The May 22nd bombing of Manchester Arena during a concert by Ariana Grande was a major atrocity and should be resoundingly condemned by anyone morally sane.
As ought to be the case whenever major atrocities occur on the soil of Western powers, especially when enacted by official state enemies, our anger is better to yield to our grief; since we are all in general unaccustomed to glimpsing, on our own streets or those of our friends, the violence we routinely inflict on vast portions of the world, the brisance of Monday night’s bombing should hopefully provide space for reflection. These actions cannot be forgiven or excused – but perhaps they can be understood.
Reflections are not all equally or equivalently valid or useful – to say nothing of factually sound – however. Among the latest of the “hot takes” is a theme of wearying, propagandistic moralizing and pro-Western liberal jingoism best summed up as: the Ariana Grande concert bombing was an attack against women and feminism by primitive, misogynistic Muslims.
The impetus for this post comes from Michael Wheeler (Artistic Director of the politically minded Praxis Theatre Company), whose new project is called SpiderWebShow, described as “A theatrical space where Canada, the Internet and performance minds intersect” (the absent Oxford comma is, I assure you, thoroughly sic). Both Mr. Wheeler & Praxis are rare creatures of at least the Torontonian theatre scene that I know, in that they are interested not just in the creation of performances, but in seriously pursuing the “Why” of theatre in Canada. Practitioners too often leave these questions to academics – Holger Syme, for example – & adopt a sort of “See No Evil” attitude which ultimately manifests in the work. Not to say the work is bad, per se; merely that a lot of times it seems disconnected from a public discourse about theatrical teleology. Even in the way plays are marketed (& reviewed) they adopt the qualities of commercial products, of things which are bought & sold but not necessarily important, vital, or immediate.