Our Tastes Have Changed

When I was 13 years old my parents and I took a trip to New York.  During that trip we did the kinds of things that parents with teenage kids do when they go to New York:  We visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and I seem to recall taking a Circle Line boat tour around Manhattan.  We also saw a Broadway show:  Andrew Lloyd Webber’s riff on T.S. Eliot’s book of poems called Cats.

Yeah.  That Cats.

I was mesmerized. 

This was the first Broadway show I had ever seen.  (Truth to tell, it may have very well been the first professional theatrical production I had ever seen).  I loved it… really loved it.  I bought the CD, and I started to look at other theater productions.  I begged my parents to take me to other shows.  When Cats came to Los Angeles I demanded that we get tickets and go.  A few years later I was in London as an older teenager and jumped at the opportunity to see Cats in the West End. 

As I went through high school I started to gravitate towards the performing arts.  I began acting and performing whenever I had the opportunity. 

When Chaney was around four and Carolyn was twelve, PBS did a full broadcast of Cats.  I was unbelievably excited to have the kids see what I had seen.  I waited on our couch, with  popcorn ready, for the production to start.

As it began I had a realization… kind of an epiphany I suppose. 

Cats sucks.

What I had experienced in my youth was based on youthful tastes.  That same experience, years later, did not have the same transformative effect.

That is kind of how I feel about political theater today.

I remember sitting in awe watching the Senate Judiciary Committee go through the confirmation process with Justice Thomas, Justice Ginsberg, Justice Alito, Justice Gorsuch, Justice Sotomayor, and, of course, Justice Kavanaugh.

That awe… started out with extreme interest in the pageantry of the process… has now denigrated to what can best be described as a slow-motion train wreck.

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From Senator Mazie Hirono asking Judge Barrett if she has ever sexually harassed anyone, then subsequently chastising her for using the term “sexual preference”, the educated discourse of our esteemed Senate is indeed on a downward trajectory. 

Then there was the whole silliness of the entire spectacle in the first place.  This is not relegated exclusively to the Legislative Branch to be sure… I’ve seen it in the lower level of the judiciary as well.

I was involved in a domestic violence case a while back.  The defendant was actually the victim of an assault by complainant.  She subsequently called the police on the defendant claiming she was attacked by him.  At the preliminary hearing we were provided the theatrical experience of her story literally crumbling apart in front of the court.  The Judge was completely disinterested.  After our closing arguments the judge found that probable cause existed to remand the defendant for trial. 

The entire exercise had been a judicial performance art piece.  The judge had essentially decided the case before the litigants walked into the courtroom. 

This devalues all levels of our government… and when it is put on such a national display, it erodes the trust in our institutions. 

Democrats wondered out loud after the last Presidential election how… just how… someone like President Trump could be elected.  They failed to see the utter disgust the American people have developed in our institutional government. 

From watching the confirmation hearings, it would appear they still have not learned their lesson.

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Comments (3)

  • Greg S Reply

    Absolutely spot on.

    10/21/2020 at 07:36
  • Jeff Tucker Reply

    I couldn’t agree more.

    10/21/2020 at 09:52
  • Kristian Krause Reply

    I will only take you to task on this- Cats doesn’t suck. It depends upon the production. When I was a child, my birthday gift was to see Cats in Los Angeles (the Big Town and major excursion for us). It was magical, epic, just as you remember it. A few years later, I had the opportunity to see it on Broadway. The same actor for Rum-Tum-Tugger. It was amazing, a lot due to the more liberal freedom of the characters to express themselves (as I am sure you can only imagine with him!). I have since seen several productions on tv that left me despondent. This includes the London production, from which the quintessential DVD was made, and others, like PBS. The portrayal of the characters was so unlike what I had known. Yes. I did read Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. My original exposures align with it. The newer, mass media? No.
    So, while I understand your analogy, what our youthful ideals may be versus the harshness of today’s truths, I will beg you to not give up on Cats. I am still looking for a good mass media rendition. My memory, all alone in the moonlight, makes me smile at the old days.

    12/12/2020 at 02:45

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