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Art for John’s Sake

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Dear Attorney General John Ashcroft, You know that song you wrote about the American eagle proudly soaring? It sucks. You know the way you sing it? It also sucks. But I would like to thank you. If you hadn’t had the nerve to bomb in public, both personally and militarily, I would never have found it in myself to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a famous performance artist. So can I have some money?

Lest you think this is yet another request that the U.S. government fund more “commie fag art,” I assure you that my performance art will be thoroughly right wing.

To convince you that I am on the level, and not one of those devil worshippers who is going to embarrass you by taking color slides of some male model with a bullwhip up his butt, I have enclosed a script that I have written and performed to great acclaim in the better Bible colleges across this country.

ACT ONE

A lonely horizon at the edge of time. Bleak. Arty. Desolate. Enter “Blip,” the sad, heterosexual mime. (Played by me!) A blue teardrop glistens on Blip’s whitened face. The ends of Blip’s mouth dip downward. Even the stripes on Blip’s little shirt droop dejectedly. Blip suffers because the world is full of commie fag art. (Since this is supposed to be one of those didactic, learn-as-you-go pieces, slides of perverted performers reading sickening lesbian erotica, or dressed up as venereal warts, are flashed onto a scrim, so we can see what the real problem is.)

Blip sets up a little easel and begins to mime painting “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.” Suddenly, Satan, played by Robert Mapplethorpe on leave from Hell, enters and begins his own performance. To protest immigrant detentions, Mapplethorpe whips a 3-foot phallus from his red leotards and begins urinating into a large glass specimen jar. Terrified, Blip holds up a silver crucifix, and then starts wheezing asthmatically. “Pisssss,” goes Mapplethorpe, for the next 27 minutes. “Wheeeeze,” goes Blip. This is performance art at its finest, pitting one virtuous body function against an evil one.

At last, realizing that all the piss in the world won’t get him an NEA grant, Mapplethorpe storms off. Blip kneels in prayer. He vows to lead a more decent life and fight commie fag art. Then, from above, a miracle: a spotlight falls and crushes Blip’s head. We laugh until our sides ache, in keeping with government-sanctioned standards of Decency.

ACT TWO

Blip, wearing a neck brace and his crucifix, is ready to fight the decent fight! He picks up the jar of Mapplethorpe’s urine and begins walking with it towards FBI headquarters, where he plans to register as an Al Quaeda informant. As he walks, Blip smiles and tips his hat in a wholesome, convivial way to invisible nannies pushing strollers. He pauses to pet imaginary kittens and sniff phantom daisies, all the while trying not to drop the sloshing specimen jar. Naturally, you can tell exactly what is happening, because mime is the universal language!

Suddenly, Blip trips over a puckered yam that Karen Finley has used as a prop at a local dinner theater. Whirling around, Blip tries to catch himself, and somehow his silver cross flies off his neck, into Mapplethorpe’s urine. How beautiful! No. How disgusting! Instantly, a squad of burly police officers tramps on from both sides of the stage, whacks Blip senseless, and arrests him for attempting to create commie fag art.

ACT THREE

A court of law. Bleak. Paneled. Desolate. Blip is in a little cage on the witness stand. Because of his white privilege, Blip is allowed to mime grasping the bars and peering out coyly, as if to say, “Jail is so cute!” Then Blip’s lawyer, played by Jane Alexander, brings in surveillance tapes of Blip’s miming, taken from cameras the FBI had set up shortly after the Patriot Act was passed. “Yes, Your Honor,” admits Jane. “This is bad art, but it is bad pro-American art!” Blip mimes an eagle in mid-flight, and the Court releases him with a warning.

ACT FOUR

A farmhouse. Bleak. Homespun. Desolate. “A Prairie Home Companion” plays in the background. Enter Blip, distraught and bitter. Big Government has failed him. Blip has decided to join an ultraconservative right wing militia. He will “kill them all and let God sort them out.” Wacky, wacky Blip!

As he waits for his sheets to come out of the dryer, Blip expressively smears his body with Semtex and sprinkles dynamite on the floor. Then he rolls around in an artistic, yet Pro-Life fashion.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have just wrecked their car about a mile down the road. Will Blip let them use his phone?

In a final, winsome gesture of patriotism, Blip hurls his explosives-covered body at the pair, and they all blow up, getting guts all over the stage. Then, in a startling, yet pious denouement, the three, along with all the believers in America, are raptured up to meet Jesus, leaving the secular humanist non-believers to fester in their own sinful and pathetic attempts to broker world peace.

Which only goes to show the healing power of Art. The end.

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Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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