Don’t hug me; I’m wearing a bomb

Don’t hug me; I’m wearing a bomb
: Terry Teachout has a great line today in his Wall Street Journal review of Sixteen Wounded:

But Mr. Kraiem’s stalwart attempt to humanize the face of terrorism is just the sort of thing guaranteed to please Manhattan playgoers, who like nothing better than poking smugly at the limits of their tolerance. If Satan himself were to materialize in Times Square at high noon tomorrow, you can bet that by 12:05 the streets would be crammed with Upper West Siders eager to hear his side of the story, so long as he promised to check into the Betty Ford Clinic the next day.

  • Doctor Slack

    Yes, great line. Because we all know that terrorism has no human face, and is in fact carried out by one-dimensional mustache-twirling film villains when it’s not being done by actual demons from the nether realms. Only a degenerate Upper West Sider could fail to recognize this obvious fact. We’re very lucky to have Terry Teachout to point this out for us.

  • jeremy

    Actually, the audience the night I saw it looked to me in large part like a lot of out-of-towners who got their tickets for the show because it was plentiful at TKTS and had Judd Hirsch in it. Neither the Pennsylvanians on my right nor the Oregonians on my left had any idea what the play was about prior to the curtain going up.
    Also, in watching the audience after the show, my impression of their reaction was: annoyance. I think Teachout captures the problems better when decribing the slickness and glibness the play embodies in order to make its point. To wit:
    There was a point where the Jewish character opines that the Israeli/Palestinian situation is not the Holocaust because there are no gas chambers. The Palestinian character retorts that there weren’t at the beginning of the Holocaust either. The Jewish character is….speechless! Stunned and unable to respond!
    My wife and I almost burst out laughing, and my mind reeled with the number of responses an actual person would have come up with (my first glib response was “the sinking of Titanic didn’t start with gas chambers either….does this make the Israeli-Palestinian situation the equivalent of the sinking of the Titanic?”) Seriously, having been around many debates on the subject, I’ve never seen anyone just stunned into conceding.
    I guess the play is okay as a polemic if you agree with it. If you believe the topic is a serious one that deserves a serious treatment, though, I don’t think it’s the play for you.

  • DR. Slack, at the risk of tossing my thoughts into an abyss, I will attempt to reach what mind you are alleged to have:
    No one has seriously claimed that terrorists are not human. What Mr. Teachout objects to is the way clever people like this playwright are using that simple fact. They are treating the fact that “terrorists are people too!” as if it were more important than the evil the terrorists have done. Of course, to understand the above sentence one would have to first agree that the actions of terrorists are, in fact, evil. Are deliberately killing people that you know to be a) unarmed, or at least, unarmed against you, and b) unaware of you and your intentions, still regarded as “evil” in the strange land the cultural elite inhabit? I should hope so, but it is hard to tell over the increasingly desperate sound of the cries of “Bush=Hitler!” “Israel=Naziism!” “It’s all our fault!” (Meaning, it’s all the fault of The Bourgeois Middle Class Who Didn’t Understand My Art So I Moved Out of That Hick Midwestern Town and Made a Career of Attacking Their Deepest Values Because Mentally I Am Still a Baby Who Resents Being Made to Wipe Myself.) Und so weiter.

  • narciso

    Well no, the great Palestinian uprising of 1936-39; (the same time, and sponsored by the same
    people,) was an early version of the Ukrainian
    & Croatian auxiliaries duty from 41-45. the leading figure was Haj Amin Husseini; Arafat’s
    uncle & future guest of the Fuhrer & Il Duce,
    as well as the Saud clan. No matter, how one
    tries to rationalize Qutb, Tammiya & Wahhab;
    it doesn’t make any sense, in the long run