I do not typically address politics or social etiquette in this blog, yet at the same time, I rarely refrain from doing so.
This weekend I attended a party. At one point I was accosted by an acquaintance, perhaps the last stalwart of Boston's loony-left who still engages me in a friendly manner. Note: I am using "loony" in reference to a tenuous grasp on reality, logical coherence, and facts combined with a tenacious grasp on the party line of the faction of one's choice: I regard the left's guiding principles of liberté, egalité, fraternité [et sororité] as valid.
This acquaintance stated that he had told a friend about the party, and that I had some past conflict with this friend and wanted me to behave myself and not cause trouble. Those of you who are unfamiliar with my reputation for starting altercations at parties needn't worry: There is no cause for such a reputation. So who was this tag-a-long?
This is David Rolde protesting an April 26, 2009 staged reading of my play Total War. Notice that he's a Hamas supporter and that he opposes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Also notice that Total War does not discuss any aspect of the middle east conflict beyond a single line of dialogue. I recounted this bizarre incident in greater detail:
The oddest thing about Rolde's "protest" was that Total War is not about any aspect of the Middle East conflict: it's about Jews and Catholics. However, this did not stop Rolde from shouting "Jewish murderers!" as nauseum in a whiny voice while partially blocking the footpath between Outpost 186 and the sidewalk. I suppose he takes his street performance anywhere there might be an event that could be termed "pro-Jewish."
Eventually, I decided to invite him inside to attend the reading. Predictably, since it would have required him to have sat down and quietly listen to actors reading dialogue for a couple of hours, he did not accept.
So why the personal animus directed towards the playwright?
Here's a photograph from an earlier encounter, October 7th, 2007 at a rally for the people of Darfur who have been been murdered and displaced by the Sudanese government and the militias it supports. The speakers were survivors of a number of the 20th century's most infamous genocides and mass murders, who despite there different ethnicities, religions, native-languages, and country of origin had come both to share their own experiences but also to speak out against the horrors in Darfur.
Rolde and company were not only holding up a crudely painted cartoon which seems to insinuate that Israel engineered the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center, but also heckling the speakers, many of whom had lost their entire families to genocide before coming to the United States, often calling these survivors "liars." They believed themselves to have come to protest "a racist pro-war rally against Sudan organized by the [...] Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston."
And so, here I was at a party where there was an expected party-crasher with a past of heckling genocide survivors, supporting terrorism, spreading hatred and conspiracy theories, yet, I was the one being asked to not cause any trouble.
"So, Dan, have you ever known me to start an altercation at a party?"
"David does some evil stuff and you're asking me to behave myself?"
"Well, he has no self-control and you do."
"Then maybe you shouldn't be inviting people like that to parties, or think about the friends you keep."
"Sometimes he drives me places."
It seems to almost like an allegory or a satire or perhaps a farce.
In the end, Rolde never actually showed up.