About Me

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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A PA Native speaks about the electorate

There's been a lot of chatter about Pennsylvania and it's racism or lackthereof. John Murtha recently referred to Western PA as a "racist area."

I'm from Eastern Pennsylvania. Born in Bryn Mawr, lived in Collegeville and then lived in Boyertown, PA from the 6th Grade until I went off to college. I'm went to Pennsylvania Governor School for the Arts. My mother still teaches at a public high school there and lives in Oley, near Reading.

Guess what? That's a racist area. There are public KKK gatherings in Boyertown, for the love of God.

There are lots of reasonable, good people from my home state. Great universities, great theater, wonderful culture and folk art; it's not a terrible place. But there's a boatload of bigots there, no doubt about it. Anyone who claims to be offended for hearing that either doesn't like being called out for their own attitude, or doesn't actually live there.


RVCBard said...

They had Klan rallies in your hometown too?

We have so much in common, Matt.

Either that, or this racism thing is bigger than we thought! Gee willikers! I thought racism died out after we freed the slaves.

ian mackenzie said...

Hi Matt,

Can I ask an off-topic question? Maybe it's come up here already . . .

If you had to pick one, which Star Wars character (movies only) do you think would be the best person to replace Bush as the next America President?

To add parameters to the scenario, let's assume that America affairs are as they are (war in Iraq, economy, etc.) and that the Star Wars character would come with nothing from their universe except their own person, and any special powers originating within themselves (including any special powers that exist within themselves as part of a symbiotic relationship).

Freeman said...

Ian -

You know that this has NOT come up before. Why do you taunt me this way?

Mace Windu. President of the United States = Jedi Samuel Jackson.

ian mackenzie said...

Windu? Surprising.

I just went looking for dirt on Mace Windu and all I could come up with is his flip-flop on the matter of whether or not young Anakin should be admitted to Jedi school. I guess considering that Anakin did eventually bring balance to the force, Windu ultimately made the right call. (But does the end really justify the means?)

Also don't you think he might be a touch orthodox for the job?

Anyway, maybe Chewbecca is his running mate. To curry favour with the alien vote?

Freeman said...

Well at least he can admit a mistake. For a minute.

Honestly, Mon Mothma. She knows the value of a Bothan life.

ian mackenzie said...

Hmm. According to the Star Wars databank, Mon Mothma (OK, somebody give George Lucas an frickin' Oscar for Best Character Names in a Movie Franchise), "was one of the first to be wary of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's policies during the Clone Wars."

Sounds like good people.

Although all this has got me thinking: if the Star Wars universe is truly ruled by destiny, what does it matter if Mon Mothma was suspicious of Palpatine's centralization of power around himself within the Senate? If she had actually succeeded in undermining his efforts, Palpatine would never have come to power, Anakin would never have been seduced by the dark side, and order would not have been brought to the force.

So where does destiny meet free will?

Freeman said...

True of a lot of narratives, I suspect. If certain things happened, other things wouldn't, etc.

I think that that the major acts of free will are what shape the narrative of Star Wars. Luke says "Screw the orthodoxy" when he goes off the face Darth Vader in Empire. And of course, when Luke throws down his lightsaber at the end of ROTJ, that's an act of saying "Screw my Destiny, I'm not going to kill this guy."

Then again...was it his destiny not to kill him?

ian mackenzie said...

True. And in a way young Anakin escaping the bonds of enslavement (Episode I) suggests the awakening of his free will.

The paradox: The road to destiny is paved with free will.

Ian G said...

Back to the PA question, yeah, I'm from Southwest PA. Significantly less racism there then you tend to find in the eastern parts. Pittsburgh begrudgingly hosted a KKK rally several years ago (the city tried to find every possible loophole to stop it, but came up short. Free speech and assembly and all.) It turned out to be pretty laughable: six yahoos in white hoods surrounded by a phalanx of 50 or so police officers, surrounded by 1200 or so protesters looking to turn those white hoods red.

But twenty miles outside of Pittsburgh in any direction, that's a whole 'nuther story. As James Carville famously said, PA demographics are basically Pittsburgh in one corner, Philly in the other corner, and Alabama everywhere else.

True statistic: FBI tracks more organized white-supremacist groups in Pennsylvania than any other state. That gives this native Pennsylvanian a serious case of the willies.

jengordonthomas said...

I agree w/you on this one, Matt. I'm originally from Madison, WI...moved to eastern PA (Easton/Allentown) in junior high. Madison to Easton. It was like moving to another planet. I had never heard the 'N' word 'til I moved to Easton...and afterwards, that's just about all that I heard. Again, I'm sure there are some lovely, non-racist people in eastern PA, but don't be fooled...the mason-dixon line starts in PA...and I used to live off the exit with "Fireworks for Sale" signs to prove it.