Politics Aside, "My Name is Rachel Corrie" is a Turd

…Or so suggests New York Magazine theater critic Jeremy McCarter, who expounds upon the irony of such an innocuous and uncontroversial play stirring up such a controversy.

The whole debate seemed slightly tinny at the time, as if there wasn’t quite as much at stake as all those partisans seemed intent upon discovering. Seeing the play confirms the impression: Corrie’s death was important, and the subject is excruciatingly important, but the play is not important. It’s a well-meaning wisp.

Full review.

12 thoughts on “Politics Aside, "My Name is Rachel Corrie" is a Turd

  1. Is it possible that the play is as boring as McCarter’s review? Is it also possible that the apolitical thumbs down is an effort to have it fold?

  2. I saw MNIRC. All the reviews are correct. It’s a polemic, it’s not a drama. It’s like Soviet Realism or didactic union folk songs. If your goal is to incite and rally your ideological cohort, it’s effective, because they already agree with you and just want solidarity. If your goal is to portray a complex tragic situation in which there are good guys and bad guys on all sides, this play doesn’t do it.
    I think most of the reason is that it is entirely the words of Rachel Corrie. It’s a one-woman show. But one-man shows about Mark Twain or Emily Dickenson (which have been extremely successful) present really interesting people with a track record of eloquence and serious thinking. Rachel Corrie was an unexceptional 22 year old, who couldn’t even acknowledge in the viewpoint of the Israelis (unlike most 22 year olds). (The phrase “suicide bomber” appears once in the entire play. She never goes to Israel.) Any play which is basically an actress reading Corrie’s diaries is going to be vacuous.
    The faithful were rapt and sobbed. The rest of us were bored. Her speech near the end IS disturbing, because the refusal to acknowledge any cause and effect is chilling, and it marks her as a fanatic. She rails against the fence and the checkpoints without once mentioning their reason. Terrorism as a real phenomenon simply doesn’t exist for her. Of course, to the faithful, that speech was the high point.
    So actually, I was bored, and then I was frightened and repelled.

  3. PS I am not saying I was repelled because she thought the fence was bad, although I very much disagree with that position. But the Israelis as real human beings who have reasons for what they do was completely absent, in the entire play. Since the authors are sympathetic to her, they would not excise anything like that to make her look bad, so it wasn’t in her writings.
    In the play she is made out of cardboard. In her life, her views were cardboard.
    If the play added some other characters, or showed some news footage or any other theatrical device you can think of, to play her words off of additional information about the situation, some rich dramatic conflict would be created. I could see an excellent tragedy being wirtten that is very sympathetic to her, but is about the tragedy of being naive and used, or trying to help people who deserve help but are not saints. (The Palestinians she describes are cardboard too.) For example. You can think of others.
    I disagree with most of the politics on this blog, but no one on this blog is as credulous and one-dimensional as Rachel Corrie. if she was more complex than her writings, this play doesn’t show it, which is ironic given that the producers really approved of her and wanted to present her well.

  4. I have to disagree with Yehudit. I think one of the minor tragedies of the whole situation was that there is yet another one man show we are pressured to see.
    This is unfortunate, because one person plays are never good, and most of us will do anything to avoid them. And in situations like these, it sounds insensitive to be honest. Or if you are, then you get the, “Well, why don’t you go see it first, and then decide.” And once again, you are pushed into spending gelt and time on a one man show, exactly the situation most of us would try to avoid for non-political reasons.

  5. The Palestinian liberation people have been touting this play for quite some time. There is substantial evidence that the International Solidarity Movement and/or its Palestinian handlers set up Rachel Corrie to be killed for propaganda purposes. While this probably couldn’t be proven in a court of law, there is more than enough for a good case in the court of public opinion. Since the ISM & Co. have already seen fit to “go there” by accusing Israel of murdering Rachel Corrie, I have no hesitation about “going there” either with regard to the ISM itself. When someone has been “murdered”– the libelous accusation that ISM and its allies slung at Israel and the bulldozer driver– it’s heap bad judgment to express a motive for wanting the deceased person dead.
    * “Recently, the Director of the Solidarity Movement, George Rishmawi, explained to the San Francisco Chronicle that the recruitment of American student volunteers is useful to the Palestinian Movement because “if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.””
    * Joseph Smith, who was present when Corrie died and whose highest priority was apparently to take pictures, said, “”The spirit that she died for is worth a life. This idea of resistance, this spirit of resisting this brutal occupying force, is worth anything. And many, many, many Palestinians give their lives for it all the time. So the life of one international, I feel, is more than worth the spirit of resisting oppression.”
    * A Hamas terrorist said openly that Rachel was worth more dead than alive. “‘Her death serves me more than it served her,’ said one activist at a Hamas funeral yesterday. ‘…Her death will bring more attention than the other 2,000 martyrs.'” Making of a Martyr by Sandra Jordan, Guardian Newspapers
    So we have motive, and now we can look at behavior. Several ISM members were all close enough to witness Corrie being run over by the bulldozer but not one of them lifted a finger to pull her out of the path of the slowly-moving vehicle when it became obvious that it was not going to stop. My efforts, by the way, seem to have reduced the ISM’s desire to talk about Rachel Corrie.

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