Thursday, March 27, 2014
US! and The America Play Blog Post
"The America Play" by Suzan Lori Parks and "US!" by Chris Bachelder are two books that are remarkably similar thematically and if not they at least complement each other thematically. To grossly over simplify "The America Play" is about an African American man who impersonates Abraham Lincoln and chrages money to those who want to reenact Lincolns assassination while the "US!" is about Upton Sinclair constantly being assassinated and revived while attempting to expose social ills through muckraking that is increasingly deteriorating in effectiveness after each subsequent assassination. My personal view is that the themes are similar because the real assassinations of the never assassinated Sinclair in conjunction with the staged assassinations of the actually assassinated Lincoln are both metaphors for the relationship between those in favor of social change and those against social change. In addition this elicits a motif for a longing of an unfulfilled past. In "US!" a resurrected Sinclair is a sign of hope for the Socialist change that those who resurrected him wanted. In "The America Play" those who pay to conduct a fake assassination of Lincoln are at least to some degree stuck in the past. To conclude I think the both books have an implicit message about what can happen if people lean to heavily on the past and its icons for guidance with the future. In my opinion consulting history is incredibly important to gain a general frame of reference for what's going on but at the same time it is something to be consulted not emulated.