File puptcrit/puptcrit.0810, message 375


To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 17:51:25 GMT
Subject: [Puptcrit] Dealing with tragedy


Surviving tragedy is an accomplishment. Catharsis is an important element in serious drama. Maintaining hope in the most tragic circumstances is important. Wthout fairness, it means nothing.

But when it comes to contemporary "real life", just look at the past 8 years: Katrina, a wrong-headed two-week war in Iraq which has not ended yet, financial chaos, ---I can't see that anything was done the right way, and all these messes were allowed to happen in the name of values. And the values merchants are still pitching the same old same old. They are still playing one group against another. In California, our Ballot has Proposition 8, purporting to "protect marriage"---and because it really is not clear that it will protect marriage in any way, the proponents have further muddied the waters claiming that Second Grade students will be forced it learn about same sex marriage even when their parents object.

When I was in Second Grade, Wendell Wilkie was running against Franklin D Roosevelt for the U.S. Presidency. While many schoolmates were oblivious to the Campaign, I was following the arguments pro/con. In retrospect I think I understood the issues better than many of the adults who could/did vote.

Today, there are other Second Graders who may understand things better than many parents, at least when it comes to defining equality and fairness And with TV and newspapers, kids can even be better informed than some parents. When I was little, we all knew about pinups in Esquire Magazine, and certain pages in the Sears catalogs. Following generations of Second Graders learned more than we did from Playboy magazines. When cable TV came to Phoenix, with "adult programming", kids in my puppet class had spoon puppets discussing the life of Professional Strippers, whch came as a total surprise to me, since I thought they were doing the Three Bears. Turns out, they had just gotten cable at home the night before, and "little pitcher have big ears"---they notice what adults are really up to. It may end up in puppet shows. 

The amount of money spent to advertse the alleged values of Proposition 8 is the highest of any ballot proposition in our history. Basically it is culture war, and common sense or equality has nothing to do with it.

Our country finally overcame slavery, and in the 1920s finally let the other half of the population vote (I refer to women getting the right to vote, and the League of Women Voters recommends a NO on Prop 8). 

The mentality which allowed 8 years of  non-stop messes in Washington is the same mentality behind Prop 8. Inequality is Un-American, but tragically has been part of our history for far too long. It is still with us.

Some day, things will get better, "the sun will come out tomorrow", "happy days are here again?".

In puppet shows as in real life, as long as there is HOPE......

I've said it before, artists do not live in a vacuum----as puppeteers, we are all subject to unfair politics. But if enough people vote for fairness instead of imposing doctrinaire, narrow theology on our neighbors, the sun may yet come out tomorrow.

ALAN COOK


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