Saturday, April 24, 2010


Arizona's reactionary immigration law is not only disgusting in and of itself--legalizing racial profiling as a way to discriminate against those who aren't "us"--but is symptomatic of the dangerous mode we have moved into in recent months as a nation.

We have become so self-centered as a people that we are fighting each other over table scraps.  So-called democratic principles have become bald excuses for grabbing as much as one can grab for oneself.  People will knock you down on the street if they think they can get where they are going faster.

It's as if a vocal warm-up exercise has transformed into the new battlecry: "Me Me Me Me ME!"

The Tea Party Movement claims to be interested in the rights of Americans--but they wish to say who IS and who ISN'T a good American in their eyes, to make sure that they, the select few, receive all the spoils.  Check you dictionary, folks--that's not democracy, that's a form of fascism.

Capitalism was supposed to be a system that gave everyone an equal chance, but as in Orwell's ANIMAL FARM, it appears that some little piggies have been deemed "more equal" than others.  And perhaps most alarmingly, the very Judaio-Christian teachings of giving to others and caring for the less fortunate appears to be a revolting concept to the very people who claim themselves the backbone of America. They scoff at "community organizers" because they have absolutely no sense of community.  The very Bible they like to thump so much points to their lack of humanity as a sign of total hypocrisy.  And perhaps even worse than their lack of generosity--the total lack of respect for open discourse and the inability to engage in civilized discussion to solve the issues of a country perilously in need.  Rarely has name calling been as bold, ugly and divisive.

This country was founded as a place for all who feel oppressed to come and be an equal, regardless of race, creed or religion.  Freedom of speech was to be guaranteed in a land of equal opportunity.  People have died for this cause and continue to do so.  Our troops overseas are fighting for these principles every day.  And searching the ethnic and  religious backgrounds (not to mention the sexual preferences) of these fighting troops will no doubt reveal heavy concentrations of the very groups these so-called arbiters of American values wish to curtail.

The co-opting by the callous right abuses democratic principles and the capitalist system just as a handful took the Utopian notions of socialism and turned them into self-serving rules.  Any system suffers from repeated abuse.  The actions of these people not only defeats the basic principles of our country but spits in the face of those who work and have worked so hard to defend them.

We are a nation of immigrants, a nation that was always prized for its diversity.  Arizona's sanction to profile at will anyone deemed "suspicious" is a way for a privileged ruling class to fight back what they fear most--the loss of their supremacy in a demographically changing country.  Responsibly protecting our citizenry is one thing.  Giving carte blanche to racism is another thing altogether--and is distinctly un-American.

Then again, I suppose there is an upside to all this:  we can bring back Il Duce and at least the trains will run on time.

Friday, April 09, 2010


ANYONE CAN WHISTLE at City Center's Encores! is a highly entertaining presentation of one of Broadway's quirkier footnotes.  The brilliant Sondheim score shimmers, as always.  The story is odd and at times interesting, even whimsical--but is really more ideas on display than a book that works. Still the staging is engaging and the choreography is a delight.  And of course, when you put Donna Murphy, Sutton Foster and Raul Esparza on that stage with those songs . . . it's musical theater heaven!  Everyone who's seen a Sondheim revue knows the title tune, and also the achingly lovely "With So Little to Be Sure Of," here done to perfection by Foster and Esparza.  But "A Parade in Town,"  "Everybody Says Don't," and "There Won't Be Trumpets" (among others) show that even an early Sondheim stumble is treasure chest of gems.  From start to finish, Donna Murphy rules with an iron fist and giddy humor--and an incredible set of pipes.  The always dependable Edward Hibbert does well with what at times is a thankless role.  And the gifted ensemble of dancer-singers do amazing work, especially in the 2nd Act ballet.  (Kudos especially to Cora's "Boys" who are indeed on their toes--literally!  If you've ever been curious about ANYONE CAN WHISTLE, go see it--it is doubtful that you'll ever see a better production of it, and it really is an enjoyable and at times thought-provoking evening. Now thru April 11th at City Center, West 55th btwn 6th & 7th Avenues, 212-581-1212.