Sunday, April 30, 2006

Conflict of Interests... ?

Men have decided during the past two millennia which books of the Bible (and the Torah, and the Koran!) would be considered acceptable for the masses to read, and which would be deemed apocryphal; which interpretations would be disseminated, and which would be condemned. Naturally, their decisions favored those books which most benefitted men, at least in the short term, and women have consistently (at least in the Abrahamic religions) drawn the short straw. The circularity of their logic never seems to have dawned on the men in power... such is the occult nature of their circularity.

Centuries prior to the common era, there had been a brief wisp of hope when Aristophanes, a 5th C BC playwright, used his female characters, albeit cynically, to make a point: that even those creatures of the lowest status, i.e., barely human, could figure out how to end a war and save a culture, even if the male citizenry could not.

Unfortunately, he did not then have the good grace to include women in his idealized vision of what the world could and should be like. Aristophanes' oversight, however, shall not be repeated here...

In the meantime, thousands of years have passed... bearing lots of sordid patriarchal history with them, and the sun is finally setting on the Piscean age. Aquarius dawns, and with it, we peer into the sun, hands shading our brows, at a new spirit of cooperation, for now a mere speck on the horizon.

Borrowing a page from the 20th Century's Pirandello,[1] but altering it to suit their own needs, the spirits of Aristophanes' 5th C characters have risen up to search, not merely for another author, but for a new kind of power, and the liberty to organize themselves to enjoy it.

Although one might think that they would be best served by a team of professional comedy writers, they want something more, a sort of deep comedy. Let's call it "Method" Comedy. You know it when you see it, though it is rare (most especially in geographical areas that demand declarative sentences to be the norm). It is the kind of comedy that reaches in and grabs your heart or your guts, wrenching you at the core, and yet, also has the power to make you laugh. And Cry. Simultaneously. When was the last time you did that?

[1] The most popular of Pirandello's comedies, [...] his masterpiece, is Six Characters in Search of an Author. The premise of the play is that these six characters have taken on a life of their own because their author has failed to complete the story. They invade a rehearsal of another Pirandellian play and insist on playing out the life that is rightfully theirs. Suggesting that life defies all simple interpretations, Pirandello's characters rebel against their creator. They attack the foundation of the play, refusing to follow stage directions and interfering with the structure of the play until it breaks down into a series of alternately comic and tragic fragments.


Blogger Tiresias said...

It is comedy born of an anger that is compressed until all it can do is laugh.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Lyssa Strada said...

...and then you get underneath the anger. And then you cry. And laugh.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Thursday Next said...

"refusing to follow stage directions and interfering with the structure of the play until it breaks down into a series of alternately comic and tragic fragments."

I really like this part as a call to action ... except for the tragic bits. It seems like really good instructions for all oppressed people.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Karen M said...

Yes, there's a subversive quality that is very appealing...
at least there is room for some comic bits, too.

I can hardly wait to see what comes up next!

9:09 PM  

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