The Public Theater of New York City recently decided that it would be a good idea to stage Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar” in a modern setting. In this version of the play the dictator, Julius Caesar, looks a lot like Donald Trump and, of course, in act three he’s murdered in order to save the country.
While I firmly believe that staging pretend assassinations of a president of the United States, such as done by Kathy Griffin, is bad for the country, the Public Theater is free to stage their plays and make any tasteless political statement they desire, but not with my money.
In a tweet, President Trump asked, “I wonder how much of this 'art' is funded by taxpayers?” Forbes Magazine provided the answer, “Data at OpenTheBooks.com shows that over $4.1 million in federal, state and city grants funded the New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) – the parent company to Public Theater and its production, Shakespeare in the Park – over the past three years. The total amount since 2009? Nearly $30 million.” The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), the people who brought us Piss Christ at taxpayer expense, gave the New York group over $630,000.
I think this taxpayer funded swamp could use some serious draining.
My revulsion with both Kathy Griffin and this play is motivated more by love of country than admiration for Donald Trump. Hate so deep and malicious that it expresses itself in decapitation or murder of the president is bad for democracy and the institutions of this nation.
Because of the play two corporate sponsors, Delta Airlines and Bank of America have withdrawn sponsorship. As I read about that I also learned that American Express has continued to fund the group while expressing dismay at this particular production.
I use American Express as my business credit card so I called them and stated, “You can’t have it both ways; either stop fostering hate or you lose my business. Your choice.”