Gentle Reader, the Tony Award nominations were recently announced. And while I do not generally approve of anyone giving anyone in the theater any sort of accolade (they might begin to think themselves far too important than they are), I was heartened by Mr. Isherwood’s recent anti-Tony invective. I had to respond. Here is my response, freshly submitted to the Grey Lady (who has not yet “approved” it. Though why she would not, since I clearly approve of her(!), I do not know):
Dear Mr. Isherwood,
I too find those who hold erroneous opinions (that is, opinions with which I disagree) eminently contemptible! But how refreshing to read your article which so clearly illustrates a Critic’s deepest priorities: the enunciation of his own opinions as representative of Universal Good, and the expression of disdain for those who think otherwise. What, indeed, is Criticism if not these two things (plus a muscularly smug self-regard)? Absent is anything but the cold hard pronouncements of critical orthodoxy! What should we love? Not the theater, no(!), but what in the theater you tell us to love!
I appreciate, too, your ultimate point: money is the true arbiter of taste and success! How could the Nominators not recognize their need to bow to Boxoffice, particularly when Boxoffice clearly ratifies our own tastes! At other times, we may deride Broadway producers and Nominators for bending to economic exigencies, but the same exigencies bloweth us where they listeth, too. Only we have the advantage: a superior critical hermeneutic in which all apparent duplicity is dissolved by sheer force of will!
That will transports me: Thou Tastemaker! Thou Career Breaker! Thou Disdain Giver! Oh thou Eternal Rebel (don’t think I didn’t see your revolutionary turn in “Gossip Girl”): I prostrate myself in humble obeisance to your critical Majesty! Hail, Isherwood, Hail!
I hope you agree!