“Who’s to blame for the Afghanistan chaos? Remember the war’s cheerleaders… Today the media are looking for scapegoats, but 20 years ago they helped facilitate the disastrous intervention.” — George Monbiot, op-ed in The Guardian, 8/25/21
We in the media are so proud of the role we played supporting America’s longest-running horrific play! We may not have written or produced the play, but we provided all the publicity, giving voice and platform and air time to those who did. Not only has this production gone on for twenty long years, but it also has all the ingredients to make it the stuff of nightmares. Greed, hypocrisy, drugs, abuse, war crimes, drone strikes — this show has everything. Without our encouragement, there’s no way the public would have let this play be staged, let alone run for twenty years, and now that it’s closing, we categorically and loudly denounce the way it’s ending.
You want to know how big a deal this play was? It cost $2 trillion and more than 100,000 lives. It pretty much destroyed anyone involved with it, except for us and the people who sell the kind of equipment and talent that go into producing a heinous production like this, who we often amplify as “experts.” Hell, it’s no secret that we profited from this baby — if it bleeds, it leads, amirite? But it’s important to point out that so many people profited even more than we did. More importantly, as the final curtain drops tonight, we condemn this show as the hellscape it is.
Even before this atrocious play started, we were enthusiastic cheerleaders, waving the script around in the face of anyone in our immediate vicinity, and later helpfully embedding ourselves with some of the actors and endlessly valorizing them. Were there people out there who said that this play should have never been produced? Yeah, sure. But back then, people just ignored the dissenters, or called them un-thespian traitors. And at this moment, on tonight’s final performance of this abhorrent show, it seems like the exact right time for us to try a grab a spot on the moral high ground right next to them by decrying the way it’s coming to an end.
So many people forget that this abominable play was super popular at first. It was a hit! But then it got some bad press, and also people died. But it still kept going, and eventually, we started to ignore it. Yet even though no one was paying this play much attention, it carried on because the law of theater dictates that a performance in motion remains in motion as long as the producers are still getting their cut.
Oh, but what a play! It was terrible and tragic and morally reprehensible! It killed! In fact, the play was so ghastly that as it gears up for its final performance, we feel completely devastated watching it. Honestly, how could anyone put on a show like this? Slowly, it has started to dawn on us that we should probably say something about it. And that something is this: What is the director thinking?
As theatergoers are well aware, this murderous show has gone on for so long that it’s had four different directors since it was first produced. But who can even remember the names of those other directors, especially the first one who brought this calamitous play to life? Now we’re trying to make sure that this last director, who’s finally ending this disgraceful play, will forever be associated with it, his reputation ruined by its colossal failures and destruction and violence. His career will be tainted and demolished by this shameful show because closing night is all anyone will remember, especially after we’re done writing up this scathing review.
Well, now that this monstrous show is finally ending, we’d like to take a moment to thank the audience for supporting it, for buying tickets, for applauding, for all the standing ovations, for pretending it didn’t exist, and finally, for joining us as we publicly assail this hellish play and its final performance.
Isn’t theater great? We can hardly wait for the next show.