s four in the morning!
What? Look you have the wrong number. Are you try to reach-
Okay, is this a prank call? Is that your real voice? It’s so deep and echo-y. Look, if this is someone from the office, can you knock it off and let me get back to-
Okay, wait, I know this voice from somewhere. It’s too distinctive. I’ve heard it before. Where have I-
Is… is this Olmec? From Legends of the Hidden Temple?
Oh hi. I didn’t notice you there. I was just distracted by a complete stranger having the wrong opinions on the internet.
You know, as a straight, white, financially stable Christian male, arguing online can encompass a significant portion of my day. And if you’re anything like me, let me tell you—congratulations on being a white dude. Turns out it’s awesome. But also if you’re like me, you’ve wondered to yourself “my god, how can I keep up with internet trends? There are so many people I have to pointlessly troll in defense of all my rights I think they, personally, are trying to take away. There’s got to be a better way!”
Well, I’m happy (and by that I mean as happy as a person culturally and societally dispositioned to be in a constant state of outrage can be) to say there now is.
Hey guys! I’m home! Did you miss me? Man, what a great weekend—my first DragonCon ever! I can’t wait to talk about it. My friends back home had so many questions. “How many people showed up?” “Did you see any famous celebrities?” “Did you get any cool souvenirs?” And mostly “isn’t DragonCon next week, you moron?”
Hi Sweetie. It’s Uncle August! You’re ready for your bedtime story? Your mommy tells me you love Frozen and it’s been over eight hours since you watched the DVD so you want to hear about it again. Now, I should warn you, I know the story a little differently than the way your mommy and daddy might tell it, okay? See, it turns out the real story of Frozen is actually a story about another story.
Once upon a time, there was a magical kingdom far away from here called “Los Angeles.” High up in a tower, there lived a group of powerful wizards known only as the Strategic Properties Marketing and Revenue Department. They had the power to predict the future, and what they enjoyed most of all was using their powers to figure out what people would like, and most importantly, what they would spend money on. Stop looking bored, dear, this story is important.
All right, gentlemen, let’s cut the crap here. You know why I’m here, I know why I’m here, we both know what I want and we’re making this deal happen. Now I’m sure you’ve got your case all prepared and have an offer ready but before you say anything I am going to point out that this box contains five thousand ladybugs.
1,000 A.D. The Viking Norsemen that would beget the bulk of my Scandinavian heritage establish a patrilineal system of naming, in which everyone’s kid is named after their dad. North America is discovered by Leif Erickson, son of Eric Thorvaldsson, son of some guy named Thorvald, known only to history for committing murder and, being literally one of the world’s first white people, punished by being politely asked to leave Norway.
Enduring several harsh winters in a desolate region short of food, lumber or resources, Erickson would handle the crisis by calling the area “Greenland” in order to trick people to move there, thus securing his place as the first asshole in recorded history.
Final Fantasy VII is one of the best and most memorable video games ever. It’s about a former soldier who is lost in his own world trying to piece together a future he didn’t mean to be a part of, while leading a weird band of powerful but conflicted characters. The main story is that wealthy scientists discover an alien artifact, and use it to create a new artificial life form, which immediately goes crazy, and decides to “save” the world by killing humanity with a giant meteor. He also calls everyone puppets. A nice but underdeveloped female character is impaled by the bad guy as she is trying to perform a procedure to create the one thing that can defeat him. Later, they all get on their airship to go find magical colored rocks. I am worried that cosplay from this thing will annoy me for ten years.
All right! Yeah! Go! Go!
Ugh! Come on!
Oh my—damn it! God! Come on, Eighteen!
Oh for the love of—get the damn thing, eighteen!
Agh! Eighteen, you suck! You call yourself an athlete?
I mean, obviously you do, you actually are an athlete. But my god, are you a shitty one! You hear me, Eighteen? You suck! God!
I will open my sermon tonight with the sad news that America died this week.
We were a nation of dreamers. Designers. Doers. When others said we couldn’t accomplish something, we achieved it.
We were a nation of plenty. Abundance. The forests, rivers, and even the depths of the earth were ours for the taking. And we used it to make ourselves better. Electricity. Refrigeration. Computers. God smiled upon the land and said “Yes. This is good. You should have these things.”
And things we had.
There was a time when we looked toward the horizon and said “we’re Americans. There is no horizon. There is no frontier. We will push further, and when we reach that point, we shall push further still. And we earned it. Because we were America. But that’s gone now.
There was something special about America. Something about the way we looked at ourselves as Americans. But we didn’t deserve it. We didn’t care enough, push hard enough, fight strong enough and now it is dead and we are all to blame. And so we need to acknowledge that, and remember that dark day we allowed the Devil to defeat the beauty of American life. January 22, 2015. The day SkyMall filed for bankruptcy.