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Friday, July 15, 2005

Every ex-Catholic (or ďlapsedĒ Catholic, since the Church likes to think of itself as a sort of Holy Mafia that you can only leave in one very specific way) should probably see ďAgnes of God.Ē (Thatís the one about the nun and the dead baby. And this is not a spoiler.) Mom and I saw the excellent Summer Repertory Theatre production tonight at Santa Rosa JC.

You know, I really wanted to write about Judith Miller and Matt Cooper and Karl Rove and Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. I was sort of hoping Iíd find something in the play to tie in with that political melodrama, but it was way too metaphysical for the Bush White House. They would have been scandalized by the story of a young woman who seems to be pulling the wool over her own eyes. (They wouldnít have been embarrassed, though, because theyíre incapable of it.)

Only three characters appear on stage in this play (two nuns and a psychiatrist). But for some reason it sometimes seems that the stage is crowded with hazy figures from these womenís past. The nuns think theyíve escaped from the harshness of the world by insulating and isolating themselves and being dedicated to a higher principle, something they canít see but believe in anyway. They need it to help them deal with how brutal life can be.

In a way, thatís what Rove does for the president. Heís the Mother Superior who thinks, so that his disciple doesnít have to. Sometimes it gets in the way of good judgment, but that layer of deniability allows them to do the see-no-evil thing with the press and public. What do you want to do tonight, Karl? I donít know, George, what do you want to do?

Same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.

The play explores the question of whether some secrets are too painful or too personal to be revealed. It even goes to the matter of whether itís the worldís business what happens behind closed doors. In the end, the answer is that it does matter, to the degree that the world is affected. If a baby dies, the world has the right to know the reason.

And if a thousand soldiers and thousands of civilians die, the world has a right to know the reason for that, too. Thatís what Joe Wilson believes, and itís why he exposed the fact that the administration based its contention that Saddam was purchasing nuclear material in Niger on documents known to have been forged. Rove didnít want that to get out, or at least he didnít want us to believe it, so he called Cooper and outed Wilsonís wife as a CIA agent.

Itís as simple as that. They were willing to expose an undercover intelligence agent (Plame) and undermine the credibility of the last U.S. ambassador to Iraq who actually stood up to Saddam (Wilson), just to keep the public from learning the truth about their trumped up reasons for going to war. Rove did it, and he has now spent the last two years lying about it. Indictable? Probably not. Ethical? Definitely not.

10 July 2005

My house from just beyond the side fence.

In the play, when the truth comes out it detonates emotions that lead to a disintegration of the cloistered society of the convent. The devastated older nun curses the psychiatrist for bringing out a reality she doesnít want to accept. Thatís the same reason the White House is trying to turn the debate back on those who are asking questions, calling us traitors and haters and partisan debaters. Misdirecting and misleading Ė itís what the cover-up artists do best.

(Iíll get to Judith Miller, who is serving a prison term for you and me, soon.)

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Itís always good when the Giants beat the Dodgers, even when theyíre only battling for third place. It hasnít been a good season, but if the Giants can finish ahead of the Dodgers in the standings, itíll be a better one. Tonight they drew within a half-game of third-place Los Angeles in a game where they outscored them, 6-0, and outhit them, 15-2. Two Giants players, Michael Tucker and Ray Durham, had four hits each, and starter Noah Lowry took a two-hit shutout into the eighth inning. This team has a long way to go to dig itself out of the hole itís in, but you canít go on a long winning streak without winning a couple of games in a row (which is what theyíve done to start the second half).

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