The God Of Hell by Sam Shepard
The hardest thing about living abroad for so long is not so much the distance and proximity I’ve put between myself and home. The whole idear of home has become an enigma anyway. The real problem has been watching the place closest to my heart from the outside for more than twenty years. Strange travels indeed. In the beginning the air I breathed and walked was full of everything wrong, misleading, false-optimism and blindness. I was suffocating so I ran from the America of the 80s where the seed of greed was allowed to spawn and mutate freely. And then the Cold War ended. You would think that such a positive, happy, great-ending would change people. But it didn’t. It made everything worse. Everyone immediately started squandering any potential dividends of that war. And. Their mis-efforts made Das Volk even more stupid. So I continued watching from abroad. I reckon there lies the seriousness of it all. People of all walks of life just didn’t do much about the changing of the times. They all just stuck to the path set for them. That was it. Nothing else. But not for me. I had put myself on an edge because I couldn’t take the mediocrity and the mendacity that so many thought acceptable. As though life, liberty and everything else was just a transaction. So I went to Berlin and London and Köln and Prague. And with every trip I read The Harold Tribune, Time Magazine, etc. Every hotel I tuned in CNN. I did everything to see what was happening back home as my travels took me further and further away. But you know the old saying, right? You can take him out of home but you can’t take home out of….
Confusing times. Ever since I’ve watched with tear-filled eyes my home, the country that I adore, fall to ruin at the behest of politics taking advantage of a people hell-bent on following a life-doctrine dictated to them: consume-to-survive. I’ve watched my home fall from grace at the behest of rampant, ill-conceived political ideology, despicable talk-radio and never questioning misconstrued authority. And then there’s Faux Newz. I watched the literature I’ve read by Orwell & Co. begin to materialise. Then came that horrible day in September 2011. And how did my beloved country react? No different than how it reacted to the ending of the Cold War. And. Just look out the window or, if you please, read up on some history. Indeed. Things have gotten complicated. As worst-writer I’ll never attempt to try and explain it all. But what is obvious is that a once great nation has fallen from grace. The game is up.
So let’s move to shinny shores and old worn out places that can no longer be subsidised for the pleasure of the needy but can explain things worst-writer cannot. Plays. It’s one thing to love the art of dialog and what can happen on a stage but it’s another thing to love the art of the playwright. I wonder if America knows what it has with Sam Shepard? The actor, the writer, the hot stud women don’t know what to make of. “What? He’s a Pulitzer winning writer, too,” she squirmed watching him in The Right Stuff. I certainly know what I have with Shepard. Probably my life. While trying to figure out things during that hell-setting period known as the 80s, it was Shepard’s play The Tooth of Crime that woke me up. (Keep in mind, I’ve only ever read it, never seen it performed!) With that play all I ever wanted to do was read dialog. In fact, reading plays completely changed my perspective on reading in general. A world was opened up. Through the years I’ve spent considerable effort on acquiring Shepard’s work just to read it. How fortunate I’ve been to be able to fly to places like London or San Francisco to buy his work because they have book stores specialising in plays. Heck, was even able to fly to NYC once to see Kicking A Dead Horse, unfortunately it wasn’t available in print yet. But let me move on before I get lost.
If anyone wants a way to explain to an adult as though that adult were a third grader, so he or she can understand, what is truly wrong with America today then all you have to do is check out The God of Hell. Like today’s America it’s a farce, funny and full of bullshit that will make you squirm and laugh. And in order to make it fit the American TV mentality, it’s short, precise, has dick jokes and don’t have lots big words (grammar intended). But there’s something else in it. The truth. So beware.
Welch: What did you expect? You didn’t think you were going to get a free ride on the back of Democracy forever, did you? Well, did you? What have you done to deserve such rampant freedom? Such total lack of responsibility. Just lolling about here in the Wisconsin wilderness with your useless lumberjack of a husband, scraping the cream off the countryside. Sooner or later, the price had to be paid. Don’t you think?