Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Comedy About A Rigged Economy Angered Me, And That's A Good Thing

The play "American Hero" now running at Vermont
Stage Company, is a comedy that might leave you
feeling frustrated by the state of America these days.
That, actually, is a very good thing. 
Last night, I went to a preview of Vermont Stage Company's latest production, a comedy called "American Hero."

The play was excellent and I recommend it, for sure, but still, I left after the show feeling kind of pissed off.

That's NOT a diss at all against Vermont Stage.

The cast and crew at this small Vermont theater company did their usual excellent job with this production, and "American Hero" certainly accomplishes its goal of making me and the rest of the audience have quite a few good laughs.

"American Hero," set in troubled shopping mall sandwich shop, is totally worth seeing during its official October 12 to 30 run in Burlington, Vermont.

Without giving too much away, "American Hero" touches on how the economic system is rigged. The haves are thoroughly corrupt in taking, taking taking, while the have nots who are highlighted in the play struggle with the consequences of what the 1% are doing to them.

The goal of Bess Wohl, who wrote "American Hero" was indeed to anger its audience, despite the laughs. It's another example of pop culture underscoring the absurdity and rotteness of the current Guilded Age.

When entertainment taps into an issue that needs all the attention it can get, that's always a hopeful sign. We see pop culture highlighting the rigged economy and income inequality in other venues, such as in the television comedies "Superstore" and "2 Broke Girls."

Musicians like Bruce Springsteen have also been covering this topic for decades now. Keep at it, Bruce!

The attention the New Guilded Age is beginning to receive away from the economic papers and the dull newscasts means regular Americans are Fed. Up. with things.
Television comedies like "Superstore" can help
propel the national discussion of income inequality.

As if we didn't know that already.  Polls over the past year indicate 7 in 10 Americans think the economy is rigged against them. 

People are so insanely mad about the situation that a substantial portion of Americans are prepared to vote for Donald Trump, a misogynist, racist, thin-skinned, ignorant, spoiled rich kid con man because he says the system is rigged against all of the regular people out there.

Never mind that Trump is one of the people who is rigging the economic system against the 99 percent. Like I said, he's good at being a con man.

I suppose Trump is a form of entertainment, so the fact that he mentions the New Guilded Age, even though he helped create it, is probably a good thing, as long as he doesn't win the Presidential election.

Other politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, are having their day in the sun because they hammer away at income inequality and a corrupt economy every chance they get.

I hear the talking points from the 1 percent entering right now. They're saying that how dare you suggest taking away hard earned money from people who got rich through ambition, hard work, and creativity.

Of course, that's a fallacy. Even on my, Sanders' and Warren's worst days, we all agree it is a very good thing in America to get rich through honest work, smarts and moxy.

Just as long as you don't screw over everybody else while doing it. And screwing over people seems to be the current ethos in corporate boardrooms, political back rooms and in political lobbying offices across this nation.

So when popular culture, even in small venues like Vermont Stage Company use satire and gallows humor to poke at the 1 percent, that's always a good thing.

It fires people up. It makes us feel like we could and should keep working for change, even if the odds seem stacked against us.

Yes, I left "American Hero" last night annoyed at the world around me. Americans are already pissed off. Channeled correctly, with a solid dash of humor, we might actually end the New Guilded Age.

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