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Politics as Efficiency. Vaclav Havel on its Draw back – New York Theater




One debater vigorously delivered one lie after one other, however the different spoke with a raspy voice and a tentative method.  (debate transcript.) So Republicans gloat and Democrats panic. It’s a crisp demonstration of the draw back of Politics as theater.

Vaclav Havel, a playwright who grew to become a president, noticed many and important connections between theater and politics, which he defined in a 1997 essay. One passage that alludes to the potential draw back of this connection appears particularly related:

“Even doubters can not deny one facet of theatricality in Politics: the dependence of Politics on media. Many politicians could be helpless with out coaches to show them the strategies of performing in entrance of the digital camera. All politicians, together with those that sneer at theater as superfluous, one thing that has no place in Politics, unwittingly develop into actors, dramatists, administrators, or entertainers. 

“The numerous function that sense of theater performs in Politics is two-edged. These possessing this high quality can arouse society to nice deeds and nurture democratic tradition, civic braveness, and a way of accountability. Such folks can even mobilize the worst instincts and passions, make plenty fanatic, main them into hell. Bear in mind the big Nazi congresses, torchlight processions and iNFLaMMAtory speeches by Hitler and Goebbels, the cult of German mythology. We may hardly discover a extra monstrous abuse of the theatrical facet of Politics. And at this time — even in Europe — rulers use theatrical instruments to arouse the form of blind nationalism that results in wars, ethnic cleansings, focus camps and genocide….”

Related article: Theater and Democracy, born collectively, now each underneath assault (from 2021)