WaPo Uses ‘Pedophiles’ and ‘Brilliant’ in Same Headline for Sick Review of Play


You can’t make this up.

Please take a moment to take in this tweet, which, after triple-checking, I can say is not from a parody account:

“Review: ‘Downstate’ is a play about pedophiles. It’s also brilliant,” The Washington Post proudly declared.


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Again, this is not a parody account. The Post legitimately used the word “brilliant” to describe an off-Broadway play about pedophiles.

Look, art can understandably take many forms. Avant-garde art is never appreciated in its own time. That’s fair.

But to normalize pedophilia? The sexual exploitation of children? If art is meant to contribute something positive to society, “Downstate” is quite possibly the furthest thing from art possible.

Full disclosure: I haven’t seen “Downstate,” nor do I ever plan to. I can’t speak to the acting, set pieces or anything technical that might have been “brilliant.”

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What I can speak to is the subject matter — and the Post’s creepy fawning over it.

Here is chief theater critic Peter Marks’s opening salvo in this review:

“Take a deep breath and try to ruminate calmly on the position playwright Bruce Norris takes in his scintillating new play, ‘Downstate’: that the punishments inflicted on some pedophiles are so harsh and unrelenting as to be inhumane.

“Are you still reading? It’s almost impossible to broad-brush the perspective at the heart of this impeccably acted drama without sounding as if one is advocating some extraordinary level of consideration for individuals who have committed unspeakable crimes. And yet Norris proposes a variation on this proposition at off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons: He is questioning what degree of compassion should society fairly hold out to those who have served their time for sexual abuse, assault or rape.”

That is actually rather easy to answer: There should be no degree of compassion for those who have served their time for sexual abuse, assault or rape, especially when the victims are children.


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