Tony Kushner: Pure Class

. . . lessness.

Tony Kushner, for those who don’t know, is the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright responsible for, among other things, the outstanding Angels in America trilogy. A supremely talented man, with a gifted imagination.

This past weekend, Kushner gave the commencement address at Vassar. He spoke to the graduating class of the need to forge an identity, to be full participants in your culture. And then he let loose with this barrage:

Real classy, Tony. Let’s see, there’s the dubious inclusion of the Netherlands, where I assume he’s referring to Pim Fortuyn, who was vilified for anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim positions. Except he wanted to limit immigration of Muslims because he didn’t want their anti-gay positions to infiltrate tolerant Dutch society. You know, with him being gay and all. I would think Kushner would be in favor of protecting gay rights, but oh well.

France . . . I assume he’s referring to Le Pen, who, um, lost.

There are countries where Tony Kushner would be arrested and executed for standing up and repeatedly calling the elected leader of the country “evil.” The United States, even under Bush and Ashcroft, isn’t one of them. I hope he’s glad for that. I just wonder what purpose he thought this served? Is that what passes for intelligent political discourse today? Hell, is this what passes for a graduation speech today?

With all his gift for words, this was the best he could come up with? What a schmuck.

pl, he makes a great point. The apathy of the American voter will tend to create apathetic politics and administrations, mostly with undesirable results. He is not saying that Bush et al is evil, but that his circumstances of how he won the election makes him more vulnerable to implementing bad ideas from real bad advice (usually from Ashcroft) just as he is receptive to good advice (from Rice and Powell). A more aware and more active voting public should make for better politicians more receptive to the balances of the people’s wishes and the principles of freedom, both from the right and the left. Yes he is partizan, however, we have for years kept on hearing the right’s gnashing their teeth over the exact same thing he is talking about when Clinton got elected twice, with some assistance of Ross Perot’s reform party. As I recall, pl, you are one of the Kushner types against the ‘evil’ Clinton administration.

However, I do agree he missed the point about the ‘loony left’. They were totally pissed off at Al Gore in 2000 for him trying to usurp their positions while at the same time trying to strong arm and bully and threatening them with the spectre of Bush. Many moderates were as well. He ran a poor campaign and an even poorer post-election campaign.

Oh, please. Even given a gift for extended metaphor, it’s pretty clear what he was saying.

I voted for Clinton.

I’m sorry, my computer must be broken, because CAPACITOR I could swear I just read you assert this is not saying Bush is evil.

Again with the overblown rhetoric. What I don’t get about people who do this, is why do they think anyone will take anything else they say seriously? I see or hear stuff like this and I dismiss it as overheated frothing-at-the-mouth (which it is), and then I’m not inclined to listen to the guy again.

It’s the same reason I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh. I’m not going to dig through the shit on the off-chance I’ll find a diamond.

If you re-read the beginning of the quoted statement from Kushner, he’s addressing the people who think of voting as choosing from the “lesser of two evils” and thus don’t bother. Hence, either candidate in the last presidential election would have been “evil”. Apathy on the part of French voters in the primary got Le Pen in, and only his extremist nature got people to vote for the other candidate, whose previous administration was filled with scandal (leading some people to dub him “the crook”, apparently). I’ve read statements from Fortuyn; that was but one of his justifications for limiting Muslim immigrants, and he also said they just weren’t right for the country if I recall correctly.

So yes, gasp, he’s calling Bush evil from the perspective of those voters - and he’s calling Gore evil too. He’s making the point that apathy can get bad candidates past the primaries or even elected, and that like it or not, not voting helps some folks get elected.

I’d like to think so–but earlier in the speech, which I forgot to link to, he says:


I think that second one makes his opinions on who should have been elected pretty clear.

Right. They weren’t right for the country because they wanted to make it more like Fundamentalist Islam.

Considering the detail in the part obviously referring to Bush (relatives in Florida, pretzel, governor), kindly point out the part of the quote that applies to Gore.

This is like talking about ‘Crueliani’, or ‘Bubba’. The technique is to anthromophise what they think are the views of the person, who they think run totally counter to their interests, into the person himself. Which is typical partisan tactic.