“If you throw over Show Boat, one of the great works of the American theatre, because somebody’s ‘feelings’ (however manufactured) are more important, what else are you prepared to lose? In such a world, there will be nothing left.
“To discard a work like Show Boat is to deny history, which is to deny reality, and that’s rarely a smart move. In the name of ‘tolerance’, you’ll wind up in a society that tolerates nothing — nothing genuinely enquiring or provocative, or even mildly controversial…”
I wish I’d been able to articulate my feelings that clearly at the time.
A little gaggle of us (the working class faction who’d been unable to afford having our brains drycleaned at college) drank too much cheap draft at Grossman’s (again) and dared to voice our frustrations, but only in whispers, of course. No, no one said “uppity”. Although a friend uttered “ingrate”. Then took it back.
And, to my relief and amazement, we remained unstruck by lightning.
Any illusions I’d still harboured about “equality” and “the brotherhood of man” — and I’d only clung to those desperately; I’d never really been able to convince myself they were true, having observed as early as the first day of kindergarten that most people, including my teachers, didn’t seem terribly bright — fell away.
I realized I didn’t miss those illusions one bit.
In fact, those illusions — that entire groups of people were simply colourful characters in my personal liberal drama, people I could oh-so-nobly “help” and who would always be oh-so-appreciative and enlightened and innocent and decent – were more racist and counterproductive than any Broadway musical could ever be.
I was delighted to have reason to abandon this foolishness, and embarrassed it had taken me not one but three real-life incidents to accept this now-obvious fact.
I felt at last the “empowerment” and “liberation” we’d been yammering about all those years without ever actually experiencing it ourselves, having voluntarily adopted a regimen of politically correct speech, unbleached organic tampons and buy-cotted, fair trade foodstuffs that would daunt your average Hassid.
So it is sad to see someone like Dow Marmur still stuck in that illusory mindset, all these years later, trying, in public, to talk himself into believing something he knows full well is absolute rubbish. But this is Toronto, so it doesn’t surprise.