Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Retraction.

Note: Below is a post I put up at the Neo-Futurists’ blog, regarding a play I wrote and performed for Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind during the month of October. I’m cross-posting it here because I feel it here as well as there.


This is not a post on behalf of the Neo-Futurists Theater Company. This is just a post from me, Bilal Dardai, an ensemble member of the Neo-Futurists Theater Company.

Hello. I owe many members of our audience and our ensemble an apology and a retraction.

About a month and a half ago, I wrote a play titled No Shit, Sherlock, which made it into the menu and lasted about three or four weeks before getting kicked off the menu. The play utilized a standard British mystery trope–the drawing room scene–to discuss the recent death of a man named Bill Sparkman, a 51 year-old census worker and substitute science teacher, who was found hanging from a tree in Kentucky with the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest in black marker.

The play made several strong statements to the effect that I believed Sparkman’s death to be a murder, and that a recent spate of anti-government rhetoric from right-wing politicians and political groups was in part to blame.

Today, the Kentucky State Police and a host of other investigative bodies including the FBI ruled that Sparkman’s death was a suicide staged to look like a homicide.

Now, there are still going to be people who claim that there is no way this could be a suicide. I’m not one of these people. This was a high-profile case and there were a lot of people on it. I trust the ruling.

As such, I personally feel it is important to retract significant sections of my own play. I jumped to some conclusions and those conclusions were determined to be incorrect. So I’m sorry about No Shit, Sherlock.

That said: although I apologize for throwing out a lot of falsehoods about the Bill Sparkman case on our truth-based stage, I do stand by the core argument of my play… there is a lot of hateful and dangerous rhetoric clogging the airwaves right now by people opposed to the Obama administration and the consequences of that rhetoric are not small. I do want people to remember that the Rwandan genocide occurred due in no small part to the hate-mongering of Hutu Power Media.

I believe most of can agree that there is no room in the health care debate, or any other differences of opinion with the Obama administration, for violent, hateful, eliminationist speech. I think most of us are reasonable enough not to create Facebook polls about Obama’s assassination or sell T-shirts that obliquely use Biblical scripture wishing him to die. I think most of us rightly understand that actions such as burning Nancy Pelosi in effigy or erecting a billboard in Missouri telling people to Prepare For War cross all lines of civilized American behavior.

And so on that front, I do not apologize. I do not retract.

It was important to me that I answer for mistakes I made on behalf of the art I produce for this company. That I got something wrong, however, does not make other wrong things less wrong.

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This entry was posted on November 24, 2009 by in Politics, Theatre, Writing.
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