Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
 

Oct 19 - Nov 2, 2005
Issue #86

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
   
Grand Perjury
A Miller's Tale
Allan Uthman

Disrobed
Are Female Genitals Enough to Qualify for the Supreme Court?
Paul jones

Getty Some
Hot Movement Action
A Monkey
Jurassic Dork
Michael Crichton's Science Fiction
Kit Smith
Harold Who?
Ode to Pinter in 1 Act

Alexander Zaitchik

Theatre of War
Inside the Psy-Ops Studio
Matt Bors

Drown Together
On Katrina & Disaster Fatigue
Jeff Dean
FAUX-TURES
After terror threats, New York begins efforts to clean shit out of pants
Clayton Byrd
An Open Letter to Jessica Alba
Irresponsible Mayoral Speculation:
What do Bflo's candidates have to do to win/lose?

Shop for Porn Like a Pro!
Hyman Bender

BOOKS
The Assassin’s Gate
America in Iraq
by George Packer
Review by John Freeman
The Big Wedding
9/11, the Whistle-Blowers and the Cover-Up
by Sander Hicks
Review by Russ Wellen
LOCAL
Buffalo Soldiers
Hutch Tech's New Program: Forcible Conscription
Allan Uthman
Another Corporate Psycopath
The Barnacle at Delphi
Chuck Richardson

The BEAST Blog
Irresponsible vitriol on a near-daily basis

[sic] - Letters
Wide Right
Bills Football & other sports
Ronnie Roscoe
Kino Korner: Movies
Michael Gildea
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
Beast-O-Scopes
 
 Cover Page

COMIX:
Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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Harold Who? An Ode to Pinter in One Act. By Alexander Zaitchik

I am currently traveling in a part of the world populated by brown natives and British, Israeli and European tourists. Thatís it. There are no Americans, which makes me a sort of roving ambassador/shit sweeper. It is my daily duty to remind locals and fellow travelers that not every U.S. citizen believes in Jesus Christ Our Lord Our Savior, that New York is not near New Orleans, and that Bushís numbers are currently in the toilet. Itís also my responsibility not to sound stupid and oafish. This last part is the hardest.

So when Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for letters last week, panic ensued. Not in the streets and cafes of West London, just in my head. Itís one thing when a young Nepalese or Congolese novelist wins the Nobel and you canít think of a single one of their books. But when the laureate writes (and directs) in English and is roughly the same age as Norman Mailer, anyone with private pretensions of any size will panic at drawing a Nobel-sized blank. Especially when surrounded by Commonwealth types who already suspect youíre just another Innocent Abroad.

Last week I drew a blank.

To stave off the panic, I riffed on Harold Pinterís name, trying to jog some dusty bit of knowledge loose through word association. Harold Wilson: the Labour Prime Minister during the 1960s. Punter: what Brits call weasely assholes. Pint: the unit by which they mete out beer.

Then the words slowly came into focus: The Party. The title turned up in a dusty mental file marked ďPinter, HaroldóUK, plays, postwar.Ē That one title was enough for me. I relaxed. I had me some culture, after all.

Pinterís Wikepedia entry later informed me that the play is actually called The Birthday Party, but I gave myself partial credit. I had read the play, or at least some of it, in college. About The Birthday Party I remember almost nothing. I have only a vague recollection of a nude woman driving a car on stage, but itís possible this image is from one of the other plays in that book, a 60s-era paperback entitled, The Birthday Party and Other Plays, or something like that.

Basically, like the rest of America, I know fuck all about the works of this Nobel winning British playwright. Like most Americans, what I do know about him has nothing to do with his art. I know only that he opposed the war in Iraq in bright colors, has long been a critic of American foreign policy, hates the Bushies big-time, and hates Tony Blair bigger-time. How much does Harold Pinter hate them? Even if he were an unpublished playwright, Pinter the polemicist might still have gone down in history for a world record in blistering high-mode anti-war cant. He has, since the war, put into print some of the most vicious Bush attacks since Hunter S. Thompson suggested that the entire presidential family be boiled alive in a vat of bubbling poison. Pinterís op-eds are the British text equivalent of Steve Bellís monkey and poodle caricatures in the Guardian.

Pinterís attacks on the UK-US leadership are not always original, but they have been athletically sustained over the last couple of years, even as he battles lung cancer at 75. Consider this heartfelt tirade delivered in the House of Commons on the eve of war, 2003:†

One of the more nauseating images of the year 2002 is that of our Prime Minister kneeling in the church on Christmas Day praying for peace on earth and good will towards all men while simultaneously preparing to assist in the murder of thousands of totally innocent people in Iraq.

Iíve been taken to task recently by the American Ambassador to Britain for calling the US Administration a blood thirsty wild animal. All I can say is: take a look at Donald Rumsfeldís face and the case is made.

I believe that not only is this contemplated act criminal, malevolent and barbaric, it also contains within itself a palpable joy in destruction. Power, as has often been remarked, is the great aphrodisiac, and so, it would seem, is the death of others.

I think itís fair to say that the Nobel committee isnít that worried about regaining the confidence of conservative critics who say the Literature prize has been hopelessly compromised by the selection of outspoken lefty critics of the Iraq war (i.e., Gunter Grass). Pinter is about as blisteringly political as artists get, and wears his many embassy-event ejections like badges of honor.

Since Pinterís plays are known for their politics and long silences, it should be easy to produce a short Pinteresque One Act in honor of his Nobel award. I call it, ďThe Child.Ē

The set: A traditional corner pub, somewhere in England.

Albert Schweitzer is sitting at the bar, reading a comic book, sipping an orange soda.

[This goes on for 15 minutes.]

Tony Blair walks up to the bar, looking confused and holding a 120 mm tank shell tipped with Depleted Uranium.

Blair: Pardon me, is anybody sitting here?

Schweitzer: Maybe, maybe not.

Blair shrugs and sits down. Puts shell on stool next to him.

Both are silent for 20 minutes.

[Finally Schweitzer turns to Blair]: Prime Minister, tell me, do you know what is green, hangs from a wall, and sings?

Blair shrugs.

Schweitzer: The mutilated body of an Iraqi child after stepping on an unexploded cluster bomb!

Blair, laughing: Come off it, old chap. How does the mutilated body of an Iraqi child after stepping on an unexploded cluster bomb hang from a wall and sing. And how is it green?

Schweitzer: What? Youíve never seen a corpse? Theyíre greenish. And if not, then you get a brush and some paintóand itís green!

Blair: Very well then. But tell me, how does the mutilated body of an Iraqi child after stepping on an unexploded cluster bomb hang from a wall?

Schweitzer: Ach! Simple. You get yourself some rope, a nail, a hammerÖ

Blair: Fine, fine. But I canít see how the mutilated body of an Iraqi child after stepping on an unexploded cluster bomb can sing?

Schweitzer pauses, then shrugs: Well, two for three ainít bad!

Both men convulse in loud laughter. Blair falls off his bar stool, knocking over the tank shell. A naked woman drives an antique Edsel onto stage, throwing flower petals and rice.

[The curtain hits the cast.]

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