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Sunday, January 8, 2012

THEATER OF THE ABSURD IN EVERYDAY LIFE

     didi and gogo from waiting for godot


Hearing the news about the republican "front runners" and clips from their speeches, I find over and over when I hear Romney that he has the gift of sounding totally insincere in everything he says, so much so it's in his voice as much as the absence of content in his sentences. It's a great gift for an American politician. Seems like the most insincere sounding politicians get the most attention. His insincerity is on his sleeve. Newt Gingrich, the propagandist, talks insincerity up front, though in his case it's a smoke screen for what he's hiding. He's the master of smoke screen. I don't mean to be giving these monkeys so much attention. I try to ignore them, but they pop up with their daily absurdities that make me wonder who is believing their nonsense. It's an easy answer: republicans. Republicans are awfully Soviet--you believe what you're told to believe, never question what you're told, follow party line to the absolute letter. There's only One Way, and you will follow.



On the NPR interview show, FRESH AIR, I heard Tina Fey yesterday telling of John McCain on the Saturday Night Live tv show. She said when he came to do a Saturday Nite Live, the crew took to him. McCain and Tina Fey had a good association where they liked each other and became friendly. She said that it was later when he was picking his VP that he picked Sarah Palin because she looked like Tina Fey. One thing about it, he saved Alaska the disaster of her sitting out the entire term of her fluke governorship. It's so odd. Tina Fey became a name celebrity due to her Sarah Palin skits. That likeness took something Tina Fey said in a comedy, that she could see Russia from her kitchen window, and media misattributed it to Sarah Palin as one of her funnier gaffs. The Tina Fey / Sarah Palin likeness became a very thin line, to no line at all between the two; that is, in their public persona.



It's said that art precedes life by about 50 years. I have an idea the amount of time varies in different times, but will accept this as a general rule to measure by. Like a generation is said to be 25 years, but it's not always exactly 25. To look at art preceding life, we have the Theater of the Absurd that started in the late 19th century and early 20th in eastern Europe. It made its way to Paris, Eugene Ionesco (Romanian) and Samuel Beckett (Irish), and New York, Edward Albee, and London, Harold Pinter. There were many others, but I chose these well known names for brevity. Pinter ended up with the Nobel Prize and a body of work that will be as influential in the future as Shakespeare was in the past. The Absurd. Now the absurd is everywhere in everybody's lives. About everybody I talk with these days is both alarmed and amused by the general absurdity of everything around us. That's people of different political persuasions. And different ways of seeing varieties of absurdities.


I noticed Palin stopped tailing the repub elections after seen following the first one in Iowa like she believed she might be invited in if she just showed up. She wasn't invited. She's over except as a FOX news celebrity of the blockhead set. Her brief foray into life as a public spectacle devoid of shame gave a lot of people plenty of good belly laughs and made her name a national joke. She's done very well financially as a republican stooge. So did Linda Tripp, Paula Jones and Jennifer Flowers. And one of her gaffs made a new word in the dictionary, refudiate. That is one of the great ironies of my lifetime. A semi-literate air head who hunts wild game from helicopters made such a ridiculous gaff it couldn't miss the evening news just for the absurdity of it. Next, the dictionary incorporates the word. It will be a good one in the future study of word origins.



I've wondered how the Absurd would manifest when it became our way of life. An approximate half a century later we are in full-blown Absurdity in every department of our lives. I have sat at a table with 15 white middle-class adults, every one of them talking continuously, no one ever finishing a sentence. The rule of the game was to interrupt every sentence spoken. Everyone's role was to interrupt a sentence they heard someone else starting. It would have made a great premise for a contemporary play. If the people at the table had been told to continue what they're doing so I could make a video, they couldn't do it. I'd have been asking them to be conscious. In unconsciousness, they were able to talk at all times. No one ever heard what someone else attempted to say, didn't want to hear it. That was the only thing I heard going around the table, every one of them talking was saying to every one of the others: I don't want to hear anything you have to say. I stayed out of it, sat and marveled at this absurd moment, watching it as I would a play, Dinner Theater of the Absurd in the round. Actors would have had to rehearse and practice long hours to recreate an hour of such pure spontenaiety. It was tremendously animated. They looked like they were having fun. I noticed three others at the table in the same sort of shock I was in. Another thin to nonexistent line---between art and life.


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