Uneasy Is the Head
Thanks, Katha Pollitt, for distinguishing between the original Julius Caesar and our current impostor [“Orange Julius,” July 17/24]. As Caesar might have remarked observing the current alliance of dolts and cynics now in power but comically stymied: “Waney, weedy, weaky.”
Katha Pollitt provides a cogent analysis of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and rightly sees it as a lesson in the destruction that unfolds when a ruler is violently overthrown. Regicide was looked upon with horror in Shakespeare’s time, while in Dante’s Inferno, the worst punishment is reserved for the betrayers Cassius, Brutus, and Judas.
That said, in April of this year when the production was announced, a statement from the Public Theater described Julius Caesar as a play about a leader who is “a force unlike any the city has seen. Magnetic, popular, he seems bent on absolute power. A small band of patriots…must decide how to oppose him.” I took that as a disguised shout-out to the significant anti-Trump forces in New York City, and promptly notified the US Secret Service. It struck me then, and even more so now, as an incitement to violence. I can only be grateful that some, such as Delta Airlines and Bank of America, saw through Oskar Eustis’s charade and bravely withdrew their support.
Re “Stolen Birthright,” by Leah Douglas [July 17/24]: One of the underlying problems is not mentioned here and cannot be quantitatively stated, and that is the particular white American fetish, if you will, for property (land) rights. Simply take a look at what happened when Anglo-American values met Hawaiian values over the issue. We have this pathological obsession with our own and others’ land. It exists worldwide, but we have created our own nasty brand of it. Now that Northeasterners are willing to move south to places like the Carolinas, expect it to get much nastier, as the competition for prime pieces of land at places like Hilton Head becomes a blood sport, as it did here in California some time ago. Only if you are used to a place like New York City is this somehow acceptable.