Freud made the case through his art that no body type inherently possesses more capacity to compel than another.
Without turning into sentimental left-wing pageantry, Kushner’s new play illuminates radicalism and makes art of sectarian dreams and failures.
The senator's ideological shape-shifting has fallen out of favor.
In the end, Harold Pinter devoted
himself to defining "the real truth of our lives and our societies." Now
that he's gone, his twenty-nine plays will continue that rude, honorable
and turbulent work.
No playwright has given plainer witness to the planet's most violent century or borne such loving witness to the dispossessed.
Boston's Bernard Cardinal Law deserves the Watergate Award for Obfuscatory Declamation: He has characterized his nearly two decades of cover-up of felonies--namely, the rape and molestation of hundreds of Boston-area children by scores of priests--as "tragically incorrect." Records uncovered by the Boston Globe's Spotlight Team disclose the shocking extent to which Law's cold-shouldering of young victims made him an enabler of known recidivist pedophiles, including former priest John Geoghan, whose thirty-six-year spree of child sexual exploitation ended in a prison sentence on February 21.
Over and over, Law sought to pay hush money to victims of known molesters and then moved the predators to new parishes, where they once again had access to children. For years Law counted on the cooperation of several judges who, sharing his belief that the faith of rank-and-file church members might not survive a reckoning with the truth about the priestly criminals in their midst, moved to seal archdiocese files. Even as the child-rape stories were breaking, Law permitted his lawyers to pursue a defense based on "comparative negligence"--the theory that the abuse was partially due to victims' negligence.
Ever since Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney's November ruling forced public release of documents detailing the crimes, the Cardinal's voice has had a from-the-bunker timbre. At his official residence, Law has been hunkered down with wealthy male advisers from Boston's Catholic elite--bankers, executives, university presidents and politicians who together calibrate the spin of each statement that issues from the Chancery. But sometimes a furious Law bursts through the kitchen-cabinet insulation: His Nixonian response to the news that nearly half of polled Boston Catholics want him to resign--including those faithful who keep a Law-Must-Go vigil in front of his residence--was to declare them enemies of the Church. His persistent disparagement of the Globe reporters who sued to unseal those documents is not a response to stress; it's his longstanding M.O. In 1992, after the Globe exposed Father James Porter as a serial rapist, the cosmopolitan Harvard-man Cardinal inveighed, "By all means, we call down God's power upon the media, particularly the Globe."
While the US Catholic Church has so far paid out $1 billion in settlements for clerical molestation cases, the predator priests are less emblems of fatal flaws in doctrine--including the doctrine of celibacy--than they are evidence of the mortal danger posed by any institutional leadership that perpetuates the myth that it is answerable to no laws but its own. (This presumption of immunity has taken an ominous new turn, as bishops across the country fling priests alleged to have molested from their jobs: As one Massachusetts picket sign reads: There Is No Due Process in Cardinal's Law.) Protestants have sustained public-relations catastrophes and paid huge sums for years of cover-ups: In December the Anglican Church of Canada announced that ten of its thirty dioceses are facing bankruptcy as a result of child sexual-abuse claims. Australian Governor General Peter Hollingworth faces mounting cries for his resignation since evidence surfaced that while he was an archbishop, he grossly mishandled cases of pedophilia. The children sexually exploited by Deacon Robert Tardy of Washington's Peace Baptist Church have never heard one word of apology from church authorities. Predators and their protectors are also ensconced within synagogue walls. This past summer Boca Raton's Jerrold Levy, rabbi of the largest Reform congregation in the South, was prosecuted for procuring underage boys in four states via the Internet. After he was convicted on one count, federal prosecutors abruptly reversed their sentencing recommendation from sixty years to six and a half, reportedly because of pressure from influential synagogue members. Several weeks ago Cantor Howard Nevison of Manhattan's famed Temple Emanu-El was arrested for an alleged two-generation-long rampage of child rape; some suspect his low bail is connected to Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau's position as a trustee of Nevison's temple.
As Law's regime wrapped a blanket around criminals in the priesthood, it swung a terrible swift sword in the direction of women aspiring to fuller participation in Catholic liturgy. Two years ago, an organization called Massachusetts Women-Church, made up primarily of lifelong-Catholic mothers and grandmothers advocating the ordination of women, was banned by Law from church-affiliated buildings. When members picketed outside a church, Law shouted at them, "You are in violation of your faith!"
Treating women as contaminants and children as invisible while coddling criminals in Roman collars allowed Boston's imperial bishopric to shore up support for Law's real goal: making a permanent move to Rome as the first American Pope. If Law had been, say, director of a daycare center or a summer camp, he would probably be on his way to jail. But with powerful people at his elbows, Law is as unlikely to serve prison time as he was to let the violated bodies of children get in the way of his career building. When Boston Catholics finally force him out, he'll probably be humming "My Way" as he packs his bags.
On October 22 Gerry Adams stood in Belfast's historic Conway Mill before a multigenerational audience of Belfast nationalists to confirm a rumor that had been circulating in the city for weeks: that the Irish Republican Army had begun the process of putting "beyond use" its store of handguns, automatic weapons, rocket launchers and explosives under the eye of an independent international body headed by Canada's Gen. John de Chastelain. September 11 accelerated a process that was already under way: On August 6 de Chastelain's commission reported that the IRA had already agreed to an arms-disposal arrangement. Conway Mill casts its shadow over a vanished neighborhood of little homes, burnt to the ground in 1969 by rioting police and Protestant terrorists who killed seven people and displaced thousands of families. Adams's speech had not a trace of eye-for-an-eye ideology: It simply embraced anew the straightforward demands that more than three decades ago launched the Irish Civil Rights Movement: a new policing structure, demilitarization and an equality agenda. By not uttering one word about a united Ireland, Adams made his speech into an open hand, extended toward a deeply divided unionist community. Laurence McKeown, a republican who back in 1981 almost perished on a seventy-day hunger strike, called Adams's gesture "startlingly generous, morally courageous."
McKeown's remarks were in no way political backscratching: Adams took a huge risk by talking disarmament in the midst of a two-month loyalist terror campaign against Catholics in North Belfast. When the C Company of the Ulster Freedom Fighters recently joined forces with members of their longtime loyalist rivals, the Loyalist Volunteer Force, it wasn't to go mano a mano with the Irish Republican Army. It was to lob pipe bombs at a group of little girls--some as young as 4--who were trying to attend Holy Cross Catholic School in the Ardoyne area. Since the beginning of September, these terrified children have had to run a gantlet of some 200 adults, who spit and throw bricks and pipe bombs while chanting: "Fenian sluts!" and "No school today, ya wee whores!" All summer long, the IRA hewed to its pledge to keep the gun out of Irish politics despite the loyalist paramilitary Red Hand Defenders' random slaying of two young Catholic men in Armagh and Antrim; the huge, fully primed bomb the RHD left in the crowded seaside town of Ballycastle; and the bomb that was discovered in the office of the North's Education Minister, Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein. Feeling thwarted by the democratic process, and defying the fact that the majority of the electorate voted for the 1998 Good Friday Accords, these armed-to-the-teeth backbenchers have been lurching to the fore, juicing up their intimidation campaign by stoking anxiety over the North's power-sharing arrangements in the working-class precincts of the Ardoyne.
It's not just Protestant terrorists whose response to the democratic process is insurrection: The suit-and-tie Ulster Unionist Party has consistently used the agreement for target practice. Over the past three years, Tony Blair's reckless equivocations about the terms of the agreement have nearly smothered the peace process altogether, thereby confirming the UUP's credo that the Good Friday terms are optional. Thanks to Blair's pusillanimous (and now former) Northern Secretary Peter Mandelson, who blithely tossed out some of the wisest of the Good Friday policing commission's reform recommendations, the "Ulster Says No" branch of Unionism has become resolute in its belief that not only need they make no more concessions, but they can delete any piece of the agreement at whim. Through a massive failure of nerve, Blair can now stand before his mirror and see his worst nightmare: a face that bears an uncanny resemblance to his UUP-whipped predecessor, John Major.
What will happen next? Will the glowering, hideous spy towers, hovering helicopters and other army equipment that blight the Northern Irish landscape be packed up and shipped back to Britain at last? As part of the IRA's decommissioning deal, Blair has removed four military installations from border areas. But because he's made Unionist leader David Trimble feel that the UUP's old-time religion is still preached from Downing Street's pulpit, don't look for a rush of Unionist peace offerings in response to the IRA's pledge to leave the Armalite behind forever. London still doesn't find preposterous the Unionists' intimation that those Catholic schoolgirls and their terrorist aggressors are somehow equally to blame for the Ardoyne attacks. Until Blair finds his spine and faces down the Unionist refuseniks, that party will be entitled to believe that the epochal Good Friday Accords are ever available for renegotiation, and the loyalist snipers and bomb throwers will feel entitled to even greater freedom of expression.
That 18,000 people--mostly female--filled Madison Square Garden, a basilica of boy-sport theology, on February 10 to watch a celebrity-packed performance of The Vagina Monologues represents a slightly less staggering achievement than a women's takeover of the Vatican or the Chabad Lubavitcher world headquarters. The show was the capper to a daylong international event called V-Day: The Gathering to End Violence Against Women, during which sixty women from six continents presented stop-rape strategies. What was most remarkable about these projects was their insistence not simply on shielding women but on permanently and radically altering how communities talk about rape and deal with rapists. In the evening, the most arresting image was that of an Afghan woman, obliterated by her burqa, moving like a silent, anonymous hill of cloth toward the stage. When the cloth was lifted, a young woman emerged, dressed in the casual jacket-and-pants outfit that would blend in on any university campus in the world, but that her own country's Taliban movement would deem reason enough to beat her to death on the spot.
Those who endeavor to dismiss events like V-Day as pageants of single-issue identity politics are missing the point. The reports of sequestering of Vietnamese women in a Korean-owned sweatshop in American Samoa, where they were fed cabbage water, housed forty to a rat-infested room and kept under the thumb of sexual predators, is a reminder that at the very bottom of the "race to the bottom" economy, there's always a room where women are locked, overseen by a male with the power to starve them and to demand blowjobs in return for allowing them to keep working.
Labor organizations like UNITE and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees now understand that feminist issues like sweatshops, comparable worth for women, sexual harassment and education provide the vital pathway toward the expansion and revitalization of their movement. But events like V-Day make an even broader point: Vigorous global feminism is perhaps the single most effective form of resistance to the systematic degradation of human rights standards worldwide, which makes possible the worst ravages of the transnational economy.
The evidence of these depredations abounds. In London, girls as young as 5, purchased as slaves from Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe, are imprisoned in flats where they are rented to businessmen. Since NAFTA's inception, more than 200 young Mexican women have been raped and murdered on their way home from working in maquiladoras. V-Day's insistence on a worldwide confrontation of the systems that allow such atrocities kicks open a door for all manner of liberation activists. It's harder to imagine a single greater threat to the global sweatshop economy than the systematic pursuit of the rights of women.