A cynicism that too often looks like contempt runs through the play: for Clear Creek and the other nowhere towns that form “a dotted line across America’s grossly obese belly”; for the pop culture inside that obese belly; and, most important, for characters like Lauren, whom Mr. Conkel uses as straw men. If you lead with contempt, it’s hard to make an audience follow.
Indeed. It must have been really bad for a reviewer from the New York Times to be discomfited. I've addressed this topic before -- this constant and gratuitous bashing of small town (especially southern) America in theatre, film, and TV, as well as in the mainstream media, which is seen as acceptable by urban dwellers because they often share those values. It is one of the last acceptable sites where narrow-minded prejudice and offensive stereotypes are allowed to be displayed without censure. Let's call it ruralism, following the examples of racism, sexism, ageism, and all the other isms that we've become aware of as being offensive and hateful. We're seeing ruralism rearing its ugly head yet again in some of the attacks on Sarah Palin which are based on an assumption that population size is equivalent to value. Now, I take a back seat to nobody in my contempt for McCain and his choice of Palin, but it raises my hackles when urban bloggers and MSM journalists portray small town America as backward and unworthy of respect. If you want Blue States to stay, blue, just keep it up. Obama skirted the edges of this prejudice with his "bitter" comment, which reflected the urban-dweller's disconnect from non-urban lives.
As artists, we should be better than that, especially at this time in America that is so awash in contempt and disdain.
Blogged with the Flock Browser