George W. Bush's "Three Shakespeares": Macbeth, Macbush, and the Theater of War.
While the question may seem familiar, I would like to take this opportunity to investigate anew this awkward figuration of theater as war in order to understand more thoroughly how practices of war and practices of theatrical performance might interact differently, in ways unaccounted for by their repeated metaphorical coincidence. How might an examination of the spaces constituted and inhabited by these war theaters and theaters of war help us to escape reductively dialectical conceptions of "difference between" (which shuttle us back and forth between these slippery signifiers, from tenor to vehicle and back again) and allow us to rethink the concept of unmediated "difference itself"? (1) In our global age, as space and time continually reorganize themselves in relation to the changing shape of Empire, we must recognize the need to think differently about the seeming convergence, coincidence, and mutual exclusivity of each side of the deceptively simple equation: theater = war.
In order to rethink our understanding of theatrical practices, as well as practices of war, I would like to address a recent event within the terrain of "Shakespace," a term Bryan Reynolds and his collaborators employ to describe "the particular articulatory space through which discourses, adaptations, and uses of Shakespeare have suffused the cosmopolitan landscape transhistorically" (9). More importantly, though, I want to interrogate the often limiting spatial logic both politicians and academics often employ when examining how performances (be they military or theatrical) operate within the broader cultural terrain. The event I would like to explore, an event ever more visible and therefore less avoidable, presents itself to our attention as a series of productive intersections between Macbeth and George W. Bush.
A provocative instance of this intersection occurred in August of 2006 when President Bush discussed Shakespeare with Brian Williams of MSNBC. Bush told Williams, "I was in Crawford and I said I was looking for a book to read, and Laura said, "You oughtta try Camus.' I also read three Shakespeares ... I've got an eclectic [pronounced "eck-el-ectic"] reading list" (qt. in Williams). According to Kenneth T. Walsh of US News and World Report, Macbeth was in fact one of Bush's "three Shakespeares" (qt. in Chonin 22). This intersection between Bush and Shakespeare, while it might seem "eck-el-ecktic," is in fact only part of a varied and prolonged history of engagement. In the time since September 11th, a number of performances have sought to place Shakespeare into dialogue with the Bush administration. In particular, a number of productions calling themselves Macbush have suffused our cultural landscape. The ubiquity of the title Macbush itself serves as a symbolic representation of a particular conjunction; it gives local habitation and a name to this overlap within Shakespace between what we might call, following Reynolds' transversal poetics, Macbethspace and Bushspace. I would like to offer, first, a traditional, limited "overview" of this space. This preliminary synoptic overview of Shakespace, while helpful as a first step, nevertheless methodologically enacts the very representational fiction this essay ultimately aims to trouble. However, before we can challenge this reductive spatializing tendency, it might be helpful to enact this tendency if only to make it visible and therefore available for critique.
Shakespace: A Synoptic View
To my knowledge, the first intersection between Macbeth and the Bush Administration, occurring in August of 2003, was Michael Hettinger's The Tragedy of Macbusb, which had a limited run at the Alice Arts Theater in Oakland, California. (2) In Hettinger's play, Macbush is forced to confront a Middle-Eastern king named Ranquo. When I spoke to Hettinger, he told me that Macbush was staged in order to force a "threshold experience," a haunting encounter with the rest of the world. He called this "the necessary experience of human consciousness trapped by codifying forces that define it" (Hettinger). In April of 2004, eight months before the election, Harold Bloom's satirical piece entitled Macbush: The Tragicomical History of Dubya the Great, King of America and Subsequently Emperor of Oceania appeared in Vanity Fair. This text gives us Bloom the archivist, presenting the foul papers, "conjecturally restored," of a play written in 2004 during the transition from "American Plutocracy to the Oceanic Empire," a transition which took place "20 years after the date set by the prophet Orwellius" (286). It features such characters as Richard, Duke of Helliburton and Lady Leeza of Stanford.
Two months later, activist street theatre in Ireland earned the attention of CNN as reported in an article that reads: "Irish protestors used Shakespeare to blitz George W. Bush on Saturday, invoking Macbeth, a ghost and a witch to cast a spell on the U.S. president and drive him, symbolically at least, from Irish soil" ("Protesters"). Organized by Ciaron O'Reilly, this staging of Macbush was planned to coincide with a larger protest which would interrupt Bush's attendance at the EU-US summit. (3) As part of a greater, thousands-strong march, activists swarmed together to perform the role of Birnam Wood; each carried large cardboard trees bearing the names of dead Iraqi children (See Images 1 and 2). The banner leading the demonstration depicted a US flag and a crown engraved with the word 'Macbush' atop a castle turret. The banner cites Lady Macbeth: "Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand" (5.1.47-8). Meanwhile, the real George W. Bush, unwittingly playing his part in the performance, was holed up at Dromoland Castle, about a mile away from the march, his schedule only slightly changed as a result of the events. Two months later, back in the US, Randall David Cook and the Splinter Group's King Macbush II: a Shakespearean Tragedy of War, Greed and Strategerie [sic], a play which billed itself as "a raucous political satire of the ruling Bush dynasty and its royal court" appeared off Broadway and ran from the beginning of the Republican National Convention until election night ("About the Show"). Since Bush's re-election, numerous amateur texts and productions of Macbush have continued to appear, like the ghost of Banquo, lurking in every dark corner of Shakespace. If we expand Shakespace to include the virtual spaces of the Internet, we find that various search engines currently provide anywhere from six to twelve thousand results for the query "Macbush." From The Huffington Post to YouTube, these results include everything from brief, casual asides to sustained meditations in the form of blogs, cartoons, poems, videos and full-length plays. (4)
In order to better understand the way in which these productions operate within Shakespace, I would like to turn to Michel de Certeau's politics of space, in particular, to the possibly all-too-familiar distinction he makes between "strategies" and "tactics." To review: for de Certeau, there exist two primary "modalities of action": strategies and tactics, each with their own unique relation to space (29). Strategies are actions which begin from a localized and officially-sanctioned locus of power. They work within and expand their own terrain, benefiting from the stability" of a properly recognized field. De Certeau notes that a strategy "postulates a place that can be delimited as its own and serve as the base from which relations with an exteriority composed of targets or threats ... can be managed" (36). Tactics, on the other hand, much like the productions of Macbush we've been looking at, occur within a space which is not their own. Those who engage in tactics are not authors, but instead function in the way de Certeau describes readers. He likens readers to travelers, arguing that they "move across lands belonging to someone else, like nomads poaching their way across fields they did not write" (174). Like nomads who move into or across the proper space of another, challenging laws which regulate and restrict movement and appropriation, these performances of Macbush, which we might locate at the margins of Shakespace, threaten to infect and disrupt naturalized notions of an authorized or authentic Shakespeare--a seemingly non-ideological or "literal" Shakespeare which hides its politics as it attempts to delimit the parameters and possibilities of what Shakespeare might mean or do for us today. De Certeau describes the construction, naturalization and policing of the "militarily organized surfaces of the text":
[L]iteral meaning is the index and the result of a social power, that of an elite. By its very' nature available to a plural reading, the text becomes a cultural weapon, a private hunting reserve, the pretext for a law that legitimizes as "literal" the interpretation given by socially authorized professionals and intellectuals. (170-1)
While we might acknowledge ally reading or performance as potentially dangerous to this literality, many of these texts and performances of Macbush are explicit in their desire to challenge what Reynolds refers to as Shakespace's "official territory" (11). Most of these appropriations fully rewrite the text of Macbeth, engaging with and often destabilizing at once both Shakespeare's aesthetic authority as well as Bush's political authority until the implication of one within the other becomes apparent. Tactical engagements, lacking their own proper authority, instead make metaphors of the dominant order. According to dc Certeau, the tactical maneuver consists in forcing this order to "function in another register" (32). We might understand many of these performances as moving transversally between two dominant orders: the register of Shakespeare's aesthetic authority and that of Bush's political authority.
If these performances constitute tactical maneuverings, elsewhere within Shakespace, within what we might, through this synoptic lens, see as its strategic spaces, a very, different intersection between Bush and Shakespeare has emerged. Beginning in 2003, a large offensive of strategic ground forces was deployed against these Shakespearean terrorists in what might be seen as an effort to re-assert the authority of Shakespace's official territory,. Heading this operation was the National Endowment for the Arts' Bush-appointed conservative chairman, Dana Gioia. After capturing the Congress in 1994, Republicans proceeded to slash NEA funding by nearly 40 percent. However, since Bush's election in 2000, funding has continued to increase. Since 2000, the budget of what I will call the "New NEA" has rebounded 28 percent (a nearly 27 million dollar increase) ("NEA Appropriations"). (5) Almost all this new funding was reserved for Gioia's "favorite" program: Shakespeare in American Communities, "the largest tour of Shakespeare's works in American history" ("NEA Launches"). Serving as honorary chair for this project is none other than Laura Bush. The late Jack Valenti, controversial former chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America and "special assistant" to President Johnson, served as her co-chair. Along with these chairs, the NEA has established a "players guild" of "arts experts and actors," a group that includes an assorted mix of personalities: Harold Bloom, Michael York, Julie Taymor, Jane Alexander, James Earl Jones, Michael Kahn, and Hilary, Duff ("About Shakesepeare").
In October 2003, the New NEA's tour began. In an authorizing ceremony, members of Congress spearheaded the tour by performing a Shakespearean skit on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress--Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-NC), Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), Rep. Thomas Petri (R-WI), Rep. Jack Quinn (R-NY), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI)--donned Elizabethan costumes and crowns as they performed "excerpted lines from Shakespearean plays King Lear, Measure for Measure, Macbeth and others" ("Members") (See Image 3). Within the performance, the metonymic coincidence of crown and Capitol operates temporally in order to illustrate and solidify the unbroken historical continuity of US political power in relation to the legacy of Shakespeare's aesthetic power. (6) Spatially, this congressional performance, enacted by "representatives" of particular states, serves as a synecdochic performance of the NEA's larger three-phase strategy to expand Shakespace's official US territory. Couching the arts in strategic, military rhetoric, the NEA imagines each "phase" of Shakespeare in American Communities through cartographic representations of space. The NEA Web site offers a series of Flash-animated maps charting the movement of its theatrical crusade (See Image 4). The NEA's maps topographically simulate the crusade's movement by animating a series of static snapshots. Each snapshot depicts the US populated by an increasing number of symbolic stars; each star seems to represent, at once, both the state's synecdochic relation to the national whole and Shakespeare's marked presence in the state. Like the Shakespeare in American Communities logo, which superimposes the Droeshout portrait onto the stars and stripes of the US flag, these Flash-animated maps place stars in each state in order to reconstitute the US as Shakespace's official territory. As the maps illustrate, the first "phase" of the program strategically saturated the country by treating each state of the union to a healthy dose of federally-sanctioned Shakespeare.
Additionally, in 2004, the NEA forged an unprecedented partnership, one which deepened the NEA's pockets and increased the tour's scope to include performances at a number of military bases. That million-dollar partner was the Department of Defense, and the play performed in this military tour was, of course, Macbeth ("Military") (See Image 5). Gioia remarked on the alliance, saying that he was "delighted to make cultural history by putting the NEA and the Department of Defense into the same sentence" ("Unprecedented Partnership"). The partnership would not end there. The NEA Web site and its recent newsletters present many current programs resulting from this merger, such as "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" which culminated in both a book, Operation Homecoming." Iraq, Afghanistan and the Home Front in the Words of US Troops and Their Families (Random House, 2006), and its filmic adaptation, Operation Homecoming." Writing the Wartime Experience (Dir. Robins, 2007). The subsequent book tour (which included travel to a number of military bases) and film were both sponsored by the Boeing Company, a sponsorship that would allow the NEA to fund two more major initiatives involving the military community. (7)
A synopsis of our analysis so far might present the following: on the one hand we have a strategic deployment by the NEA and the Department of Defense to expand and fortify the boundaries of Shakespace's "official territory." On the other hand, we have seen how tactical productions such as those of Macbush have entered the proper Shakespearean spaces in order to transform this territory. But this "synopsis" is lust that, a view which comes by way of condensation and the elimination of internal difference. Such synopses are unable to account for the possibility that strategies and tactics might not, in practice, maintain this mutual exclusivity. In Difference and Repetition, Gilles Deleuze reminds us that "every time we find ourselves confronted or bound by a limitation or an opposition, we should ask what such a situation presupposes." He goes on to argue that these oppositions "presupposes a swarm of differences, a pluralism of free, wild, or untamed differences; a properly differential and original space and time; all of which persist alongside the simplifications of limitation and opposition" (50). Too often we in Shakespearean cultural studies succumb to this desire for opposition, separating out the radical, alternative, or subversive Shakespeares from the more orthodox, conservative or oppressive Shakespeares. (8) This critical practice strategically enacts the very logic "oppositional" critics claim to "oppose." Herein lies the problem of an outmoded oppositional methodology that falsely opposes the new critical aesthetics of close reading to the political readings of cultural materialism, as if close readings were not always, already political and political readings equally aesthetic.
But how else might we understand Shakespace? One possibility lies in thinking outside, or rather inside, the opposition itself. While it appears we are dealing with two dialectical forces in direct opposition, and while much criticism often frames similar antagonisms in such a fashion, I would like to spend the remainder of this essay arguing otherwise, or rather, I would like to argue differently. In this I would like to heed the call of Roland Barthes who once asked us to "Let difference surreptitiously replace conflict." Barthes went on to explain how difference "is not what makes or sweetens conflict; it is achieved over and above conflict, it is beyond and alongside conflict. Conflict is nothing but the moral state of difference" (15).
In Shakespearean cultural studies today, it is becoming increasingly clear that a commonplace rhetoric of conflict, with its broad dialectical strokes, fits the durational singularity of performance too loosely and fails to account for the specific work performance in fact does. Thinking too dialectically about "strategies" and "tactics" can create similar problems if these highly nuanced practices become static categories of moral difference through which we classify particular performances (the conservative, strategic ideological expansion of the Branagh franchise as opposed to the subversive, tactical unmasking or demystification of this "ideology" by some more local, more mobile, or more anarchic "appropriation" (9)). For example, what might we make of the fact that the "subversive" street theater in Ireland was organized and performed by a group of Catholics? More troubling would be any effort to position Ciaron O'Reilly, who describes himself as a Catholic Worker Christian Anarchist, into either pole of this dialectic. In order to escape a rhetoric which eliminates internal difference in favor of an opposition between a) transcendent power and b) the local subversion of this power, we must fully commit to the perspective of what a non-dialectical strain of philosophy describes as the plane of immanence. Deleuze and others have used this term to describe a non-representational stratum within which immediate, affective, haptic, and temporal encounters maintain their multiplicity by remaining open to chance and polychrony. On the plane of immanence, epiphenomenally moral differences dissolve as they become complicated by the singularity of each event. An immanent approach to Shakespearean performance resists allowing the politics of difference to be reduced to the procrustean identities which structure dialectical opposition.
The shape of this methodology also differentiates itself in that it focuses less on what the determined, hermeneutic spaces of representation mean and more on what the durational, behavioral technologies of performance do and create. Alongside Terence Hawkes' crucial observation that "we mean by Shakespeare," we might also ask what we "do with Shakespeare" other than "mean" (3). (10) Alongside critical questions of meaning, we might consider what we "do with each other by way of Shakespearean performance." This shift in focus moves us beyond the "linguistic turn" and returns us anew to a prior conception of the aesthetic as a temporal synaesthetics of embodied, sensual experience. In the remainder of this study, I would like to gesture towards this type of immanent approach.
Shakespace: An Immanent View
The synoptic, Archimedean point through which we have so far understood Shakespace has, through what I would argue is a false distinction, presented us with two spaces: Shakespace's strategically maintained "official territory" and the marginal spaces of these alternative Shakespeares which tactically maneuver within and against the spaces carved out by more officially sanctioned performances. When we delimit and map out antagonisms within Shakespace in these reductive and rigidly spatial terms, not only does our methodology mirror the strategic logic that we originally set out to critique, but we also ignore the lessons we might have learned from de Certeau. From de Certeau, we learn that the panoptic power maintained through such mapping can only be secured through a fundamental "misunderstanding" of local practices, one which fails to understand (or "stand under" in order to "understand") the way in which a topographical surface viewed from on high serves only as a representation of what is below (93). What is important to note here is that strategies maintain the ability to project themselves across legible space only when we "misunderstand," or forget, the conditions that made this movement possible. In fact, we might wonder if these strategies ever occur at all outside of the tactical, temporal movements that create and sustain them. Is it possible that the fiction of the transcendent "strategy" is made believable and maintained only when we stop understanding or attending to the immanent movement of tactical practices?
In his now-familiar essay, "Walking in the City" de Certeau narrates his experience of looking down on Manhattan from atop the World Trade Center. This panoptic gaze, what de Certeau calls a "solar Eye," simulates the vantage point and the proper locus from which strategies might project their movement across the surface of urban space (92). If we zoom out and place ourselves once again atop the World Trade Center, we can see around us, on the ground, the various legible places carved out by authorized performances: Shakespace's "official territory" or what we might call a "Shakespearean green zone." But the towers are no longer present, and this disaster, this tragedy, brings us to ground zero, to the level of the pedestrian as it simultaneously offers us an opportunity to witness something else: the tactical movements of theatrical production. The surface of the city as seen from the twin towers served only as a representation of the city's upper limit, underneath which tactical practices have always abounded. September 11th, as an event, temporally disrupted our ability to pretend to the permanence of proper spaces. (11) This temporal disruption should also prompt us to re-imagine the dynamics of Shakespace and the tactical movements of theatrical production. We might then imagine these movements as immanent to rather than at the margins of Shakespace's official territory.
De Certeau himself moves in the direction of immanence when he begins to question the very possibility of interminable strategic transcendence. In "'Making Do': Uses and Tactics," a chapter which must be factored into any discussion of "Walking in the City," de Certeau briefly imagines something like Deleuze's plane of immanence. Hypothesizing the absence of a place outside strategic power, de Certeau writes the following:
There is no longer an elsewhere. Because of this, the "strategic" model is transformed, as if defeated by its own success: it was by definition based on the definition of a "proper" distinct from everything else; but now that "proper" has become the whole.... One would thus have a proliferation of aleatory and indeterminable manipulations within an immense framework of socioeconomic constraints and securities: myriads of almost invisible movements, playing on the more and more refined texture of a place that is even, continuous, and constitutes a proper place for all people. Is this already the present or the future of the great city? (40-1)
When Shakespace assumes the contours of de Certeau's city--when the "refined texture" of this smooth space is coupled with the "proliferation of aleatory and indeterminable manipulations"--we, as scholars and critics, must, in response, fine-tune our rhetoric. In this new city, as we move away from the old dialectical notions of negative "determination," we will find it necessary to invent and create novel and nuanced modes of analysis. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, contemporary practitioners of a philosophy of immanence, argue that the transformative moment de Certeau imagines has already come to pass. In Empire they write that "it may no longer be useful to insist on the old distinction between strategies and tactics" because "[i]n the constitution of Empire there is no longer an 'outside' to power" (58). If we must imagine an outside to power, we can only do so responsibly by reconceiving the term "outside" not as a space but as a differential, temporal contingency; we give it the name "chance." (12)
In Shakespace today, we live in the transformative moment of de Certeau's "great city." We are no longer dealing with a dialectic between strategies and tactics. We are no longer dealing with a dialectic between an officially sanctioned Macbeth and a marginalized or unauthorized Macbush. The relationship between strategies and tactics is not an opposition of two discrete identities with different degrees of authorization, degrees negatively determined by proximity to or inclusion within a center. Instead, and in more positive terms, we must attend to what we are, in fact, dealing with: the difference in kind between textuality and cartography as static, spatial representations and an understanding of theater as dynamic movement and durational practice.
This difference in kind has already been partially explored in performance studies' text-performance debates. Scholars such as W.B. Worthen have long argued for the ontological incommensurability of Shakespeare's dramatic texts and what is all-too-often reductively perceived as strategic performances "of' those texts. In a recent essay, Worthen argues the following:
[I]n Performance Studies the theatre is typically taken to exemplify an ideologically overdetermined, even oppressive institution for the straightforward reiteration of the dominant cultural values inherent in 'the text'. Here, the archive of dramatic theatre is opposed to the resistant, subversive performances that transpire largely outside the sphere of dramatic performance, a performance repertoire taken to be subversive precisely because it is not 'text-based' (214).
Worthen's use of the terms "archive" and "repertoire" are taken from Diane Taylor's The Archive and the Repertoire in which the cultural archive is understood to include "maps," "literary texts," and "all those items supposedly resistant to change." More subversive for Taylor is the repertoire, which includes "all those acts usually thought of as ephemeral, nonreproducible knowledge" (qt. in Worthen 214-5). Worthen has long argued against a performance studies rhetoric which falsely places the performance of scripted drama within the cultural archive under the assumption that this type of theater, unlike more mobile forms of performance, merely interprets or reiterates a static, textual archive. The difference in kind Taylor notes, however, is not without merit, and we may note an affinity here between the archive/repertoire distinction and de Certeau's strategy/tactic distinction. Problems only arise when we mistakenly see dramatic performance as a mode of absolute textual repetition, when we see differences in degree between text and performance where instead we should see incommensurate differences in kind.
If, like Worthen, we do not see the performance of scripted drama as a practice which is overdetermined by the priority of the text, might we then be able to extend this understanding to what we earlier understood as the NEA's strategically overdetermined tour of Macbeth? If the performance of scripted drama has ever been as overdetermined as some scholars suggest--if such performances have ever maintained the possibility to act as repetitions of the Same--would this not most likely have occurred in the ideal aesthetic and political context created by the conservative New NEA? The belief Worthen describes, a belief in the textually overdetermined performance, is, ironically, a belief shared by both left-leaning performance studies scholars and the right-wing architects of NEA. I want to now take a closer look at these architects by taking a genealogical detour through the "origins" of the National Endowment for the Arts, paying particular attention to the way in which the logic of ideological overdetermination functions as both fear and fantasy.
The NEA: The Construction of a Strategy
Before President Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 into law, the impetus towards this legislation had already been announced by President Kennedy. In a 1963 speech at Amherst in honor of Robert Frost, a speech recognized by the NEA as a precursor to its own formation, Kennedy called for a "full recognition of the place of the Artist in America" ("Text"). In the speech, Kennedy struggles to define and delimit the place of the Artist in America. He first offers his auditors the vision of an artist dwelling and critiquing American culture from a location outside the American mainstream. He argued that "if sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice ... makes [them] aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential" ("Text"). While the artist him or herself may remain located at the margins of culture, the product of the artist, the art itself, for Kennedy, was expected to transcend the spatial and oppositional logic of inside and outside. Kennedy argued famously that "Art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth." He continued, noting that "In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere" ("Text"). This "elsewhere" conjures up a new space, an absolute "outside," far removed from the margin upon which the American artist toils. A margin, after all, is still marginally inside as well as out. "Elsewhere" suggests a space apart. In Kennedy's original speech, penned by Arthur Schlesinger Jr., we find the unnamed absence animating this view of art, this "elsewhere." In an earlier draft of Kennedy's speech, he would go on to place America's aesthetic policy in direct opposition with the Soviet Union's ideological aesthetic policy ("The Poet," 4). For Kennedy, a loving critique from the periphery was fine, but overtly ideological art, art that took a political stand, was to remain forever outside, "elsewhere."
Michael Brinson, in his insightful book Visionaries and Outcasts: The AREA, Congress, and the Place of the Visual Artist in America, highlights this speech as a pivotal turning point for the arts in America. He points out how, in the 1960s, attitudes towards the arts were often contingent upon America's attitude towards its rivals during the Cold War. He cites Livingston Biddle, the third chairman of the NEA, who remembers that "it was close enough to the McCarthy period so that artists were equated on occasion with Communism" (8). Brinson goes on to argue quite convincingly, by giving his readers passages from the hearing leading up to the formation of the NEA, that the organization from its inception had adopted a rhetoric of purification and incorporation. In short, the NEA's goal was to perform a strategic expansion of America's foreign policy into the terrain of culture. Much like many of those steering the NEA today, the implicit hope of those supporting early NEA legislation was that "non-ideological" art--art which transcends the political--might, in this way, reveal the "true" superiority of American aesthetics as they faced off against the "ideological" art of the enemy.
After Kennedy's assassination, President Johnson assumed power and, as part of his Great Society, signed the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 into law. The NEA's desire to bring artists into the mainstream can only be understood in relation to the nation's desire to fortify its cultural borders, to separate out, we might say, those "who are with us from those who are against us." Here, we see the fulfillment of de Certeau's insight into the panoptic city's strategic formation which demands, first of all, the repression of "all the physical, mental and political pollutions that would compromise it" (94). This paranoid fantasy of purification and the related anxiety it expresses about the encroachment of insurgent, illegible, or illegitimate bodies constitute the first rule of strategic operations. However, this rule remains more honored in the breach than in its impossible observance. More accurately, we might say that strategic operations begin through an 'attempted' or 'imagined' repression of pollutants which might compromise their intention. This 'imagined' repression serves as the foundation upon which the projected fantasy of successful strategic operations rests. Nevertheless, success often remains just that: a projected fantasy.
Such fantasies, however, like Macbeth's imagined dagger, always produce actual, material consequences. In the same year the NEA was formed, the war in Vietnam was escalating, and along with the escalation of warfare came a boom in surveillance technologies. Satellite film surveillance such as that provided under the CORONA program, and mapping sophistication, as exemplified by the new National Mapping Division, gave the Department of Defense the "solar Eye" imagined by de Certeau, and this cartographic obsession only further fueled the nation's explicitly spatial understanding of Cold War politics. (13) The war was imagined as a strategic battle for influence over an increasingly-visible global terrain. The perspective of the solar Eye soon became what seemed the only method for representing global politics. In a 1963 hearing, Senator Claiborne Pell argued in favor of the creation of the NEA. He said, "I believe that this cause and its implementation has a worldwide application; for as our cultural life is enhanced and strengthened, so does it project itself into the world beyond our shores" ("Highlights").
The NEA's strategic fantasy, its desire to spatially project its cultural life beyond its own shores, is only achievable through a concomitant banishment of temporal contingencies. The 1965 National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities Act makes this desire to repress temporal change explicit. The NEA's constitution begins with a definition of its purposes. One key purpose states that, in order to "achieve an orderly continuation of free society ... the Federal Government must transmit the achievement and values of civilization from the past via the present to the future, and make widely available the greatest achievements of art" (NEA leg. 20 U.S.C. [section] 951). According to this formulation, temporality is figured as a pure channel through which values are transmitted; time is spatialized "widely" as a map upon which art travels "from" one place, "via" another, and "to" yet another.
De Certeau observes that the spatialization of time marks the second tendency of strategic operations. He argues that strategies operate through "the substitution of a 'nowhen,' or of a synchronic system" for a more dynamic or diachronic system. He goes on to argue that "univocal scientific strategies, made possible by a flattening out of all the data in a plane projection, must replace the tactics of users who take advantage of 'opportunities'" (94). The United States military's inability to deal well with the tactics and contingencies it met on the ground in Vietnam, and its inability (then and now) to divine a timetable for either victory or withdrawal, place the American engagement in Vietnam (and in Iraq) within a "nowhen" and highlight the failure of this strictly spatial understanding of practices. We are reminded of Macbeth's own spatial dilemma when he says, "I am in blood/Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er" (3.5.135-7). Hardt and Negri, in the sequel to Empire, Multitude." War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, offer this useful insight. They write: "The old-fashioned war against a nation-state was clearly defined spatially, even if it could at times spread to other countries.... By contrast, war against a concept or a set of practices, somewhat like a war of religion, has no definite spatial or temporal boundaries" (14). The twentieth-century Cold War against Communism as a "concept" and the twenty-first century war against Terrorism as a "practice" are two very separate historical events; however, what unites them in the public imagination is how US foreign policy in each instance fails to recognize the shortcomings of a purely spatial logic of strategy.
While we can safely assume that the Bush administration has no desire to repeat the history of Vietnam, the United States military's strategic policy on the ground tells a different story. Hardt and Negri describe the traditional, imperialist army as a force that "generally operates from the base of its own sovereign territory across relatively clear and established lines of battle" (56). Contemporary counter-insurgency forces in Iraq, ignoring the spatial and temporal singularity of the battlefield, continue to blindly repeat the now-ineffectual spatial strategies of the traditional" army. The Baker Institute's "Iraq Study Group Report," released in December of 2006, reported the following: "Currently, the U.S. military rarely engages in large-scale combat operations. Instead, counterinsurgency efforts focus on a strategy of 'clear, hold, and build'--'clearing' areas of insurgents and death squads, 'holding' those areas with Iraqi security forces, and 'building' areas with quick-impact reconstruction projects" (Baker and Hamilton 7). Even though the U.S. rarely participates in "large-scale combat operations," this strategy of "clear, hold, and build" obeys a traditional spatial logic which envisions victory as the maintenance and expansion of homogenous space.
As I write today, Bush has just given a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in which he invokes the lessons of Vietnam. After acknowledging that "history cannot predict the future with absolute certainty," Bush goes on to argue that we can "learn something from history," emphasizing that the past can hold "lessons applicable to our time." As his speech builds, the rhetoric of historical determinism strengthens as he cites past military victories as examples which should "give us confidence that the hard work we are doing in the Middle East can have the same results we've seen in Asia and elsewhere." History, for Bush, becomes an engine generating repetitions of the Same. But Bush has already prefaced these statements by acknowledging the lack of "absolute certainty" history allows us in determining the future. However, where history fails us, a divine metaphysics intervenes to pick up the slack. At the close of the speech, Bush emphasizes the repetitive sameness of historical events: "the Nazis," "the Imperial Japanese," "the "Soviet Communists," and now "Islamic extremists." Historical determinism becomes metaphysical overdetermination as he declares each ideological enemy "destined for the same fate" ("President").
Bush and those on the Right, however, are not alone in their desire to see Iraq as a repetition of the Same. The Left also finds increased traction in framing the Global War on Terror as "overdetermined" by the war in Vietnam. What the Left unfortunately misses is the way in which this desire for analogy and determination effaces the singularity of each event and as a result strengthens the Bush administration's strategic logic. The rhetoric of Bush's divine metaphysics is echoed by bumper stickers and YouTube videos which figure terrorists and the president respectively as the inevitable repetition of Hitler and the Nazis. (14) In succumbing to Goodwin's Law, both sides of the aisle fail to realize the inadequacy of analogy. (15) The Global War on Terror is not a pure analog of Vietnam; by the same token, we might also observe that Bush is not a pure analog of Macbeth. While the war in Vietnam and the Global War on Terror might in fact be two singular unrepeatable events, what does continue to repeat is a foreign policy rooted in a strategic, spatial logic of expansion.
When we think about this similarity between the Cold War strategy and that of the Global War on Terror, it seems fitting to note that in 1965, the year the NEA was signed into law, a University of California graduate student named Barbara Garson sat down in Berkeley to write a fifteen-minute skit based on Macbeth. Her appropriation of Shakespeare would cast the Texan President Johnson and his first lady, Ladybird Johnson, in the lead roles. The title of the play was Macbird! (16) It's been almost forty years since Macbird's extended run in the sixties, but the play resurfaced again in September of 2006, this time directed by Ellen Dempsey at The Century Theatre outside Washington D.C. (Marks, C02). We might ask: why this sudden resurgence?
In order to understand the sudden resurgence of Macbird! we must ask an even more important question: why Macbeth? What is it about Johnson's situation in Vietnam or Bush's situation in Iraq that lends so easily to analogies and appropriations of Macbeth and not some other play? One answer is this: Bush's strategy in Iraq and Johnson's strategy in Vietnam, like Macbeth's strategy in Dunsinane, commit the same fundamental error, and it is the error to which all strategies are heir. Their purely spatial logic cannot conceive of tactical, temporal change occurring at the ground level. They only know static places and are unable to conceive of immanent, tactical practices, temporal practices capable of reconstituting official places.
Witness Macbeth's shock when his spatial relationship with Birnam Wood is suddenly transformed, when the "wood began to move" (4.5.35). Macbeth can only think, "We might have met them dareful, beard to beard, / And beat them backward home" (4.5.6-7). Even Macduff expresses this strategic logic when he exclaims, "front to front, / Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself' (4.3.232-3). However, Malcolm's tactical decision to "shadow / The numbers of [their] host, and make discovery / Err in report of [them]," defies the logic of traditional warfare (5.4.5-7). Such "surreptitious creativities" as de Certeau calls them, are unimaginable within the framework of Macbeth's (and Macduff's) logic of strategy (96). De Certeau describes these tactical practices and their invisible, illegible movement below the limits of the solar Eye: "If it is true that forests of gestures are manifest in the streets, their movement cannot be captured in a picture, nor can the meaning of their movements be circumscribed in a text" (102). De Certeau likens these illegible movements occurring below the readable surface of the city to Derrida's "wandering of the semantic" (102). Might there be a relationship between this hurl), burly detouring from the literal, proper spaces of the city and Macbeth's inability to solve the semantic riddle of the witches' "of woman born"?
De Certeau argues that strategies "reduce temporal relationships to spatial ones" (38). They "pin their hopes on the resistance that the establishment of a place offers to the erosion of time" (38). Early on in Macbeth, in act one, Lady Macbeth enters the synchronic space necessary to achieve her strategy. As a result of the witches' proleptic pronouncements, she is dislodged from the "ignorant present," a present ignorant of what chance the future might bring. Instead, she sees "the future in the instant" (1.5.57-58). She develops a timeline, a teleological spatialization of time that (like the NEA's Flash-animated maps) metes out homogenous segments of time in a series of predictable instants. This spatialized time gives us nothing but an endless repetition of the Same in which "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow/Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,/To the last syllable of recorded time" (5.5.19-21). For the Macbeths, time is a traceable line that has already been drawn and represents a future which "anticipat'st [their] dread exploits" (4.2.144). De Certeau notes that through such spatializations of time, "time and movement are thus reduced to a line that can be seized as a whole by the eye and read in a single moment, as one projects onto a map the path taken by someone walking through the city" (35). In the end, a representation, a simulacrum, stands in for practice. Might Lady Macbush have made the same mistake?
Strategic Tactics, Tactical Strategies
Laura Bush and the NEA mapped out each phase of Shakespeare in American Communities, but what, in fact, did happen on the ground? What theatrical practices did the Alabama Shakespeare Festival engage in? What kind of Macbeth did the troops actually see? The NEA's official statement, as included in their press release, declares that the military performances aim to show "the Shakespearean truth that peace can be more perilous than war" and "that the most challenging and dangerous battles are confronting the enemy within" ("Military"). So this is the true Macbeth and the "non-ideological" message the NEA and the Department of Defense paid so dearly to deliver to our troops. Or is it? According to Director Kent Thompson, "Macbeth deals with the issues confronting military leadership today--what happens when the greatest warrior a country has decides he will be King at any price. It's also a fascinating study in the self-creation of a tyrant. It suggests that moral principles must never be compromised for power or ambition." This explanation was published in another press release, an action that Thompson was later chastised for by the NEA, even though they had approved the release weeks earlier (Thompson). Later, according to The Economist, Gioia stated for the record that "the choice of Macbeth reflects no underlying message" ("Let Slip"). In order to understand which Macbeth the troops actually saw, we must move away from the strategic discourse of press releases which speak against (contra-dict) one another while seeking to determine the "underlying meaning" of the performances. Instead, we might take an immanent approach, moving to the level of the pedestrian in order to examine the temporal and behavioral practices that gave force to the NEA ground troops' performances.
We are privy to these experiences because Kent Thompson along with other members of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival such as Paul Hebron (Duncan, Old Man) and Kathleen McCall (Lady Macbeth) published online articles and blogs detailing their experiences performing Macbeth. (17) These narratives, occupying the same virtual spaces of the Internet as those Web pages offering self-published versions of Macbush, have become as accessible as, if not more accessible than, the ostensibly strategic spaces of "official" press releases. (18) This co-occupation of both central and marginal discourses within the same space accelerates and reflects the becoming-immanent of Empire. If the shift from Imperialism to Empire is defined by the shrinking and eventual disappearance of an outside to power, paradoxically, strategies tend to lose the exclusivity of their proper place; as a result, strategies become tactical and move in a common space while tactics, operating on this same common plane, take on strategic proportions. Movement and signification, on the plane of immanence, become both tactical and strategic as the distinction between the two begins to blur.
We see the changing shape of Empire reflected in the form and content of the actors' blogs. In her blog, Kathleen McCall represents herself as anything but an unthinking agent of the New NEA's strategy. Instead of describing the tour as a strategic opportunity for the NEA to use Macbeth to wed Shakespeare's aesthetic authority to the military's political authority, she describes the military tour as a chance for soldiers and their families, many of whom had never attended a Shakespeare performance, to "mingle with a bunch of raving liberals." (19) As much as it exposed soldiers to new environments, the tour also offered the acting company an opportunity to inhabit the military's "official territory": in hangers, on submarines, in military prisons, and within what McCall describes as the "contained world" of military communities (McCall). McCall recounts how at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, she and two other actors navigated a marine obstacle course. Here we might imagine Kathleen McCall moving her body "through the mud and up ropes," sharing a space and acting in common with the marines who make up her audience (Hebron). McCall writes, "I ended up banging both my elbows, scratching up my right forearm and giving myself a wooden splinter, and fire ants made their way up my pants" (McCall). The spatiotemporal habituation of McCall's body to the contours of the obstacle course transforms the camp, and the theater within it, into a singular yet shared space beyond the distinction between strategies and tactics. De Certeau calls the singularity of an individual's movement through space "style," and describes it as a "way of walking through a terrain, a non-textual move or attitude" (47). This idea of style as non-discursive somatic timbre illustrates the virtually limitless means by which one moves from beginning to end of any obstacle course, be this trajectory upon the often pre-scripted field of the page, the stage or the battlefield.
In his blog, Paul Hebron describes traveling from one military base to another, performing in gymnasiums, movie theaters, and aircraft hangers adjacent to stealth bombers. He writes: "Night after night we come into a strange space, and find ways to make that particular place work for us and for the show" (Hebron). Just as the tactical performances of Macbush appropriated the space of Shakespeare's text and molded it to suit their own purposes, the NEA's "official" Shakespearean troops also tactically maneuvered, inhabited and transformed the Department of Defense's "official territory." They did so, however, not from the margin but from within.
Hebron's journal is replete with vivid anecdotes that give us first-hand accounts of how the Alabama Shakespeare Company negotiated the time and space of their military tour. Despite the fact that each location was strategically researched ahead of time, once on stage, the company was forced to tactically manage a host of unanticipated complications. Hebron observes that "even with all that legwork, there are a million little unforeseen issues and difficulties that come up at each venue. It's unavoidable. It's part of what makes touring different from any other theatre experience: wonderful, frustrating and ultimately unique." This tactical management, like Malcolm's use of Birnam Wood, necessarily involves temporal improvisation and the ability to make use of the unique properties of each space. Often, this improvisation involves altering the body of the tactician him or herself. Hebron notes that in many of the gymnasial locations sound unexpectedly reflected off of the walls creating an echo effect that both actors and audiences found disorienting. The company immediately improvised; they brought in "baby monitors" to sonically anchor the actors in relation to their voices, and they experimented with finding the "right balance of pitch, tone and volume to minimize" what Hebron playfully refers to as the "vocal rebound." Actors, experienced in theories of improvisation, might share these skills with soldiers who, on the field of battle, fear nothing more than the enemy's improvisational tactics. The buzzword encapsulating the troops' greatest fear in Iraq has undoubtedly been "improvised explosive device," a term only nominally tamed by the acronym IED.
Offstage, members of the cast continued their improvisational tactics as they attempted a daytrip into Canada. Hebron remarks that this was the first time since September 11th that he had attempted to leave the country. When the actors reached border security without the necessary official documentation to proceed, they were forced to improvise. Hebron invoked the company's proper affiliation with the US military in an attempt to transcend the border. He then joked with the border official, forging an affective relation:
We're part of this touring Shakespeare company from Alabama that is touring military bases across the whole country, that is, America, and well, since we had the free time we just thought why not cross over into beautiful Canada ... and then come right back, you know [what] I mean? Besides, Detroit is such a dump.
The border official, successfully affected, "snort[ed] in some form of agreement" and waved the actors through the checkpoint. Like the actors, she maintains a "strategic" role as a border official. However, what she and the actors also know is how easily performers slip between roles and allow strategies to blur into tactics. On the way back into the US, the company encountered a seemingly identical situation. Hebron tells us that he repeated his earlier joke about Detroit, but that the repetition of the line, on this occasion, fell flat. Hebron repeated his initially felicitous script, but this time affective relations between performer and audience were not the same. The meaning and text of his script had not changed; what had changed, however, was the style and the affective force of the encounter. As Hebron began conjuring his next line, the whimsical guard nevertheless waved them through.
De Certeau understands popular, tactical practices such as those practiced by the theater company and the border official by citing what the French idiomatically call "la perruque." Translating literally as "the wig," la perruque might also be loosely understood as "the false cover." To practice the art of la perruque is to move undercover, to disguise tactics as strategy. De Certeau writes, "La perruque is the worker's own work disguised as the work of his employer"; he also notes that the act involves "diverting time" belonging to one's employer (25). Hardt and Negri allow us to put an interesting spin on the idea of la perruque when they observe that the rise of immaterial and affective labor (labor whose product is information and affective relations) "blurs the distinction between work time and nonwork time, extending the workday indefinitely to fill all of life" (Multitude 66). (20) The Alabama Shakespeare Company's excursion across national borders makes positive use of this particular type of self-willed alienation. (21) As labor time slowly encroaches upon "free" time until the two are no longer discernable, la perruque likewise expands to include stealing more than time. When employers begin regulating employee affect, employees respond by using this official affective behavior as a means towards unofficial ends ("Do you know who I work for?" as screamed by the irate customer) as much as they use their unofficial behavior for official ends (nepotism, sexual relations in the workplace, or the increasing ubiquity of networking parties). The actors, when crossing the border, use their professional status and improvisatory skill to achieve non-professional ends. The border agent responds in kind by improvising a non-professional affective relation while acting in an official capacity.
What did Laura Bush say about these tactical maneuvers masquerading as official NEA strategy? Or Dana Gioia? Nothing. Neither attended a single performance. Instead, they asked Kathleen McCall to come to Washington and perform a monologue (Thompson). In responding to the changing shape of Empire, we must recognize, along with the Alabama Shakespeare Company, what Macbeth and the Bush administration do not: the way in which collaborative, bilateral affective relations give force to our performances. This recognition involves shifting our attention away from what we say and towards what we do, away from the colonization of space and towards a fuller intimacy with time. It demands a new adaptability and improvisatory posture in relation to the contingencies of one's surroundings. In short, it means understanding theatrical style as the temporal, affective, collaborative practice of everyday life. Imperialism's synoptic fantasy of strategic movement still shapes US foreign policy as much as it shapes the NEA's cultural agenda, but this model of sovereignty is becoming increasingly complicated by the hyper-mobility and temporal dexterity of the multitude.
In the end, we do not have a dialectic or an opposition between the NEA's seeming aestheticization of politics and the Irish protestors' overt politicization of aesthetics. We must examine not simply how we represent politics, but instead remain attentive to the politics of representation. How do we conceive of or represent Shakespeare? How do we understand the shape of antagonisms in Shakespace? Do we conceive of Shakespace as the Bush Administration does, as a sterile promontory unaffected by time, as a static map upon which we can count out or deploy, one, two or "three Shakespeares"? Are differences in Shakespace something one calculates quantitatively, like books on a shelf (five conservative Shakespeares and one alternative Shakespeare)? Or, on the other hand, might we learn to see Shakespeare as something much more dynamic, as something more than a discrete or partitive noun. Might we really begin to see Shakespeare instead as an affective practice: as a reading or a performative event with a qualitative duration--in short, might we see Shakespace as a temporalized space on the plane of immanence where qualitative change happens despite all of our best efforts to strategize? Only then will we be able to find difference in to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow.
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TODD LANDON BARNES
University of California, Berkeley
I wish to thank Bryan Reynolds for his enthusiastic encouragement. I would also like to credit Shannon Jackson, W.B. Worthen, and Valerie Streit for their insightful and transformative readings of earlier, and much paler, drafts.
(1) This desire to think "difference itself" which is not reducible to "difference between" is born out of Deleuze's immanent ontology. For more on the idea of "difference itself," see Gilles Deleuze. Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 28-69.
(2) An earlier Macbush (written by Robert A. Anderson, directed by Alan Woods), a critique of George Herbert Walker Bush, was actually performed at Ohio State University as early as 1992. For more information, see Michael Grossberg, "No-Holds-Barred: 'Macbush' OSU Takes Chance with Partisan Anti-wr [sic] Satire." The Columbus Dispatch 20 October 1992, 8E.
(3) Ciaron O'Reilly is best known for allegedly disarming two US warplanes, once in 1991 and once in 2003. O'Reilly played the role of Banquo, a US soldier killed in Iraq. Comine Butterly, a human rights activist best known for being shot in the leg by an Israeli soldier while trying to rescue children in the Jenin refuge camp, played the role of Lady Macbeth (the original Lady Macbeth was arrested at the airport on the morning of the protest), and she read the names of dead Iraqis.
(4) For Arianna Huffington's meditations on Macbeth and Bush, see her article "Bush: Of Mojo and Macbeth," available online at http://www.huffingtonpost. com/arianna-huffington/bush-of-mojo-and-macbeth_b_9640.html. I would like to thank Scott Newstok, a collaborator whose work on Shakespearean appropriations in politics parallels my own, for drawing this and many other Macbush references to my attention. For an insightful look at presidential appropriations of Shakespeare, particularly the Bush/Prince Hal connection, see Newstok's article "'Step Aside, I'll Show Thee a President': George W as Henry V?" available online at http://www.poppolitics.com/articles/2003/05/01/GeorgeW-as-Henry-V.
(5) For more on the politics of NEA funding, see Jeffrey Henderson's informative report. The State and the Politics of Culture: A Critical Analysis of the National Endowment for the Arts. (Lanham: University Press of America, 2005).
(6) For more on Shakespeare's role in the constitution of American culture, see Michael D. Bristol's Shakespeare's America, America's Shakespeare. (New York: Routledge, 1990).
(7) A 2006 NEA Newsletter (vol. 6) devoted to the program comments on Operation Homecoming: "The program was the second partnership between the Arts Endowment and the Department of Defense (DOD), following DOD's support for the NEA's Shakespeare in American Communities program on military bases. The Boeing Company enthusiastically signed on as a sponsor, a partnership that has since led to Boeing's involvement in two more Arts Endowment initiatives: Great American Voices, which brings selections from opera and musicals to military bases, and the Big Read initiative to encourage American communities (including military bases) to discuss great works of literature."
(8) Diane E. Henderson, in Alternative Shakespeares 3, acknowledges this problematic. She asks, "Alternative to what?" More importantly, she asks "[I]s the very desire for the new and 'the next big thing' so thoroughly enmeshed within the logic of global capitalism that alternativity has itself become merely a sign of the status quo?" We might understand the indiscernibility between alternativity and the status quo as marking both a change in the shape of Empire and the necessity for an immanent methodology capable of describing Shakespeare's changing place within a new logic of global capitalism. For Henderson's comments on the function of the alternative, see her "Introduction" to Alternative Shakespeares 3, Ed. Diane E. Henderson. (New York: Routledge, 2008).
(9) What becomes equally clear here is how these terms as well ("ideology" and "appropriation") begin to function as both shorthand for and shortcut away from the singularity of performance.
(10) I am not alluding, here, to Austinian performativity. I am not suggesting that we look at how we "do things with words"; rather, I am suggesting that we supplement discussions of performativity with an understanding that we also do things without words.
(11) In a similar vein, Linda Charnes argues that "The events of September 11 did not 'change' things so much as they abruptly shoved an already rough beast out of what remained of its hiding." For more on Charnes' fascinating look at the changing shape of political psychology in the new millennium, see her Hamlet's Heirs: Shakespeare and the Politics of a New Millennium. (New York: Routledge, 2006).
(12) For more on this re-conceiving of the outside as chance, see Gilles Deleuze's Foucault, trans, and ed. Sean Hand. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 70-93.
(13) For more on the CORONA program or the creation of the National Mapping Division, see John Cloud's excellent article, "American Cartographic Transformations during the Cold War." Cartography and Geographic Information Science 29.3 (2002): 261-282.
(14) Composite images of George W. Bush and Adolph Hitler are now commonplace. For an example of this rhetoric on YouTube, see Whippedcreamshampoo's video Macbush, Never Was the President available online at http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=HhB2_MBovLk.
(15) Godwin's Law (also dubbed "Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies") playfully asserts that as an online argument continues, the probability of an analogy with Hitler occurring approaches one. For more on Godwin's Law and the frequent employment of Nazi analogies in the US Senate, see Mark Leibovich. "The Comparison that Ends the Conversation: Senator is Latest to Regret Nazi Analogy." Washington Post. June 22, 2005 C01.
(16) By 1967, Macbird! was a hit in New York and enjoyed an extended run in Los Angeles, launching the careers of actors like Stacy Keach and Rue MacLanahan of Golden Girls fame.
(17) Amy Scott-Douglass has also been following the Alabama Shakespeare Company's military tour. She has observed NEA meetings, attended the opening and closing performances of Macbeth, and interviewed many of those involved. As exhibited in her previous book Shakespeare Inside." The Bard Behind Bars. (New York: Continuum, 2007), Scott-Douglass' highly nuanced, narrative fieldwork will also provide readers access to the troops' experience on the ground. This recent work, as yet unpublished, was delivered as "Shakespeare Goes to Washington: Military and Civic Programs during the 21st Century." Shakespeare and the Civic Symposium. Hosted by Sharon O'Dair. Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Literature. University of Alabama. 14 April 2007.
(18) Linda Chames, in Hamlets Heirs: Shakespeare and the Politic of the New Millennium, warns us against the problems inherent in a "culture in which all kinds of information are presented simultaneously as if they were equally noteworthy," noting that our inundation by a multitude of seemingly-equal information debilitates our "ability to access the credibility of certain claims." We must heed Charnes' insightful warning; however, the dangers of this techno-cultural shift need to be tempered by a discussion of this shift's equally beneficial democratizing and anti-imperialist potential.
(19) Later in her article, McCall hints that the mutually exclusivity of these two groups (soldiers' families and "raving liberals") belies the complexity of the encounter. We learn that the actors are met backstage by two-star Major General Robert Mixon, Alabama Shakespeare Company member Chris Mixon's brother.
(20) For more on "affective labor" and "immaterial labor," see Hardt and Negri's Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, particularly pages 64-69.
(21) It must be noted here that this new affective flexibility extends, for the most part, to those involved in immaterial, affective labor. Furthermore, making positive use of this self-willed alienation involves a new form of "passing" in relation to national, racial and/or gendered matrices, an act further complicated for those citizens lacking the (or bearing the wrong) somatic signifiers.
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|Author:||Barnes, Todd Landon|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2008|
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