Monday, April 24, 2006

Heavyhanded left hand

As I get ready to march with the sock and sandal crowd on Saturday, I suddenly remember this little tidbit that really pissed me off. It's just one of those things that do not endear those pesky liberal lefties to me. I get a sense that some of the people who get so bent out of shape over humanity are not that great as individual humans themselves.
I wanted to get tickets to David Hare's agitprop drama "Stuff Happens". I had put my name on the waiting list at the Public Theater box office. The Public, as its name implies, should be a paragon of unpretentious treatment of its patrons, the public. That it ain't.
Grievance Number One:
The woman who was at the box office of the Public at around 4 pm that Tuesday is one of those people who feels a frisson of satisfaction when you are in dire need for theater tickets and she does everything in her power not to help. She was extremely discorteous as I asked questions about the waiting list policy. When I arrived before the play (I clearly saw I was second on the list and thought it would be a cinch) she told me with a smug, self-satisfied smirk that she had given away my tickets at 4:40. I could almost see her chest puff out when she put my name all the way at the back of the list, half an hour before showtime.
So I have an idea for the farkakte Public Theater waiting list policy. Get people on the list and ask them to be back at the theater at a specific time of your choice and start giving out the tickets after that time. And consider putting someone at the box office who feels no contempt for the humans on the other side of the partition. In protest, I will not get in line for tickets for Macbeth with Liev Schreiber in Central Park. (Not).
Grievance Number Two:
The reason why I was looking for tickets that night was that Amy Goodman from Democracy Now was conducting a panel after the show with Sydney Schanberg and an Iraqi journalist. I thought it would be interesting to hear a discussion of the play afterwards.
Since my name has not been called and the play is about to start, I see a guy who came in with Amy Goodman has several tickets in his hand, and ask him if he has tickets to spare.
"They're sixty dollars each", he tells me.
"I thought they were fifty five at the box office".
"I'm a producer for Democracy Now. This is for fundraising".
"Ah, well then it's for a good cause" I say, my arm duly twisted into a pretzel.
So my friend and I start fishing for cash, trying to scrape together for the tickets. We were like ten dollars short.
"It's allright", he finally says, "give what you can".
After I fork the money out, and we show them to the usher, I look at the tickets, which are thirty dollars each. Am I crazy or is this nisht sheyn (not nice)?
My point being: the guy could have been straightforward and said, they are $30 each but we're fundraising and we urge you to contribute. I think the way he handled the whole thing was tacky and mildly abusive. The word entitled springs to mind. These people feel so embattled by their own quixotic fight against the establishment and what they call the corporate media, that they think they are entitled to a very wide berth. My friend thinks I'm being unfair because they do noble work with puny budgets. Good for them, but I still think it's not right. I expect good manners, even from pinkos.
In any case, the panel left much to be desired. There is something about the solemn, long-suffering tone of Amy Goodman that really makes me cringe. Sydney Schanberg (The Killing Fields guy) made some interesting points about how we have not been asked to make any sacrifices for this war, and then went on a rambling riff about WWII that was way off the topic. The Iraqi journalist was a very interesting young man, and most of the audience wanted to know more about him, but he wasn't particularly articulate.
All in all, my few experiences with these lefty kumbayas are for the most part disappointing.
I find the cliches very irritating, the wallowing in common misery self-indulgent and humorless.
And I am a liberal.

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