Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bad Theater, pt 5

They keep pumping out the anti-Iraq War dramas. Haven't they heard? Bush isn't president anymore! Not only that, we seem to have won the war! D'oh! The latest is 'The Lonely Soldier Monologues (Women at War in Iraq)' which appears to be a "fearless" combination of grim anti-war agitprop and humorless feminist complaining about how tuff it is to be a Woman
Helen Benedict, a journalism professor at Columbia, (emphasis added) has interviewed an assortment of female veterans and constructed “The Lonely Soldier Monologues” from their words. 
Just knowing Benedict's background is enough. You can pretty much guess the tone of this thing.
the bulk of the dialogue is revelatory and disturbing. Sexual harassment and assault by fellow soldiers is a constant theme. Lack of respect is another, and isolation yet another, women still being a small minority of the military population.
Revelatory and disturbing? Right, like no play by a feminist "journalism professor" has ever dealt with the themes of sexual harassment, rape, and "lack of respect!" Really, the hardest part in writing this surely must have been in deciding how best to balance Leftist cliches about the lousy life of soldiers against Feminist cliches about the lousy lives of women. 

This being a play about the Iraq War, Benedict can't resist including a little bit of the Big Lie.

But commendably, the play doesn’t merely ask for equal treatment; it also nods to the particular emotional pressures felt by women in the combat zone, many involving the Iraqi children who would approach soldiers or their convoys.

You’re supposed to run over them,” one soldier laments. “I was a day-care teacher.”

"Supposed to run them over?!" Sez who? This is, frankly, bullshit. It is also a slur against the troops that people like Benedict claim to support. I'd ask to see the source on that little quote, but I can guarantee that the source doesn't exist. Benedict either made it up for dramatic effect (some journalism!), or more likely heard it third hand from someone who heard it from a friend of a friend. That this apparently will go unremarked by her audience is yet another reason not to trust them, or their preferred leaders, in matters of war and peace. 

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