Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Being a daring, subversive Marxist is one thing but annoying Delta Airlines is quite another.

...Delta Airlines and Bank of America pulled out of their sponsorship of New York’s Public Theater on Sunday over a production of “Julius Caesar” that reimagines the main character as President Trump.

…Delta, which donates between $100,000 and $499,000 annually, according to Deadline, pulled its sponsorship Sunday afternoon.

Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste. We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of The Public Theater effective immediately.”

Bank of America, one of The Public Theaters’s dozen corporate sponsors, offered similar reasoning.

“Bank of America supports art programs worldwide, including an 11-year partnership with The Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park,” a spokeswoman told the Daily News. “The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in a way that was intended to provoke and offend. Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it.”

Of course, some of the play’s backers remain. For example, CNN and its parent company Time Warner. In fact, plagiarizer and CNN host Fareed Zakaria raved about play!

The emerging cultural rule seems clear enough: Oppose the president if you wish, but avoid violent imagery, even in jest, and you don’t get a pass if you launder your murder fantasies through Shakespeare. Showing the president’s head cut off, or having him stabbed on stage every night, isn’t going to be condoned by corporate America. The Public Theater, which produces the Shakespeare in the Park plays, has been suddenly reminded that it receives city, state, and federal grants. Take public money and you’re answerable to the public. (The National Endowment stresses that it didn’t support this particular production but continues to support the Public Theater, a distinction that may not impress you given that the director of Julius Caesar and the artistic director of the Public Theater are the same person.)

So subdued was the theater world as the news about Delta spread that Sunday night’s Tony awards turned out to be almost completely Trump-free. The evening was notably short on impassioned pleas, i.e., shrill grandstanding. What jokes were directed at Trump were few and mostly mild and there were even a couple of moments of (arguably) pro-Trump humor. The host, Kevin Spacey, mentioned the longtime voice of CNN, James Earl Jones, who received an honorary award, as “the most trusted name in fake news,” then later did a bit in character as Bill Clinton in which he mocked Hillary Clinton’s e-mail debacle...