Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Nearly Missed This Great Huge Bowl of WTF

For various reasons, I've been on a bit of an internet fast these days, so I nearly missed this boat. But I wanna jump right the fuck on.

This is so messed up. And utterly unacceptable. I'm pretty poor these days myself, and I hate asking people to do things that involve money, but if you can, throw Primary Stages a subscription. And make sure they know you're doing it to support female playwrights and expanding diversity at our theatres.

And spread the word! And chime in here!


isaac butler said...

I think it's important to read the follow up post from the Development Director at Primary Stages which makes it extremely clear that the number of subscribers who have said they weren't reupping due to the gender/unknown nature of the playwrights (I agree those two thinsg are interrelated fwiw) is very very small. The e-mail callie received blew the whole thing out of proportion and she continued the cycle.

If people want to support Primary Stages' (laudable and awesome) new season, they should subscribe.And leading a campagin to support them is good. But we don't have to gin up a fake gender war amongst subscribers to do it.

As a blogger, I have many times gotten e-mails in my in box attempting to paint things in extreme ways that tug at my political sympathies. One of them tried to claim that the NYTimes wouldn't list a show because it was anti-war and the Times had employed Judy Miller (seriously). We have to be wary about how we treat these things before we pass them onto the public in general.

That being said... institutional sexism (like institutional racism) is a contributing factor almost certainly in some people's decision not to reup and to the fact that the playwrights are largely unknown. that's certainly worth talking about.

isaac butler said...

BTW: I should also note that i assume good faith on the part of the initial e-mailer that he or she felt that there was some larger more concerted and problematic effort from subscribers and was not trying to deliberately deceive anyone. And callie i'm sure is sincere in her intentions (which is upport) to support female playwrights and was again not trying to deceive anyone.

I realize looking over my comment that the sentence "gin up a fake gender war" is way more harsh than what i meant to say. Sorry about that.

99 said...

I definitely agree with those points. The direct e-mail from Primary Stages does emphasize that it's a relatively small number of folks who are saying that and probably a small fraction of subscribers overall. I do think it's a good start to the conversation about risks and the institutional prejudices. Even if it's only a few subscribers, it can scare a theatre off. We see that dynamic in politics all the time. Conservatives are able to get unpopular things passed, in part, because they rally their troops to complain more vocally than liberals. It's a place to start the conversation...