Badfellas: DeNiro Misfires
Let's face it... The Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Peabodys and yes, the Tonys have often been places to make a political and cultural statement, going back decades. Broadway has had 'Angels in America,' 'Rent,' 'Wicked,' 'Hamilton,' 'Golden Boy,' 'South Pacific,' 'Showboat,' etc. etc.
I could go on and on.
Broadway has tried to confront racism, homophobia, anti-semitism. It has often succeeded and sometimes, failed miserably.
Sunday's Tonys had a fail. And I'm talking about Robert DeNiro.
In the 'bleep' heard 'round the world, DeNiro did more to split the nation then bring it together. yes, he's entitled to his opinion, just like Sacheen Littlefeather was when she appeared at the 1973 Oscars to use Marlon Brando's Oscar to point out the injustices put upon the native American population in our country. And she was booed, by those 'elitist' award goers. But she delivered a message. was it the right place? Are any of the ceremonies the right place? Sometimes.
The song 'Seasons of Love' sung by The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Student Choir of Parkland, FL 'may' be interpreted by some as as an anti-NRA message but ANY parent in America, with their wits about them, saw it as a healing message for an American tragedy. The nit-wits don't deserve a mention.
But at a time when alt-right news sources and networks like Fox, talk about the 'elitist' crowds of NY, it should have been an opportunity to NOT do what Trump and his ilk do; divide rather than unite.
Sometimes, people forget who keeps them working. Broadway figures show that 62% of all theatre-goers are from out of town, outside the NY tri-state area. They are people with their own values and yes, some of them support candidates and ideologies that are abhorrent to me. But to them, Broadway is sometimes an escape, sometimes a lesson, sometimes a revelation and hopefully, sometimes acceptance of an idea that was once offensive to them or their own culture. Last night turned that goodwill into bad taste.
One friend, who is one of the most well-read and politically astute people I know, called it 'mean and nasty,' and I could not agree more. We have come to expect vulgarity from The White House but it does not mean we have to sink to that level. One US Senator, Jon Tester (D-MT) posted on Facebook that he wishes the President well in his meetings in Singapore. I personally know Sen.Tester well and I sent him a note, thanking him for his decency on hoping the meetings contribute to the greater good-and security-of our country.
There's an old saying from the worst movie of all time, "The Oscar," with actor Tony Bennett (yes..THAT Tony Bennett) as Hymie Kelly said: "You lie down with pigs and you wake up smelling like garbage."
I don't like Donald Trump one bit. And I know my fellows D's, I's and many R's feel the same but when water seeks it's own level, we don't need to jump in for a swim.
I think it was a bold, calculated- and stupid move by DeNiro.
Perhaps the biggest irony is I'm going to quote former President Nixon on his farewell at The White House: "Always remember others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."
Use that anger and energy at mid-terms, in your local communities, in finding a strong candidate in 2020.
There are ways to combat the mood in the country. This was clearly NOT one of them.
You can follow Barry Kluger here and his personal blog, www.klugerstravels.com