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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: December ::
Re: Politics
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0924.  Monday, 9 December 1996.

(1)     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Friday, 6 Dec 1996 20:00:27 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0920 Re: Politics

(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 06 Dec 1996 20:12:37 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0920  Re: Politics

(3)     From:   Belinda Johnston <
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        Date:   Saturday, 7 Dec 1996 14:57:18 +1100 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0920 Re: Politics

(4)     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Saturday, 7 Dec 1996 18:05:57 -0500
        Subj:   Politics


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Friday, 6 Dec 1996 20:00:27 -0000
Subject: 7.0920 Re: Politics
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0920 Re: Politics

We wait with baited breath for Paul Hawkins to show us all how to debate.

Cheers
John Drakakis

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 06 Dec 1996 20:12:37 -0800
Subject: 7.0920  Re: Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0920  Re: Politics

Andy White writes

> when a leftist thinker on this list

That's me, I think.

> stated -- as a categorical fact -- that performing artists are elitists...

Ooh I never did! Hang on, I'll go and fetch back what I wrote...

GIE> However popular drama used to be, it can hardly be said to be popular
GIE> now. Just on numbers and the self-identification of class by
GIE> theatre-goers (predominantly, they say they are 'middle') it must
GIE> be called an elitist entertainment whether or not you approve of it
GIE> being so. I recall Terry Hawkes writing in the 1960s or 70s on exit
GIE> polls at theatres in Stratford on Avon.

Either I'm not the "leftist thinker" (a label I find doubly charming, thank
you!) or I'm being misrepresented.

You've gone silent on the "Marxists Vs. the Globe" thread (your title), Andy.
Is there any evidence to support the anecdote?

Gabriel Egan

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Belinda Johnston <
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Date:           Saturday, 7 Dec 1996 14:57:18 +1100 (EST)
Subject: 7.0920 Re: Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0920 Re: Politics

I certainly take Sean Lawrence's point that the seems to be a bit of a
*differend* at work here- Andy White and I are obviously working with entirely
different assumptions about the significations of the term 'human being'.  I
seem to have set myself up as the token vulgar Marxist here so perhaps I should
make the context of my hypersensitivity to individualism somewhat clearer.

I am living in a political and economic climater in which the excesses of
individualist rhetoric have resulted in the absurd situation where an
unemployed boilermaker is expected to negotiate an employment contract with a
multinational without any recourse to a union or award wage.  This championing
of 'individual choice' is also enabling the destruction of a strong tradition
of student activism through the abolition of compulsory student unionism, not
to mention allowing our Prime Minister to publicly rejoie about the fact that
one can now air one's racism without fear of reprisal.

What does this have to do with Shakespeare?  Well, my concern is that no
mattter how well-intenioned one is about bringing Shakespeare to a marginalised
community, the simple fact of putting on a production in a small town doesn't
mean that it necessarily challenges the construction of Shakespeare as high
culture.  This is why I think it's important to think critically about the
ideological nature of aesthetic categories and the role they have in bolstering
certain kinds of political positions. But in order to speak or think about
ideology, one has to see 'human beings' in a rather different way.  In fact, in
a way that calls into question the way we tend to imagine ourselves as
autonomous entities with innate characteristics, at some essential level quite
seperate from our social context.

I, for one, apologise if White feels I am ascribing 'ulterior motives'. I
question the terms you employ, Andy- not the project of performing Shakespeare,
but rather the way in which you theorise its impact.

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Saturday, 7 Dec 1996 18:05:57 -0500
Subject:        Politics

<<the notion of a sovereign individual subject (employed in Walker-White's
latest posting in his reduction of capitalism and marxism to individual
'motive') is a notion in need of interrogation, and worthy of suspicion>>

I am glad Belinda Johnston sees subjectivity as a needing (deserving?)
"interrogation"; the problem with many Marxists is that they treat that issue
as closed, the coffin nailed: "This is a late topic," they say, in their
Cleesiest tones.  But the reason that the topic keeps popping back out of the
box on this list, and in critical discourse at large, is surely that it retains
vitality: I don't think it's hopelessly liberal to suppose that suspicion ought
not to equal culpability.  As Tom Bishop reminded us some weeks back, in a
query that got no response from Gabriel Egan or John Drakakis or Terence
Hawkes, E. P. Taylor nearly two decades ago seems to many of us to have pulled
a great many of those nails; if the more dogmatic materialists think he failed
I'd be interested to know where and why.  And my own query about the force and
function of pleasure went equally unanswered.  I am aware as I read current
stuff that a good many people, recognizing the genuine explanatory value of
materialist ideas about production, are nevertheless finding what seem to me
persuasive inadequacies and limitations in those ideas, and especially their
tendency to reduce all questions to questions of "politics"--those, such as
Lars Engle, working with poststructuralist forms of Pragmatism seem to me
especially interesting.

Subjectively,
Dave Evett
 

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