File puptcrit/puptcrit.0602, message 306


To: puptcrit-AT-lists.driftline.org
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 20:25:55 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] TDR article/Muslim drama


Alan, 
Thank you, thank you for your wonderful enlightening comments.

Mary

"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."
-Walter Bagehot

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the
choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape
ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make
are ultimately our own responsibility."-----Eleanor Roosevelt

"Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are
dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do
it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many
tomorrows.

-Michael Landon

www.gentleteaching.com

We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are.
 
--Oprah Winfrey
 




> [Original Message]
> From: Alan Cook <alangregorycook-AT-msn.com>
> To: John Bell <John_Bell-AT-emerson.edu>
> Cc: <puptcrit-AT-lists.driftline.org>
> Date: 2/27/2006 1:48:40 PM
> Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] TDR article/Muslim drama
>
> Thank you. 
>
> In 1954-5 while drafted in the U.S. Army, I had a paper-back copy of the
Koran that I tried to read/appreciate. I found the repetitions to be a
problem for me. I WAS impressed by connections to the Old Testament, a
respect for Hebrew and Christian figures, and I was made aware that The
Muslim religion was a REFORMATION of earlier Arabic thought. Which made me
wonder how backward some of THAT was?
>
> And of course, I figured there were similarities with the backwardness of
Christian Middle Ages. And the Muslim world seemed a lot more cultured and
open than what Europe then had.
>
> Mohammed must have seen the excesses of the Christian Dark Age ---after
all, later, the European iconoclasts destroyed a lot of painted and
sculpted images which did seem to serve many simple folk as idols of a
sort. One Art History prof commented that it often was the less "artistic"
images that got "venerated" by the simple souls, rather than the works by
big-name artists.
>
> In the early 1960s I had a landlord in Pasadena who would not enter the
house I lived in because it was full of "idols". This was a Christian
street preacher who toiled on skidrow Los Angeles.
>
> Well puppets are not  idols, though they can be embodiments of ideas. And
flags and other symbols can be idols. Money can be an idol.
>
> Every religion I have ever encountered has inconsistencies (which is
probably a good thing--at least it opens things up to questions). I
personally am not comfortable with any version of fundamentalism because it
chooses to ignore the contradictions and inconsistencies.
>
> So many revelations were really for a specific moment, and not for all
time--so no room is left to continue to grow/adapt. That's where the
trouble starts. Also a lot of prophecies did not turn out--they were meant
as warnings, but seeing into the future is risky and most of us don't live
long enough to see if the prophets guessed right or not. Just look at the
stock market and see how many lost big bucks from bad advice.
>
> When George W Bush sent our troops into Iraq I hoped he knew enough. He
did not, and he was slow to admit his utter ignorance. Our troops were not
educated about this very different culture.
>
> If theatre experts who had some inkling of Arabic and related cultures
could miss so much, how could we expect the Army to deal wih such a foreign
culture? And what has our Govt done to fill in the gaps since?
>
> If we do not understand the other's language or culture, where is the
possibility of communication? That our Govt continually has supported
corrupt regimes (including Sadam's) how does that aid "freedom"?
>
> I do not feel safer since billions have gone to Halliburton rip off
deals, thousands have been blown up, and all the rest. It does not foster
democracy. Ignorance in the White House is a bad place from which to begin,
and so far it stinks.
>
> In Istambul (1965) I did get to see shadow and 3-D puppet shows in
Gulhane Park, beneath a Coca-Cola red disk on the proscenium. Both shows
communicated to me, even in another language.
>
> In Greece I saw three different Karaghiozis shows, a curious legacy of
Turkish occupation of Greece, where the Turkish folk character became a
Greek citizen, and a voice of protest against occupation.
>
> I have seen one old Egyptian shadow fragment which we exhibited (by loan)
at a PofA Festival at San Luis Obispo. There was a connection with
beautiful leather book binding crafts (more than one color, intricate
perforations which reminded me of Christian stained-glass window techniques)
>
> That loan was a one-time opportunity, and I don't think most fest-goers
realized how important it was.
>
> The current animated discussion points out that religions can bring
together or divide us. The only reforms worthy are those that help people
celebrate what we have in common so we can respect one anothers'
differences.
>
> So where does that connect to puppeteers?
>
> Each of us is free to develop our own answers, but one thing for sure, we
CAN contribute to better understanding through puppetry.
>
> Reminder: the word marionette came from church-sponsored puppet shows in
the middle ages.
>
> I once did a puppet show about good neighbors, based on the story of the
Good Samaritan. That is an ecumenical story from the New Testament.
>
> I hope most religious shows will be ecumenical rather than divisive.
>
> ALAN COOK
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