Thursday, February 4, 2010

Their weaknesses are incidental

I know I already said New Yorker theatre critic Hilton Als was on my don't-bother-reading list. And I meant it! And the first line of his review of Young Jean Lee's Lear is a good reminder of why!
Young Jean Lee’s “Lear” (at the SoHo Rep) is a hot mess, but it’s the kind of misfire that any young artist is entitled to, especially if he or she aspires to greatness.
You stopped after "hot mess," right? Good for you! But I must confess I skimmed the rest of that review, despite my no-Als policy, because I was curious about how the play was being received in general. Which is how I found this:
Lee has a profound understanding of women—how they talk, how they describe one another: with a near-clinical objectivity and, often, with loathing.
Ooh, snap! Women are such bitches! Finally, a lady playwright with a profound understanding of her sex's awfulness!

I once jokingly suggested that perhaps Als is on his editor's don't-bother-reading list. Now I think that may actually be the best explanation. On the other hand, maybe Hilton Als just gets women more than I do. It does seem to be a theme with him lately! Here's the first line of his review of Venus in Furs in the February 8, 2010, issue:
The cruelty of women!
Hilton, honey, is... is something bothering you? Because, this could be my near-clinical objectivity and loathing talking, but: maybe you could work it out on your own time? And not so much with the overt misogyny in your theatre reviews? Just a suggestion!

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