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October 27, 2005

Sam Shepard ("Who?") Writes Anti-American Play (Yawn)

So obvious and juvenile it invites parody. Even a left-leaning (it seems) theater critic is thoroughly put off:

This, however, is a drama that panders to the prejudices of those who hate America and all its works. Like the recent plays and poems of Harold Pinter, it suggests that the US is every bit as evil, indeed possibly more evil, than those it is fighting in the so-called war on terror. It is the inane moral equivalence I can't stomach, the suggestion that Bush is as wicked as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden or Islamic suicide bombers.

Still, such a view will always find vocal support among liberal theatre audiences, for whom self-flagellation about the evils of the West has become a source of profound and perverse pleasure. The God of Hell is set on a dairy farm in the American Mid-West.

A friend of the farmer, who has been working for a sinister government establishment, has come seeking refuge, hotly pursued by a sinister official who terrorises the farmer's wife and tortures the escapee by attaching electric leads to his penis.

As this bloodied, twitching victim emerges from the cellar with a sack over his head, we are clearly meant to draw the conclusion that the American Establishment will soon be routinely torturing its own citizens like the prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

Coming on like the malign villain from a Bond movie, the flag-waving, electrode-wielding neo-con spouts his megalomaniac creed. "We can do whatever we want, buddy-boy. That should be clear by now. We're in the driver's seat. Haven't you noticed? There's no more of that nonsense of checks and balances. We're in absolute command. We don't have to answer to a soul."


But whatever the strengths of the production, this remains a dismayingly glib piece of right-on, Left-wing paranoia. Sam Shepard will doubtless win the Nobel Prize for Literature on the strength of it.


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posted by Ace at 12:01 PM

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