Show of Force by Donnie Mather

Donnie’s been on the street since 2006 performing a 1.5 hour 1-man stage show titled “Show of Force”. His only props are a chair and a desk. I watched his performance a few nights ago. The talk-back session afterward was notably about the work, and not really about the content at all.

I can tell he really wants to argue and emote against war. He tries hard to imagine the reasons for war, but he just doesn’t quite make it. The arguments against war are deep and convicted. The discussion for it are shallow and hollow and trite ring of sound bites for anybody who’s been there.

His loud proclamations such as “Waring for peace is like fucking for chastity” were only meant to inflame and influence with nary a speck of intellectual capital. Reality in the world is that in many cases, a responder acts to deter aggressive atrocities and thus is the genesis of a war. An honest analogy would be “Waring for peace is like when a police officer stops a rape.” C’mon Donnie.. be honest with your audience. This passage is when you lost credibility for me.

I guess I came away with a question and an observation. After all the dichotomous fabrications were finished on stage, I wanted to say simply, “Okay. It’s bad. What’s the alternative?” I avoid people who only speak against something without providing a viable alternative. Thus is the mind of someone below the age of 35 which hasn’t been responsible to manage realities of conflict.

Secondly, in the staging and production, many particulars were intentionally avoided. Mather made this clear during the talk-back. No dates. No names. No events. Just conflict and war in general. However, when the ache and ugliness of war are in the particulars, it’s disingenuous to dodge them and speak only of generalities. The particulars ARE war. War is nothing else. If you don’t deal with specifics, you’re commenting on something other than war.

The choice to dodge particulars in the performance and discussion reminded me of a narrative from Francis Schaeffer (or was it Josh McDowell?), when he was smothered in discussions of fuzz-ball religions compared to Christianity. The way I remember it, he was confronted with a speaker who claimed all acts by mankind are good and should not evoke bad feelings. After repeated conversations with the speaker that wafted lofty in the generalities, but were devoid of bravery to handle the particulars of the life of mankind, he peacefully poured his cup of coffee over the head of the speaker. Of course the speaker justifiably gasped and was offended. And had nothing more to say in defense of his theories.

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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