My first blog! I’m so excited my nipples are…nevermind

Manifesto

Back in the 90s when we were doing theatre in New York, my friend Jake Daehler and I coined a phrase: “Theater of Obligation.” This referred to the fact that since your friends made the shlep downtown to some pathetic excuse for a theater that was, until you and your fellow eager-beaver actors got ahold of it, probably a hazardous waste storage facility or a crack den, and then watched you perform in a mime/hip-hop adaptation of “Hedda Gabler,” you were in turn obligated to return the favor and sit through their musical version of “Hamlet”, set on the Moon. It occurs to me there is a Theatre of Obligation resonance to blogging: we read our friends’ blogs because, you know, that means they have to read ours. Now, I have a shit ton of talented writer friends, and reading their stuff is usually a pleasure, but let’s face it, many blogs are simply a more verbose version of the meaningless Facebook status update: “I had a bagel for dinner…because I’m a rebel.” Now add 500 words and poof! Blog!

I’ve decided to change all that, and in the process, yes, fix the world. One letter at a time. The great Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in their sketch “The Frog and Peach” put it best:

SIR ARTHUR STREEB-GREEBLING: Remember that – World War Two?

INTERVIEWER: Yes, indeed.

STREEB-GREEBLING: Absolutely ghastly business.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, indeed.

STREEB-GREEBLING: Absolutely ghastly business.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, yes, indeed.

STREEB-GREEBLING: I was completely against it.

INTERVIEWER: Well, I think we all were.

STREEB-GREEBLING: Yes, but I wrote a letter.

Read that last line again.

STREEB-GREEBLING: Yes, but I wrote a letter.

Now just imagine if millions of people had written letters to Adolph Hitler right after he invaded Poland. Might the anger and indignation of the people of Europe, expressed in the form of hand-written missives, have stopped the Panzer Blitz dead in its tracks?  Of course not. Are you nuts?  We’re talking about Adolph Hitler, a very busy man who didn’t have the time to read mail, even fan mail (he had a guy, the “Uber-Mailbag-Reader-Unter-Fuhrer” who answered his fan mail and autographed his 8×10 glossy photos, so if you have one that reads “Love, Adolph”, I’m sorry to tell you it’s probably a fake). But think of the havoc fifty million letters would have wreaked on the Nazi Postal Service. Soldiers would have been recalled from the battlefield. The keenest minds in the Nazi war machine would have been re-tasked to figure out how to deliver, store and respond to the avalanche, nay the tsunami, of envelopes deluging the German High Command. Imagine the war in North Africa if Field Marshall Rommel, “The Desert Fox”, was re-tasked to a sorting center in Dusseldorf rather than driving the Allies crazy with his seemingly invisible tanks in Moroccan desert.  The Allies would have made short work of that campaign and spared us the TV show “Combat.”

Now, I’m just one guy who can only type with three fingers at a time, but I believe those three fingers can make a difference, especially the middle ones. So with this blog, I intend to challenge the powerful, call out the hypocritical, and whine and complain with all the vociferous gusto of a member of my tribe waiting for a table at a Chinese restaurant. (“It’s been half an hour. You said fifteen minutes. We’re starving here!”)

Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” Thus begins my “Journey of 1,000 Letters”, after which, if the world is not a better place, vanquished of evil, ignorance and Geraldo Rivera, I will retire my quill, or start writing something useful, like blurbs on the back of porn DVDs, or nutritional information on cereal boxes, which in my opinion are trey light on literary style.

So, thanks for reading, and in the grand tradition of Theatre of Obligation I will now happily read your blog about what a douche your boy(girl)friend is.

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