Shakespeare In The Park & Art In The Trump Era

By Shelton Bumgarner

I have addressed this before, but the fact that people are getting all bent out of shape over a modernized version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar makes me reflect on it yet again. To me, art is supposed to be not only provocative but a reflection of its times.

So, it seems in the specific instance of Shakespeare in The Park, we should judge the play on its artistic merits more than how inflammatory it is because of how it portrays Caesar. It is also quite ironic that while the Right accused people like me of “snowflakes” who need “safespaces” so we’re not “triggered,” they, in fact, are the ones who seem so easily upset when it comes to thought provoking art.

But that is becoming a cliche, given how often people like me are forced to make mention of it. So, for me, it’s more an issue of the play is supposed to not be all that good as opposed to how horrible it is that Caesar is portrayed as a Trump like character.

Anyway, what this means to me in the long run is in the culture wars, in this slow moving political Cold Civil War that we’re experiencing, the greater entertainment business has a responsibility to produce quality, through provoking art that helps us process this event.

As I keep saying, I continue to suggest that someone, somewhere use “The Mule” portion of The Foundation Saga to explain Trumplandia. But given that not only do I not have the rights to is, but I’m not a good enough writer to do it, anyway, that is just going to have to stay something of a daydream.

I continue to be puzzled by how quiet Hollywood is on the subject of Trump. It takes time for scripted material to get developed and produced, so maybe that’s the delay, not any kind of “shock and awe.” It will be interesting to see if a year from now there are lots of TV show and movies like the Shakespeare in The Park production or not.

Only time will tell, I suppose.

Author: Shelton Bumgarner

I am the Editor & Publisher of The Trumplandia Report

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