Der Zuschauer

A Journal of Essays and Reportage on Drama, History, and Literature

Intellectual Life on Cape Cod

with 22 comments

One might wonder if there is an intellectual life on Cape Cod in the sultry summer, or anywhere else in the Northeast Corrider, if one sprawls on the beach all day, looking at beef-cake, hooters, and sushi. Certainly we have seen damn few sunbathers on nudie-beaches whipping through Leszek Kolakowski’s Main Currents of Marxism, or Vol.2 of Isaac Deutscher’s biography of Trotsky, The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky, 1921-1929. Nor do we see them reading Heinrich Heine’s Reisebilder, nor, The Autobiography of William Cobbett.
Should we assume then that intellectual life on Cape Cod consists of no more than the New Yorker and beach-novels, NPR and anemic self-regard? That the hot topics consist of California and gay marriages, Hilary’s thunder-thighs, or Barack’s big ears? Does a nuclear Iran scorch the sands at Wellfleet?
We know it is not everyone’s business to read Jonathan Israel’s Enlightenment Contested, or J.G.A. Pocock’s Vol 3 of Barbarism and Religion, but someone has to. It can’t all be about abs and sexual intercourse “like an overhorsepowered outboard motor on a small, lithe skiff,” yes?
We know there is more of intellectual consequence going on in the Berkshires. Perhaps if we assume that Intellectual Life on Cape Cod is a broad title under which a number of regions and rubrics may fall, we can maintain an intellectual life beyond that of All Things Considered and the Sunday morning talk shows.
As cultural historians we would respectfully like to ask, “Whatever happened to tan-lines?” That, we think is what made butt-naked exciting.

Our best to you,
The Editors

On our recent Gooney Bird World Tour of remote dramaturgical offices, we spent some time in a seedy, fish shack sort of place in Wellfleet Harbour, called Lessing’s, which besides selling oysters, clams, and cheap rum, also serves as the script department for the Cockpit Theatre Company, currently running Raw Bar/Salty Dog. We had heated and raucous discussions about their work, Laurie Anderson, Homeland, and whether one can make art out of politics. One interesting note: the customary two doors for the lavatories had World Historical signs on them. One says, “Lessing was right about the Actresses.” The other says “Lessing was wrong about the Actresses.” You tell us. By the way the hamburgers at Lessing’s are very good. More later comrades.

Talking about getting sand in it, what sane intellectual would eat steamers? Male or female? Little, gross, phallic-looking clams, and always some sand to grind your teeth on. It’s sort of like reading all the bolshie boiler-plate language that makes up so much of contemporary academic prose.
In fact sitting in a Cape Cod tavern sharing banalities and a bucket of steamers can ruin your teeth and your independent spirit. Who’s reading Lacan, Foucault, or The Prison House of Language? If so confess and leave an email. We will bury you.
Do people on your nude beach stand up and shout out: “Okay, can we all agree that there is the sign, and, the signified?” Don’t you just crave a dry martini when some no-neck tenured monster says that? We do. We always have some chilled-down, bone-cold Bombay Saphire in a shaker in our cooler. We give a bolshie collective nod, yes yes yes, “sign and signified.” We gulp down our gin and dive back into Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy.
See you at the beach.

The Editors, Der Zuschauer
A Journal of Drama, History, and Literature

For further commentary on Trotsky in Ulan Blator, and Mongolian Cultural History, please see the page, Grabbe, Here.

Can we say that historiography is a finger snapping item on Cape Cod? Is it so in Bombay? Moscow? Paris? Milan? Well, there are reading groups. See! Well, right, we realize there should be books or periodicals in the below photograph. Historiography does make mistakes. Remember Gotwald’s fur hat being left behind after he had been air-brushed into, well, well, out of history. See Kundera’s Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

Written by herrdramaturg

May 28, 2008 at 7:29 am

22 Responses

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  1. No.


    June 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm

  2. Yes.


    June 7, 2008 at 2:06 pm

  3. Nein.


    June 7, 2008 at 2:06 pm

  4. Het!


    June 7, 2008 at 2:08 pm

  5. Ja, of course.


    June 7, 2008 at 2:09 pm

  6. That is sooo not nice to ask!


    June 7, 2008 at 2:09 pm

  7. Grabbe, Here. I think Lessing right about being able to criticize acting. I myself tend to go out side to have a slash. Why should actresseses even be called anything but actors. Grabbe, here. Later.


    June 7, 2008 at 2:12 pm

  8. Sirs, Yes. No. I don’t mean to equivocate. I will write more later. This Lessing’s you describe seems a bit dire to me. Mrs. Inchbald.

    Elizabeth Inchbald

    June 7, 2008 at 2:14 pm

  9. Listen you Gooney Birds, We appreciate the puff piece for Raw Bar/Salty Dog, but why put up cheese-cake of one of your own dramaturgical staff, when you could of have put in some really buff picture of one our company, male or female. Moshe

    Cockpit Theatre Company

    June 7, 2008 at 2:35 pm

  10. We stand by our sanitary facilities and we our proud of our hamburgers. Grabbe is not supposed to pee in the parking lot behind the dumpster.

    Lessing’s, The Management


    June 7, 2008 at 2:38 pm

  11. Dear Sirs,
    Where are you finding all these hirsute female dramaturgs? Why do you withhold their names? Not Mongolian, I think. Your reportage makes me want to abandon the Wannsee and all these Bierebauch people and go and hang on Martha’s Vineyard. Who is this Martha?
    Also, Wo ist the intellectual substance? Wo ist der Geist?
    Yours with expectations,
    Frau Doktor Detmoldova Zweig

    Detmoldova Zweig

    June 25, 2008 at 6:51 pm

  12. Ja, This page is nice. Salty oysters; is like room temperature vodka. Wo ist der Geist?

    Ekaterina Degot

    July 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    • Ja Ja, Da Da, wo ist this year’s Intellectual Life on Cape Cod?

      Herr Doktor

      June 11, 2009 at 1:20 pm

  13. Gentleman, Are we getting enough done?

    Wombatoid Stemcellus

    July 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm

  14. From beyond the grave, I say to you Lessing was right about the actors, and the actresses come under that heading. Did you know that I directed a production of Jacques la Fataliste for the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge?

    Susan Sontag

    July 18, 2008 at 2:16 pm

  15. My name is Victor Calculus and I am incredibly handsome in an Ayn Rand sort of way. How may I get in touch with some of your dramaturginen? This is very important to me. Please, leave a message for me on the Peruvian highlands; I will see it on my to the the Olympic Games. Victor for Victory.

    Victor Calculus

    July 18, 2008 at 2:21 pm

  16. Why do you peoples publish these ravings from the Ayn Rand squeeze-box Vector Calculus? He is even older than Aynya if she were still alive. You know, it is I Ekaterina Degot.

    Ekaterina Degot

    July 18, 2008 at 2:24 pm

  17. Remember the Best Hamburgers on the Cape are at Lessing’s.


    August 12, 2008 at 11:43 am

  18. My name is Victor not Vector. Tell that Degot woman to go stuff herself.

    Victor Calculus

    August 12, 2008 at 11:44 am

  19. My Dear Vector,
    I do. I do.
    Yours in heat.

    Ekaterina Degot

    August 15, 2008 at 10:38 am

  20. What do you mean…..YOUR planet?

    C.P. Copp

    December 26, 2008 at 10:17 am

  21. Where did we say, “our planet”? And why so surly, sir? Max Klinger

    Max Klinger

    December 27, 2008 at 11:22 am

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