What Price Spirituality?

Kevin Bacon in An Almost Holy Picture: another jarring experience
photo: Joan Marcus
Kevin Bacon in An Almost Holy Picture: another jarring experience

Yes, sir, I am sorry. I realize that yours is the only committee in Congress not currently investigating Enron. I didn't mean to drag you back to it. But it's a peculiarity of the arts in America: The absence of federal support drives our institutions to the corporate model. And of course, the first thing they learn there is corporate dishonesty. Thanks to Enron and its ilk, we've learned that all corporate executives are essentially thieves and liars—it's all a criminal operation. Things aren't that bad in the theater, fortunately, but we do have these institutions that preach art but practice maximum profit for minimum product. They poor-mouth to the unions, pinch pennies with their staff, and throw perks on celebrities who often hinder the play rather than help it. I don't know if you've heard, sir, but the Roundabout's made enough money to purchase Studio 54. I suppose they'll sell its name to some corporation just as they sold the Selwyn's to American Airlines. Well, the theater where such things go on might not want its true name mentioned. I mean, Selwyn was a real producer. Happy to have helped with your investigation, Mr. Congressman. Well, of course I know you don't exist, sir. But talking to someone imaginary helps me when I'm upset. Besides—it's more dramatic. Thank you.

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