You can’t make this stuff up.
Right-wing activists attempted to shut down the controversial performance of Julius Caesar that portrays the titular character as Donald Trump.
There is, of course, a certain pathos to self-proclaimed conservatives seeking to halt—through disruption—a performance of a classic work of literature by one of the most important authors in the western literary canon. I’m sure on most days at least some of these people complain about politically correct snowflakes on college campuses destroying western culture, what with their ‘trigger warnings’ and calls to ‘decolonize the curriculum.’
But the lunacy doesn’t end there. Julius Caesar is, of course, a tragedy. A group of conspirators, jealous and fearful that he will end the Roman Republic, brutally assasinate Caesar. But instead of saving the Republic, their actions precipitate its downfall. One has to be a bit dense to see this (somewhat lazy) interpretive decision as inciting violence against Trump.
But it gets better. So much better. There are the now-mandatory misspellings. And jokes about gerbils. And crackbrained attempts to claim that the performance incited the attack on the Republican congressional baseball team.
And then it goes completely off the rails.
Also, of course, no witches were burned in Salem or in The Crucible.
So, in summary:
1. A bunch of far-right agitators tried to shut down a play that represents Trump as a master military leader and politician, brought down by jealousy and fear, and whose murder ushers in dictatorial empire. Indeed, the first performance of Julius Caesar I ever saw had Marc Antony et al. switch to Nazi uniforms once the struggle following Caeser’s assasination gets underway. Subtle, I know.
2. One of those involved provides an analogy designed to demonstrate to liberals why he’s on the side of justice. What’s he do? He messes up the title of a rather famous American play—one that uses the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for McCarthyism. Even better, he suggests casting Hilary Clinton in the role of one of the characters falsely accused of being a witch. Because why not confirm every stereotype about Trumpistas?
Perhaps we are witnessing a performance art piece intended to showcase—in a negative light—the triumph of Trumpism over conservative intellectualism?
If not, all I can say is that it’s a very good thing the play wasn’t a reiminganing of Sir Ian MacKellen’s version of Richard III for the Trump era.