• Peter Dayton

1.16.21 Healthy Holly's Up & Running ("exercise is good for you!")

Dear Friends,

Like many of you, I am sure, I have been in a fugue state of rage and despair after the events of January 6, 2021. The attempt by white supremacists to storm the capitol, summarily execute members congress and the chain of command, all at the behest of a criminal outgoing president making desperate, Caesar-like gambits to stay in power and avoid criminal prosecution was nothing less than a violent apotheosis of the aims of Republican party politics: the establishment and violent enforcement of a theocratic, oligarchic white supremacist ethnostate. All of the bad-faith, hypocritically-applied, and completely false arguments that have driven Republican party politics for my entire lifetime, from science-skepticism to defense of so-called 'family values' to trickle-down economics to 'tough-on-crime' policies to rhetoric of personal accountability, all of it has reached its final stage of metamorphosis with the violence of beating a Capitol police officer to death with a fire extinguisher, with apparel that glorifies the holocaust, with chants to lynch the vice-president. All of these 'values' have been the callous means to an end that is fundamentally opposed to the values of representative democracy; values that can only be enforced by violence when subterfuge and sabotage are foiled by sheer democratic participation. And despite the broadbrush portrait of violent Trumpists as the "redneck Taliban" (theocratic terrorists though they be), information about the treasonous insurrectionists reveals them to be real estate agents, business executives, white-collar white people from suburbs who were all too happy to attempt a violent coup and abolish representative government in the name of a man who is the standard-bearer of white supremacy. The rich astroturfers who underwrote the Tea Party movement have come back after poisoning the lawn to burn down the rest of the property. This is not simply a matter of ignorance, lack of education, or lack of exposure to diverse experiences, this is a class of pampered people, whose reality has been shaped by all of the upsides to being among the favored class in a society built by white supremacy, in emotional freefall, desperate to uphold the crumbling fantasy of the inherent superiority that entitles their privileges and justifies their cruelties. Even now the state-propaganda-network-aspirant right-wing media ecosystem has sprung into action as apologist for this most heinous of betrayals of the social contract in which, at every turn, they have been eager, cash-grabbing accomplices. The people of this nation who are not the privileged, white, elite few have suffered so much from these ideologies that we have for so long dignified as legitimate and deserving equal airtime. Apologism and deflection for what has happened are nothing more than an abuser gaslighting his victim and are all the more heinous because of the conscienceless lack of contrition. As the vote for Trump's second impeachment shows, only 10 elected Republicans could bring themselves to admit wrongdoing in any meaningful way. The rest remain loyal to their dear leader, no matter the cost of violence or lives. Let us not forget that as 6 people died in the Capitol, nearly 4,000 Americans have been dying every day from a disease that Trump has done nothing to stop. This price has been more than acceptable to the millions of Americans who voted for him a second time in November so that he could continue to deliver a society of violently-enforced white dominance and deafening white grievance.


Support for Trump at any point has been inexcusable and is unforgivable.


This is not something we will "move on" from, as we heard so many Republicans plea after more than a decade of violent rhetoric, desperately hoping to escape accountability and try again another day. If the nation must heal, we must heal the people who have been injured and hold the assailants accountable. Whether a system that gives rich white people so many privileges, advantages, and benefits of the doubt is capable of doing this remains to be seen. Whether we have the resolve to save ourselves from the depraved, violent aspirations of American empire is a question that can only be answered "yes" after transformative change in the apparatuses of state as well as in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. Hopefully, the elimination of the disease and the medicinal treatment can begin on Wednesday, though I am fearful that the lack of truly drastic reprisals for the seditious congresspeople who aided and abetted the violence of 1/6 as well as Trump's continued occupancy of the White House up to inauguration day leaves open the possibility for more neo-nazi violence. We can only do our best, by pushing our legislators through constant engagement, to use a unified government to deliver real and necessary changes to those most injured by the combination of pandemic, oligarchy, and exploitation that has created such profitable misery in this country. Yes, this blog post will also be plugging a show that I contributed music to, but it would be a lie (and would reveal a complete lack of conscience or awareness on my part) to proceed as if an event of earth-shaking proportions did not happen and consume most of my thought and emotional energy.

Leaping Lettuce! Healthy Holly is Live!

This first chance for me to collaborate on a theatrical piece was a learning/growth experience that I am eternally grateful for (and eager to repeat with future chances to learn, grow, and create more!). While this kind of process always means that good things get left on the cutting room floor, I'm very happy and proud of the result and had delightful experience of this phone-based immersive dramatic experience. A zany, dark comedy, Healthy Holly's Hidden Hideaway gives greedy people motivated only by power and money the comedic indignity they deserve, wrapped in a paean to Baltimore's most famous landmarks and the city's history of struggles to achieve racial justice. Brilliantly performed by the cast of Single Carrot Theatre, this show is full of wry-smiling lessons and larger-than-life personalities, not the least of whom is Healthy Holly herself!


The show is an interactive experience where you choose between options by dialing numbers, but is entirely pre-recorded, so it is available on-demand! Just purchase a ticket for the day you want to have your Healthy Holly's Hidden Hideaway experience and you will have access to it for the full 24 hours of that day. The show takes about one (1) hour. Again, congratulations to the rest of the team involved in bringing Healthy Holly's Hidden Hideaway to life and I hope you enjoy the show!

We are not through the tunnel yet and might yet not be for a long time. Stay alert, stay safe, masked, and well, and opposed to fascism.

-Peter

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