“Last week at one of his authoritarian parties in Montana, POTUS 45 reminded us all that old adages become repeated truths for good reason. If you give a selfish bully an inch, he will take a mile (or more). The party’s chain, once successfully yanked, shall be perpetually pulled.
So it is with the NFL’s terrible late-May ‘compromise policy’ toward players kneeling during the National Anthem. Come this fall, men are ordered to adjourn to the locker room to spare team owners the unattractive TV visuals of black people engaging in peaceful protest. This rule change was also a thinly disguised Hail Mary pass at appeasing the Human Cheeto.
Suckers! The league’s free speech suppressive capitulation only led Trump to opine (to much rural, white Montana hooting) in typical, erudite style: ‘Isn’t that worse than not standing? You know? I think that’s worse.'”
“Of course not all of the press coverage around the 2018 All-Star Game will surround toxic political air and infrastructure debates. There’s always plenty for sports pundits and fans to grumble about related to the NL and AL team lineups. This year is no exception. Rucker Haringey writes of Blake Snell and the 5 Biggest 2018 All-Star Game Snubs. His list includes the Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher as well as the Washington Nationals’ own starting shortstop Trea Turner.
Certain Chicago Cub fans, who might also happen to be Contemptor contributors, are miffed at the absence of rock star outfielder Albert Almora Jr. from the NL roster. Among all National League batters, Almora sits in third place with a current average of .317. However, Almora is a victim here, not of subjective fan voting, but rather mismanagement by Windy City favorite son Joe Maddon (Yes. I said it. Come at me, Internet).
Next week offers mid-summer breaks of several sorts. Although President Trump will be overseas potentially signing over what’s left of our national dignity to Vladimir Putin, he will at least be out of American airspace. This era of deregulation notwithstanding, the oxygen always smells a bit sweeter when the Very Stable Genius decamps. And on the lighter side of U.S. life and continuity, baseball fans can enjoy a couple of days with stakes no higher than selecting game time snacks (no more of this World Series home advantage stuff). We deserve the psychological reprieve.”
“While the Cubbies search for starter and bullpen reliability remains a challenge with an improving outlook, there’s no mixed messages at the plate. Simply put, the bats are swinging, and making all kinds of contact. It’s not hard to win six games in a row when the players collaborate for 56 total runs. As of the time of this writing, the Chicago Cubs have eight regular guys hitting .280 or better. In reverse order, they are Tommy La Stella, Kris Bryant (who should be coming off the DL any minute now), Addison Russell, Willson Contreras, Javy Baez, Jason Heyward (finally looking worth that huge contract), Ben Zobrist and of course, Albert Almora Jr.
Almora, whom Joe Maddon refuses to start everyday, to the great frustration of many fans, is currently hitting .329. That’s good enough for second place in the National League, a mere two points behind Scooter Gennett. This guy should be making a trip to the All-Star Game. But I digress…”
“I found but one aspect of Rae Colon’s source material supremely disappointing. And that is the work’s bi-polar relationship with female empowerment. For example, Dawn is a tough if imperfect advocate drowned by indecision and male subjugation. At the same time, Tilikum’s orca lady neighbors are presented as fearful survivors by turn, morphing into an aquatic iteration of Macbeth’s witches by play’s end. Tilikum is ultimately stripped of his agency, left understood as the tool of white male imprisonment and female bewitchment. The awkward ending undermines an otherwise powerful emerging female voice in contemporary theater.”
“I get tired of pointing this out to right wing elites, but you can’t have it both ways here. Just as Justice Kennedy impugned Colorado’s ‘clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated [the baker’s] objection,’ we’re not aware of the spiritual leanings of The Red Hen’s ownership. Most faiths, including all those across the Christian spectrum, teach empathy and humility toward the endangered and less fortunate. In fact it’s right there on the Compassionwebsite:
‘In Latin, “compati” means “suffer with.” Compassion means someone else’s heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Another’s suffering becomes your suffering. True compassion changes the way we live.”
The Good Book has been literally thrown into a cage along with thousands of helpless migrant children. That’s what Evangelical and Christian cynicism looks like in 2018. Perhaps the proprietors of The Red Hen have a conscious moral objection to serving accessories to kidnapping in their establishment. That is now protected by the First Amendment under the SCOTUS ruling. Be careful what you spend three decades fighting for, conservative Snowflakes. The law, at least for now, is still applicable on all sides.”
“To explore these questions, Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project made a series of visits to Laramie to conduct an extensive series of interviews with residents of the shaken town. It is to the writers’ collective credit that a tapestry of perspectives is recorded and shared. There are those who empathize with Matthew and his grieving family but dodge behind scripture and small-town convention to victim shame Shepard, avoiding an actual reckoning with the unspeakable crime. The murderers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, are held up by this crowd as aberrations, deviants—like Shepard himself.
But there are other stories, stories of revelation and personal growth. The white, middle-aged male homicide detective who sees Matthew’s broken body, consoles his devastated parents and decides that homophobia is as dangerous and out of place as a loaded canon. The Catholic priest who concludes that he doesn’t need a Bishop’s blessing or the Bible’s permission to organize a candlelight vigil or publicly condemn the student’s killers. The cautious lesbian academic who becomes more doggedly determined to live her truth, even at the potential risk of her personal safety.
The voices, vignettes and names onstage rotate frequently, embodied by a chameleon-like cast of 12 talented performers.”
“Almost 10 years into a theater criticism career on the Windy City beat, I experienced a first after the proverbial curtain dropped on Guards at the Taj, the haunting new production from Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Before I could find the way to Halsted Street to catch a ride home with my husband, I needed a few minutes to regroup in the restroom. I’m not talking a couple solitary tears. It was a full-on ugly cry. It’s not often that one encounters a work that makes such an immediate, visceral and I suspect, long-lasting impression on the psyche.
The play by 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph is so many things at once: a wry comedy, a beautiful story of friendship, a timeless examination of cultural stigmas, the burdens of duty and the limited choices that confront the poor and powerless each day. The work is a brilliant, linguistic joy, as well as incredibly difficult to watch. Neither Joseph nor director (and Steppenwolf ensemble member) Amy Morton allow the audience to retreat from the conflicting tensions baked into this amazing, one-act piece.”