Soft Power, the latest anti-American theatrical screed

There is a new play/musical ( a "musical within a play") debuting at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, a 2000-seat high profile venue, with the largest  season-ticket subscription base on the West Coast.  The author is playwright David Henry Hwang  (M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face).  The title is meant to connote a "persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of cultural influence."  The play is meant to be just that, persuasive. Change how people think by seducing them with entertainment; hardly an original concept. The playwright calls this a cultural "delivery system."  

But rather than any attempt at persuasion, this production is a hammer to the head; America is a disaster - violent, gun-toting, and very stupid because we did not elect Hillary Clinton to be President.  Hillary is the co-star, the heroine of the show!  

This sounds ridiculous because it is, in part because she is played by a diminutive young actress who can sing.  But then she is an imaginary Hillary manifested in the comatose state of Hwang who has been stabbed on the streets of New York.  Hwang was attacked just so in real life.  The play has the feeling of a PTSD sufferer trying to come back from near death.  

The other main message of the show is that we should all hate Trump because Trump "hates China!"  This is because China is so superior in so many ways.  The American-born Hwang's traumatic event apparently left him confused about his ethnic heritage.  He is a successful American native but the election results made him want to be Chinese, or at least doubt his allegiance to America.

What is distressing is the absolute confidence the American theater "community" has that all theater-goers are on the same anti-American, anti-Trump page.  They seem to believe that every member of this elite and privileged group who can afford tickets that cost upwards of two-hundred dollars are all, each and every one of them, still apoplectic over Hillary's loss.  If it ever occurred to them, the entire production staff, that aspects of the play might not sit well with the millions of Americans who love their country and voted for Trump, they dismissed that kernel of truth in a heartbeat.   The play means to insult Trump supporters but assumes none of them would ever be in the audience anyway.  The theater is generally open season on conservatives.   It's a closed shop.

The protagonist of the play is Xue Xing, a Chinese businessman who has come to the US to produce film and television products for Shanghai.  He meets the Hwang character (the play is semi-autobiographical) who hopes to write for the company but is not sufficiently Chinese to suit Xing.  Then Xing meets his American idol, Hillary.  After Hwang is stabbed, his imagination becomes the musical, a mish-mash of non-melodious political nonsense:  Mao was good, China is greener than America, democracy does not work, if in China, HRC would be a leader of the Communist party, etc. 

The only sop to America is the possibility that American women are more overtly honest when compared to the more dutiful and demure Chinese women,  and that in America love is a priority over duty.  Americans may be happier but the Chinese are "happy enough." Two of the three main characters are unfaithful to their spouses, Xing and HRC but neither makes mention of any problem with infidelity.  So much for cultural differences.  All cheaters are equal but some cheaters are more equal than others.  Persons of the left can cheat with seeming impunity, until their behavior is as egregious as a Harvey Weinstein, but if a Republican indulges in the same behavior he is out in flash, kicked there by his own party. 

Hwang can smear the US all he wants thanks to his being an American.  Millions of dollars can be spent mounting this play because he is an American.  Had he stayed in China and maligned that country, no one would have ever heard of him and he would be dead at the hands of the state.  There is a thin thread of gratitude for his American birth but it is fragile; he is almost embarrassed by his waning love for the country of his birth.  He wants and needs to romanticize China and so he does.   The opening of the second act is a panel discussion fifty years in the future to discuss the smashing success of his play in 2016.  The guests are the grandchildren of the original principals.  Not surprisingly, China is THE world power.    This is what passes for cutting-edge theater in 2018.  

There is no question that gradual but radical changes in culture can not only change but destroy a civilization.  Thanks to hip-hop, words that must not be uttered are screamed at us via that particular brand of non-musical entertainment.  The progressive campaign to undermine Western culture, Judeo-Christian values, has been underway for decades with no small modicum of success.  

Consider where we are today:  the eradication of gender differences is almost a fact in the media and academia.  It will never be a scientific fact.  Man-made global warming is not a scientific fact but dominates the media and academia.   The left defends late term abortions, the left defends all manner of criminality among illegal migrants but throws the book at US citizens for minor infractions.   Schools must be dumbed-down to accommodate the least capable and hamstring the capable.  They eschew equality of opportunity in favor of forced equality of outcome.  

It will never work but there it is.   So much for "soft power." If only it could be used for the good of humankind rather than its moral demise.   This play by Hwang will go nowhere and affect nothing but the fact that it was produced at all is a sad commentary on the state of theatrical culture.  The good thing about it?  It will make everyone over sixty want to watch The King and I, Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof,  Carousel, etc. to be reminded of what joy musical theater once brought to American audiences.

There is a new play/musical ( a "musical within a play") debuting at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, a 2000-seat high profile venue, with the largest  season-ticket subscription base on the West Coast.  The author is playwright David Henry Hwang  (M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face).  The title is meant to connote a "persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of cultural influence."  The play is meant to be just that, persuasive. Change how people think by seducing them with entertainment; hardly an original concept. The playwright calls this a cultural "delivery system."  

But rather than any attempt at persuasion, this production is a hammer to the head; America is a disaster - violent, gun-toting, and very stupid because we did not elect Hillary Clinton to be President.  Hillary is the co-star, the heroine of the show!  

This sounds ridiculous because it is, in part because she is played by a diminutive young actress who can sing.  But then she is an imaginary Hillary manifested in the comatose state of Hwang who has been stabbed on the streets of New York.  Hwang was attacked just so in real life.  The play has the feeling of a PTSD sufferer trying to come back from near death.  

The other main message of the show is that we should all hate Trump because Trump "hates China!"  This is because China is so superior in so many ways.  The American-born Hwang's traumatic event apparently left him confused about his ethnic heritage.  He is a successful American native but the election results made him want to be Chinese, or at least doubt his allegiance to America.

What is distressing is the absolute confidence the American theater "community" has that all theater-goers are on the same anti-American, anti-Trump page.  They seem to believe that every member of this elite and privileged group who can afford tickets that cost upwards of two-hundred dollars are all, each and every one of them, still apoplectic over Hillary's loss.  If it ever occurred to them, the entire production staff, that aspects of the play might not sit well with the millions of Americans who love their country and voted for Trump, they dismissed that kernel of truth in a heartbeat.   The play means to insult Trump supporters but assumes none of them would ever be in the audience anyway.  The theater is generally open season on conservatives.   It's a closed shop.

The protagonist of the play is Xue Xing, a Chinese businessman who has come to the US to produce film and television products for Shanghai.  He meets the Hwang character (the play is semi-autobiographical) who hopes to write for the company but is not sufficiently Chinese to suit Xing.  Then Xing meets his American idol, Hillary.  After Hwang is stabbed, his imagination becomes the musical, a mish-mash of non-melodious political nonsense:  Mao was good, China is greener than America, democracy does not work, if in China, HRC would be a leader of the Communist party, etc. 

The only sop to America is the possibility that American women are more overtly honest when compared to the more dutiful and demure Chinese women,  and that in America love is a priority over duty.  Americans may be happier but the Chinese are "happy enough." Two of the three main characters are unfaithful to their spouses, Xing and HRC but neither makes mention of any problem with infidelity.  So much for cultural differences.  All cheaters are equal but some cheaters are more equal than others.  Persons of the left can cheat with seeming impunity, until their behavior is as egregious as a Harvey Weinstein, but if a Republican indulges in the same behavior he is out in flash, kicked there by his own party. 

Hwang can smear the US all he wants thanks to his being an American.  Millions of dollars can be spent mounting this play because he is an American.  Had he stayed in China and maligned that country, no one would have ever heard of him and he would be dead at the hands of the state.  There is a thin thread of gratitude for his American birth but it is fragile; he is almost embarrassed by his waning love for the country of his birth.  He wants and needs to romanticize China and so he does.   The opening of the second act is a panel discussion fifty years in the future to discuss the smashing success of his play in 2016.  The guests are the grandchildren of the original principals.  Not surprisingly, China is THE world power.    This is what passes for cutting-edge theater in 2018.  

There is no question that gradual but radical changes in culture can not only change but destroy a civilization.  Thanks to hip-hop, words that must not be uttered are screamed at us via that particular brand of non-musical entertainment.  The progressive campaign to undermine Western culture, Judeo-Christian values, has been underway for decades with no small modicum of success.  

Consider where we are today:  the eradication of gender differences is almost a fact in the media and academia.  It will never be a scientific fact.  Man-made global warming is not a scientific fact but dominates the media and academia.   The left defends late term abortions, the left defends all manner of criminality among illegal migrants but throws the book at US citizens for minor infractions.   Schools must be dumbed-down to accommodate the least capable and hamstring the capable.  They eschew equality of opportunity in favor of forced equality of outcome.  

It will never work but there it is.   So much for "soft power." If only it could be used for the good of humankind rather than its moral demise.   This play by Hwang will go nowhere and affect nothing but the fact that it was produced at all is a sad commentary on the state of theatrical culture.  The good thing about it?  It will make everyone over sixty want to watch The King and I, Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof,  Carousel, etc. to be reminded of what joy musical theater once brought to American audiences.