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May 09, 2007



David, I was wondering about your critique of Church in light of your concurrent harangue against Christianity and religion. The reader of your reviews now has your biography, belief system, and prejudices as context. I guess this is a good thing. For sure, it is a new thing. No pretensions of journalistic objectivity for you.

You say in the review “religion is bad theater for stupid people.” Do you think the inverse is then true? “Theatre is good religion for smart people?”

I think many artists in their lives have replaced the religion in which they were raised with their art form. Artists do also generally seem smarter than the Average Joe. But I am not so sure art makes that good of a religion.


Nick, my atheism, irreverence, general amused disdain for religion, does not make me any less incapable of solid objective reviewing or reporting than if I were a pious regular churchgoer (I can't believe I'm actually writing this). In fact, since I dislike all religions equally, I have a better chance at objectivity than a sectarian, who perforce must be partial to his particular deity. As for the art/religion thing, mindless, exclusionary worship whether it's of God or aesthetics is equally bothersome. Of course, fewer people kill each other or exploit their children over a well-written play.


No doubt you can be as objective as a pious churchgoer. But that’s beside the point. Normally the reader would not know whether the reviewer was either a pious churchgoer or an atheist. But now that the cat's out of the bag, the reader must “consider the source” when evaluating the review.


Only a fool would think that a reporter or critic has no biases, or could not read them between the lines.


Except there is no need to read between the lines anymore. Even the fools can read now. I think that’s good.

As print reviewers move into the blogosphere, seems to me the relationship to their readers will evolve. For instance, I would normally never read your reviews. I do now, but I read them only as extension to my reading of your blog. I find your blogging more interesting than your reviewing. Sure, that may just be me, but the broadcast model is breaking down under the pressure of this new interactive model.


David your comments about Banana Bag and Bodice have deeply wounded all at PS122. They absolutely are giving away free beer.


Before the religion vs. theater divide makes me cry, I just want to put in $.02 that maybe we don't always have to pick between the two. I love the theater more than anything in my life, or I wouldn't be a 45yr old still working a day job. I also have a deep belief system. I attend church 2 or 3 sunday's a month (even if I'm Fudging the Pimp until 3am the night before).

These can be mutually exclusive, but they don't have to be. And if you don't believe me, I invite you both, and all, to join me on May 20, 11am at Judson Church when the Rev' Howard Moody will be speaking (a wise man who wont be with us much longer).

I love the theater because I've always found it to be a place where the most outcast of us have a place to belong whether you're a loveable authority-challenging theater anarchist or a writer who could make acting magic with a peacock feather in his butt. Regardless of their place in this community, if anyone has to check their beliefs at the door before they can have an opinion about puttin' on lil' plays, we're never gonna change the world.

David Cote

My point has always been that religion IS theater, only the metaphors have metastasized into tautologizing absolute truths. Religion provides what theater provides, sans ambiguities or drama. (Okay, yes, liturgical rituals involve call-and-response and narrative aspects, and there is a kind of implicit ambiguity in internalized notions of sin and damnation...there's an AESTHETIC reason why religion gets such a grip the minds of believers) I know that religion predates religion, I just think the same human urges that god-belief serves are served—with less psychic, intellectual and physical damage—by theater.

David Cote

That last word should have been "art" or "imagination."

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