comedy, journalism

"It reminds me a joke I once heard about upper-middle-class people …"

Poor Celia Wren. It seems that her writing career took a wrong turn somewhere, and she was forced to earn money doing a Washington Post theater review that forced her to be sequestered in a room with the sort of person who would find historical and literary farce amusing.

This blogger, also a professional journalist, should warn you that the review to which I’ve linked describes a situation so desperate that you may be unable to stop weeping. If you’re especially sensitive to the plight of reviewers stranded among uncouth men and women of the evening who watch comedy, do not click that link. Just limit yourself to a sampling of her words …

At the Lansburgh Theatre, you once stood a good chance of encountering a classic drama. Now, though, it’s playing host to the Reduced Shakespeare Company, a troupe that has built a cottage industry out of undergraduate-quality literary sendups. …

Judging by the gales of laughter that greeted performances Saturday, many theatergoers find this sort of thing hilarious. …

In an era when even HBO is taking the Founding Fathers seriously, “The Complete History of America” might seem nearly as sacrilegious (as “The Bible”). …

The horror … the horror …

It’s important for Ms. Wren to take a stand against such “entertainment.” Why, we could end up like the British, where students at Oxford and Cambridge traditionally perform “skits,” often in drag,” and the ones who are deemed good at it turn professional! One young man was doing research on Chaucer and ended up doing some sort of nonsense in which people bang coconuts together and search for the Holy Grail!

( /sarcasm )

This is the sort of condescending crap that makes the world hate journalists. I’m unabashedly elitist, with very little patience for stupidity, and yet the Post sometimes cranks out content that can’t possibly appeal to anyone other than D.C. residents (not those curious people over in Virginia) who are pretentious and have no sense of humor. Government workers generally aren’t pretentious, so they’re out of the target audience. And the popularity of Reduced Shakespeare — not to mention the big theaters’ tendency to book big-time comics — proves that someone here must have a sense of humor.

So perhaps we really should pity Ms. Wren and her editors. Their demographics aren’t good, and they’re too full of themselves to enjoy a good laugh. That’s sad.


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