Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Patriots' Day

It's a pretty New England-specific thing (and really seems to mean a lot more in Boston than anywhere else) but I think that Patriots' Day deserves a shoutout.

It's most renowned for being the day that the Boston Marathon happens - congratulations to Robert Cheruiot (four's a charm!) and Dire Tune! And it's exciting to Red Sox fans because they play a game that starts in the morning. I'm tapping this out at 1:23, and the Sox are already leading the Rangers 8-0 in the 6th. (You almost have to feel sorry for those poor Rangers. This may be long-term repercussions from when George W. Bush ran the club.) But I think it's also a good reminder that patriotism does NOT mean blind acceptance or following of the government; that America's foundation was built on dissent and rebellion, religious freedom (emphatically not fundamentalism) and independent thought.

At least, that's how I see it.

So, given that, here's a brief excerpt from a pretty rad interview with F. Murray Abraham in today's Gothamist (I encourage you to read the whole thing):

Speaking of casting, weren’t you supposed to be in the current revival of The American Dream and The Sandbox?

I was scheduled to do it with Edward [Albee] but I just simply couldn’t do one more play without making some money. You know, I’m only making about $425 a week here and I have some big expenses. Very big. And I have to make some movie money. I had done three plays in a row and I had to beg off so I could do a movie. He was very understanding and we’re friends but I simply couldn’t. I’m leaving shortly to do another movie; I have to do these movies to support this theater habit.

So you’re an actor with this incredible reputation and a body of work that speaks for itself, here you are in an Off Broadway play with a famous writer and incredible cast, and you’re being paid peanuts. Has the pay scale just gotten worse and worse over the years?

Yeah, it has. It’s just one of those things. But working people across America have been paid less and less over the years. And while that’s happening we have these heads of corporations who are destroying corporations while making billions of dollars. What’s going on? Is this democracy? Something’s wrong here. It’s bullshit, man. It’s got to stop. It’s got to change. I don’t know who or what that change is but we have to do something. I mean, the idea that you believe – as the God I play believes – that you are the only source of truth and integrity and reality, then that gives you the right to torture people and do any damn thing you want because you’re above the law. That’s what the Nazis did; they said it was there divine right. And we’re behaving like Nazis. That’s not America, that’s not the America my two brothers died for in defense of their country. It’s bullshit.

Ain't it, though?

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