[Marxism] Mort Sahl
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Tue Apr 27 06:59:54 MDT 2004
NY Times, April 27, 2004
Mort Sahl, Still Simmering After All These Years
By BRUCE WEBER
Mort Sahl was riffing on the military record of President Bush the other
night from the stage at the Village Theater, where he performed many
times in the 1950's and 1960's, when the place was known as the Village
Gate. He could only imagine, he said, the version of the conversation
Mr. Bush had with his daughter Jenna that so many fathers have had with
"What did you do in the war, Daddy?" Mr. Sahl, as Ms. Bush, asked. Then,
assuming a presidential manner, he answered himself:
"I started it."
The choir to which he was preaching guffawed. Not that Mr. Sahl is any
fan of Mr. Bush's presumed opponent, Senator John Kerry, whom he calls a
Social Democrat. That's the political category Mr. Sahl disdainfully
fills with a whole range of self-labeled liberals, from Hollywood to
inside the Beltway to the Upper East Side, who "domestically are
sentimental and internationally are fascists."
"Liberals aren't liberals, not the way Roosevelt and Kennedy used the
term," he said. "Kerry doesn't even want it. I know he hasn't earned it."
Mr. Sahl himself turns 77 in May as an unregenerate skeptic, not so much
a liberal as a radical, a perch that keeps him above the run-of-the-mill
political fray, allowing him, as ever, to lampoon the insensitivity of
Republicans, the smugness of Democrats and the self-interest of all of
them. It's not politics he talks about so much, he says, it's truth;
that's what makes his work abrasive.
"That's what the truth is for," he told the crowd. "It's supposed to be
a high colonic."
Mr. Sahl has been shocking the system for half a century, though for the
past two decades rarely in New York City. (He lives in Los Angeles.)
This trip he'll be performing through Sunday, his first gig here since a
brief stop in 2001.
A challenger of audiences as well as the powerful, a pained citizen, a
romantic, an idealist, he is a complicated guy who resists labeling,
even by himself.
"I work as a disturber," he said after the show in a dressing room
interview in which he also referred to himself as a populist, a Puritan
and a dreamer.
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