I know what you’re thinking. “Ghosts?” you say, “But this is Broadway. It’s, like, the gay capital of the east coast. Shouldn’t you be expecting gay crap?”
And you may be right, but this is a little different. The story:
This Friday we made a rare trip down to NYC to see the musical “Bandstand”. It was the very first day of previews for the show, so the tickets were cheap (for Broadway – 72 dollars each). The music was a sort of big band swing and the story looked fun enough, so off we went.
The show was about a group of WWII vets who formed a band and entered a contest; the winner gets into the movies. They’re good, but not good enough until a gold star wife with star power pipes joins in. Ta da. Play.
Sounds fun, right? It was, but it was actually a really, really remarkable tribute to the troops. The lead kills his buddy (the widow’s husband) in a friendly fire accident. An alcoholic in the group liberated the prisoners at Dachau. Another got in an accident that left him with brain damage. And so on – you get the drift.
This is great stuff! It’s the first thing I’ve ever seen that really goes into, and really attempts to understand (I obviously can’t speak to it’s total effectiveness, as I don’t have that experience), the plight of veterans home from the war. It doesn’t sugarcoat it, or hide from it. Cool, right?
We have one character – the sax player. He’s a bookish guy, in college for law school, and a bit of a neat freak. At one point, the lead tells him he should get a girl. He looks at him and says “Come on. I thought you were smarter than that.”
And my heart sank.
Leaving aside the other problems with this, it’s astonishing how stupid this line is. Apparently men who are smart and neat must be gay. It’s obvious! How did you not notice?
And this circa 1940’s WWII vet? What’s his reaction to this shocking revelation (a revelation, by the way, that has nothing at all to do with the tragic stories related to service all of the other vets have)? Why, it’s to ask him if he ever met anyone special!
No shock. No outrage. It causes no crisis. It’s just full support, no questions asked. Yeah, that’s the attitude tough as nails WWII vets from the 40’s would have to the revelation that a fellow band member was a pervert!
And the best part? The finale song – a wonderful song, all about the struggles and trials all of the vets had to go through since their return – reveals that, surprise, apparently the other band members all knew this too; we know this since war widow references it subtly in her lyrics.
This show was so close to something I could recommend wholeheartedly. It was a brilliant tribute to the troops with wonderful music and a great message. I’d be singing its parises to the heavens…
…But it had to virtue signal. It was a show that already had a very specific goal in mind, a point to make, and it throws in an absolutely pointless social justice talking point to…why? Prove that hey, they may be pro-vets, but don’t you dare accuse them of not being hip to the current liberal cause of the day.
It’s such a great show, and it’s such a small thing. It’s the sort of thing that immediately after the show when I bring it up the reaction from people *who agree with me* is to roll their eyes and go “Well, who cares?”
And that’s exactly *why* it’s such a big problem, and *why* it’s so disappointing.
What a shame.