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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: December ::
Re: Politics: Marxists, Elitism
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0895.  Sunday, 1 December 1996.

(1)     From:   Moray McConnachie <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Nov 1996 15:08:02 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Marxists Vs. The Globe

(2)     From:   Robert Appelbaum <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Nov 1996 11:20:35 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: Popular Culture

(3)     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Nov 1996 18:40:46 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Elitism, Revisited

(4)     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Nov 96 15:00 CST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0882  Re: New Globe; Politics and Interpretation

(5)     From:   Belinda Johnston <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Nov 1996 15:48:39 +1100 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0882 Re: New Globe; Politics and Interpretation


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Moray McConnachie <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Nov 1996 15:08:02 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Marxists Vs. The Globe

I would be interested in knowing the factual basis of Andrew Walker White's
story about the Globe funding. Perhaps the word Marxist is being used in an
extremely broad sense, but having lived next door to Southwark for twenty
years, in Lambeth, which is as left a wing council as one could find, Southwark
has usually been moderate politically.

I don't think it's unreasonable for any council to think "who will it benefit?"
about any planning application. It seems to me that the Globe has become a very
worthwhile enterprise, but it could have become a commercial tourist-trap quite
easily.

Nor do I think unhappiness with elitism in this country, particularly in the
world of arts funding, is anything other than positive, though of course what
one does about that is open to debate.

Yours,
Moray McConnachie

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Appelbaum <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Nov 1996 11:20:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Re: Popular Culture

"Frankly despise" sounds a bit strong to me.  If by "the Marxists" Andy White
means the thugs controlling Serbia I suppose despising them is in order.  But
otherwise I am pulled up short.  What happened to hating the sin, not the
sinner?

Unfortunately, the rapid exchanges on the net sometimes lead to hasty
overgeneralizations.  It gets us involved not only in insulting one another,
but in playing that old "I'm blacker than you" sort of game.  And who's going
to win it? the guy from the small town in the middle of nowhere, where the RSC
never stops to play? the guy from the inner city (for example, me), who really
can't afford to attend the theater more than once or twice a year? the minority
person living who cares where since wherever she goes she is always still the
object of discrimination, and can almost never see the story of lives like her
own represented on the screen or the stage?  I suggest we all take a deep
breath, go home, and read a book.  _The Winter's Tale_ might be a good place to
start.  Or anything by Raymond Williams.

Robert Appelbaum

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Nov 1996 18:40:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Elitism, Revisited

I have been rightly chastised for my extreme language with regard to Marxisim
on this list --normally, I don't express myself quite as subjectively, but to
be honest I felt provoked.

Mr. Egan, I don't mean to denigrate your experience with elite segments of our
society, but just because this elite insists on hobnobbing with performing
artists doesn't make us a part of their master plan to rule the world.  Your
ideological approach to theatre ignores the reasons most of us become involved
in the profession in the first place -- and no, it isn't money or fame that
attracts us.  We suffer long hours of training, insults from our instructors,
we forego a normal private life due to frequent rehearsals and perforamnces --
holidays included -- and if it were money or notoriety we wanted, there would
be easier ways to do it, more convenient by far than this.

What Marx didn't tell you was that artists have an impulse to create --
irrational, perhaps, but there it is.  I feel it is my talent, what I was put
here to do, and whether I make money or not doesn't matter nearly as much as
whether I succeed at the craft in some way.

My experience with the elite is that far from making theater possible, they
stifle the very creative impulses that brought us to the stage in the first
place.  Theater Boards of Directors are notorious in my experience for refusing
to take risks, refusing to recognize the sacrifices made.

Perhaps if you took time to see (or see again, I should hope) the CHinese film
"Farewell My Concubine", which details the impossible rigors of the performing
arts, and teh ways in which the elite controls and perverts the artist -- maybe
then you'd see the tragic results from the facile theories you use to dismiss
what we try to do.

Andy White
Urbna, IL

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Nov 96 15:00 CST
Subject: 7.0882  Re: New Globe; Politics and Interpretation
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0882  Re: New Globe; Politics and Interpretation

As always, I hate to jump into this mess, but have not Bill Godshalk, and John
Drakakis forgotten that with playwrights from at least the Elizabethan,
Jacobean, and Caroline periods (the odd exceptions being Jonson and Webster)
they were writing scripts and not "texts"?  I find Andy White's most recent
posting to be much more to the point. I grew up in a town of 100 people.  We
could have put on +Hamlet+ though the killings might have been real.

In other words, stop the critical posturing and get back to the scripts and the
theatre.

William Proctor Williams
Department of English
Northern Illinois University

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Belinda Johnston <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Nov 1996 15:48:39 +1100 (EST)
Subject: 7.0882 Re: New Globe; Politics and Interpretation
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0882 Re: New Globe; Politics and Interpretation

Andrew White's little cattle-town idyll was a fine, even faintly comical,
example of the failure of anit-Marxists to think in terms of broader material
and ideological structures.  Instead, White resorts to a narrowly
individualising, not to mention patronising, mode and in the process produces a
tale of taking theatre to the cowpokes which is itself naievely elitist.  Many
of us have met the 'real' people, Andy, some of us even *were* 'real' people
(before we went to university of course) but some of us are well aware that
waxing lyrical about the 'real' people (and staking your legitimacy on you
claim to *know* them) is at best priggish, at worst, simply elitist.
 

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