Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Raven and I had a singularly bad theater experience Sunday night at the Caracas Atheneum.

"You know, when you had that attack of diarrhea at the intermission, we could have voted with our feet. With your feet, anyway."

And with your wings, guy. It's that I couldn't believe what an insane production it was, as if they had deliberately decided to shoehorn all the exaggeration, hysteria and lynch mob mentality of the Venezuelan society into Büchner's "Danton's Death". And they tarted it up into the bargain.

"The tarts were the only good part, I thought--though smearing rouge on their nipples was abit much."

Rave, it's not a play about prostitutes. It's about the Reign of Terror, about Robespierre leading the Jacobins--and France--down the path to disaster. A path strewn with severed heads. And acting "holier than thou" while he did it. Instead of creating a republic, he created state-imposed terror and civil chaos.

"Are you sure we weren't watching a play by Orwell?"

I see your point. Napoleon was right around the corner waiting to cross out "All animals are equal", and substitute "Some animals are more equal than others".

"So much for liberty, equality and brotherhood. More like Robespierre as Big Brother. And maybe Danton had to die because he, too, had blood on his hands?"

Not too many revolutions are bloodless, guy. Although here in Venezuela, maybe. Though the counterrevolution here has not been bloodless. By staging this play in Caracas, though, I believe the US-backed opposition is trying to make Chavez into either Danton or Robespierre.

"He doesn't strike me as being either. But I guess if I had to choose I would make him Danton. More than anything else because he tried a military coup 11 years ago."

Eleven years ago tomorrow, in fact. It's nothing new that the opposition is calling for magnicide, so if Chavez is Danton, who is Roberspierre?

"He's not here. He's in the Oval Office. Probably drooling on his desk. As a born-again believer he thinks God's on his side when he sets heads rolling around the globe."

Too bad his own head isn't still unconscious on a tavern floor in Texas.

"Oh, he's still unconscious, all right. He's making decisions based on the primitive unconscious archetypes your species has about Good and Evil. That's why I believe he is Robespierre."

Only his Reign of Terror is on a much bigger scale. He's not just terrorizing US citizens; he's exported terror to other countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and whatever other country he can find on a map.

"In that case the only good thing is that he probably can't read a map. But he's also fueling terror in Israel, Colombia and Paraguay. In Paraguay, at least, a front is organizing to resist the militarization of the Triple Border--to keep the world's biggest aquifer out of US control."

If they don't resist, the next step, as we know, will be grabbing hold of the Amazon and the Orinoco. And in this case these guys started heads rolling without even a revolution--just a palace coup after the last presidential election.

"So, instead of 'The revolution devours its children--like Saturn' like in the Büchner play, it's 'The government destroys the citizens'."

And citizens of other countries, too.

"By the way, didn't you say you're on your Saturn line here?"

I'm definitely feeling gnawed on by the hysterical atmosphere here, Rave.

"I've been meaning to mention that we've only been here a week, and already your clothes are too big...."

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