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10/03/2003 Archived Entry: "The Plough and the Stars"
Interesting. Brazil leads the "hacker pack" in causing the most cyber-destruction, according to a recent study from mi2g. (I remember when the term "hacker" was one of distinction and referred to the arcane, admirable sort who could build a computer out of spare parts and a piece of string. Now it means "vandal.") The FBI is responding to increased cyber attacks by further shredding the 1st Amendment. "Citing a provision of the Patriot Act, the FBI is sending letters to journalists telling them to secretly prepare to turn over their notes, e-mails and sources to the bureau....[T]he FBI has threatened to put these reporters in jail [reporters who wrote on hacker Adrian Lamo] unless they agree to preserve all of these records while they obtain a subpoena for them." Columnist Mark Rasch provides a good commentary on this new flexing of state power.
Bush administration officials reportedly angered lawmakers by refusing to take a position on illegal aliens obtaining U.S. driver's licenses and by avoiding questions about its decision to recognize Mexican identification cards. This "avoidance" comes on the heels of the Treasury Department announcing it will leave in place rules that allow financial institutions to accept Mexican identification cards, called matricula consular, which often are used by undocumented immigrants to open bank accounts. The move was applauded as a victory for immigration and Latino groups, who traditionally vote Republican. Bush is unlikely to alienate the Latino/Hispanic population before next year's presidential election. According to that Census Bureau, that population continues to explode in size within the US, especially in the South and West. Those who wonder why the Bush administration is "casual" about the ID of Hispanics while pushing vigorously for imposition of biometric passports for Canadians need ask themselves one question: how many Canadians will be voting in the next Presidential election?
On the personal front, to keep friends and family informed:
Picking up from yesterday's blog on our recent travels...Last Friday afternoon, Brad and I saw an amazing play that may prove to be the brightest light of our theatre season (with two more Stratford trips scheduled it is not yet possible to leap to that conclusion). It was The Plough and the Stars by Sean O'Casey. Riveting, wrenching... so powerful that I witnessed a new moment in theatre. Altho' the play was clearly over, a stunned silence lay over the audience which broke into boisterous clapping only after a pause during which you could have counted to 5. One scene was so moving and upsetting that Brad and I had exactly the same response. Let me provide a few words of background. The play is set in a Dublin tenement on the eve of and during the Easter Rising. The scene in question: the protagonist Jack Clitheroe is helping a co-rebel bear a wounded third away from the British who are pursuing. He encounters Nora, his much-loved wife, who passionately begs him to stay with her and abandon the Rising. As we listen to the heartbreaking dialogue between them, the wounded man is dying in the arms of the co-rebel who implores Jack not to "dally" while a friend needs to be carried to care. On one side of the stage, Nora begs hysterically while, on the other side, you hear the labored gasp --almost wheeze -- of agony from the dying man which accompanies his every breath. The reaction Brad and I shared: we both wanted the man to die because the power of the scene just kept coming at us in waves from the stage, and every one of his moans felt like a slap. We discussed the scene for a half-an-hour afterward. What would you do in such a situation? I have only seen one other Sean O'Casey play performed: Juno and the Paycock -- at Stratford I believe, not Shaw. Juno, along with The Plough, are two of his "Dublin Trilogy," with The Shadow of a Gunman being the third. I hope it is Shaw's intention to perform each play, one per season, becaue I *want* to see The Shadow.
Then...Brad and I hit the road on our way to Providence, Rhode Island, where I was scheduled to speak at a conference at Brown University the next day. It should have been an 8 hours drive, with a comfortable hotel room waiting, and no need to rise before late morning. Should have been. The line of cars at the US/Canada border was so long that it took over an hour-and-a-half for us to approach the bored and brusque customs agent who waved us through. What with heavy fog in Massachusetts, we didn't arrive until past 3:00 a.m. The hotel had upgraded our room, putting in a lovely suite, but who saw anything beyond the mattress before the next day? My speech on individualist feminism went well, with the students giving me extremely good written "evaluations" afterward. I experimented with being a bit more rhethorical, a little less dry that I often am. That approach may have contributed to, may have helped encourage the high level of audience participation in the ensuing Q&A. (I hope to have the speech posted to my homepage in the near future. Meanwhile I am adapting it for publication in an Italian scholarly journal.) I was particuarly pleased to meet a fellow who attended because he had read the autobiography of Benjamin Tucker that I transcribed from microfilm and posted on my homepage. This was "particularly pleasing" because I sometimes wonder if anyone reads the material on Tucker provided there. After the conference...We had a lovely Indian dinner (at the Kabob and Curry) with the other conference speakers and "alumni" of the sponsoring institute but we called the evening a bit short in order to get much-needed sack time. Despite our good intentions, we didn't make it out of the hotel before noon.... To be continued.
Best to all,