Butt-sex obsessive and Defender of the Faith William Donahue (no, he didn’t write Wonkette) has the Pope’s back (and, honestly, isn’t it safer to be behind a Catholic priest instead of in front of him? I mean, really.) when it comes to “provocative” theater:
The University of Minnesotaâ€™s plan to present a production of Dario Foâ€™s “The Pope and the Witch,” which presents the pontiff in, well, a less-than-favorable, drug-addicted state, has attracted Catholic protests. William Donohue asked the University to acknowledge the presentation as offensive, and accused the University of a double standard, suggesting that they wouldnâ€™t stage comparable commentary about Islam. The University has hosted events critical of Islam, but Donohue makes a sure point here.
Well, actually, no. No he doesn’t. If, as Anthony Palletta agrees, the school has hosted events that are critical of Islam, then Donahue would be wong. Damn Pope Benedict for bogarting all of the papal infallibility! Damn him!
Oh wait. Palletta is complaining that, because the play falls under the category of art, all is not equal.
â€œProvocativeâ€ theatre almost invariably concerns imaginary threats. The Director of the production at Minnesota explained:
â€œI chose this play because it is political. It takes a stand on issues in the forefront of our daily lives.â€
Well, perhaps. In upper-brow modern western cultural output, the â€œpoliticalâ€ threats confronted are almost invariably safe ones â€“ heroin-addicted popes are far more modish targets than heroin-addicted mullahs, however greater a threat the latter (hooked or not) pose to modern society. Knights of Columbus are very infrequent suicide bombers as of late.
Which is a good point, but then again it’s not like the Knights of Columbus has such a big waiting list that they can afford to lose Vinny or Louie if they decide to car bomb a Landmark theater with their IROC.
But that’s beside the point.
Palletta’s point, and he seems to think he has one, is that the school should be putting on plays like Eugene O’Neill’s Mohammed Is A Hairy Ape or Mourning Becomes the Burqua’d if they want some of that hot Idomeneo daring that shakes the neocons out of their culturally flaccid state.
I, for one, look forward to Victor David Hanson’s one man performance of Ajax and the Muslim Sheep . It’s a new translation for a post-9/11 world…