Mara Wilson Imagines How Armond White Would Review A School Holiday Pageant
You may remember Mara Wilson from such films as "Matilda," "Miracle On 34th Street," and "Mrs. Doubtfire." She's spent the last few years focusing on writing, and it's a good thing for us, because here she imagines how everyone's least favorite film critic would review a school play.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I excerpted this piece without excerpting the entire note that Mara included at the end. In addition to noting that White had not written this himself she wrote, "Additionally, a friend recently pointed out that this was reminiscent of the story Front Row With Thaddeus Bristol. While I love David Sedaris, I do not recall ever reading that particular story, and any similarities are completely unintentional. Sometimes two different people just have a similar idea." Let the record show that Mara acknowledged this prior to the piece's publishing, and I excluded it as I felt the pieces were different enough as to not warrant it. -JP Moore
HOLIDAY ABOMINATIONA REVIEW OF P.S. 134’s “HOLIDAY CELEBRATION”BY ARMOND WHITEThere is only one conclusion that can be made after viewing P.S. 134’s so blandly titled “Holiday Celebration”: Lamentable as it is, I must contest that the nihilism rampant in this paradigm has “trickled down” into the deepest recesses of our elementary schools in a manner that would incite the late Ronald Reagan (a petty fascist, despite an excellent turn in the extraordinary Bedtime for Bonzo) who foolishly and cruelly insisted the spendthrift bourgeoisie’s capricious consumerism would ultimately benefit the proletariat, to writhe in ecstasy.I was assaulted from the moment I walked into P.S. 134’s grounds. The sickeningly pastel posters, most likely recycled from last March’s vomit-inducing Spring Celebration, boasted of the PTA’s Bake Sale flanking the auditorium. Others may cower at the thought of excoriating a supposedly benign association, but I will fearlessly and proudly proclaim that I detest the PTA. The naïve sanguinity that we can effect change by the acquisition of sugared consumptions is reminiscent of the most defeating kind of Menshevik thought. How this antediluvian so-called organization is allowed to continue their fetid pimping of diabetes-inducing, non-refreshing “refreshments” is a testament to the indolence and complacency of liberal thought in today’s education system.Would that the onslaught ended at the entrance. The most disgusting offense of the night was undoubtedly Mrs. Foster’s second grade class’ presentation of a song dubiously titled “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Here we have it: the sophomoric embracement of nihilistic values already underway, a veritable basking in the decay of morality, like swine undulating in their own filth. I bravely stood up to insist that the commemoration of an extramarital osculation is verily the anti-apotheosis of Christmas, but was repeatedly interrupted by one of the swinish, bowl-cutted matrons overseeing the slaughter, “please sit down, sir,” “sir, the children are trying to sing,” and “sir, you’re making a scene.” And we wonder why the youngest generation is running wild on the internet! (More accurately, others wonder. I have always known.)Nearly as offensive was Mr. Costello’s third grade class. While other critics (e.g., Carla Lopez at the P.S. 134 Tiger Times, Roger Ebert) would so ostentatiously and obsequiously lap up the metaphorical cream set out for them by the Christmas industrial complex, I, as a solitary beam of righteousness and clarity, must aver that there was never anything “famous” or remarkable about Rudolph. I suppose someone, perhaps Mr. Costello or her thoughtless peers, thought Jennifer Thompson’s overfetchingly vociferated additions of “like a nightlight!” and “like Columbus!” were “cute.” I maintain that they are the vocal equivalent of pouring salt into an open wound. Her addition that Rudolph will go down in history, “like Columbus” may have been prescient, however: Columbus’ genocidal conquest has much in common with Rudolph’s commercialized trampling of the true spirit of the Nativity.Ms. Gupta’s fifth grade class attempted to forgo the saccharined, excrementous commercialization with a secular carol, but I am afraid their endeavor was no less odious. “Let It Snow?” When so many die of hypothermia? It need not matter, however: the singers have a “fire” that is “so delightful,” and their love to keep them warm (a scandalous image to implant in the minds of children,) and thus the suffering of others matters not. White bourgeois privilege strikes again! I took it upon myself to confront Ms. Gupta about her selection, yet her response was “it’s all in fun.” Fun. Once again, I find I must congratulate myself on being the only human alive aware of the Manichaean struggle between commercialism and quality.By far the only presentation of quality jocundity to be witnessed is Ms. Jefferson’s Kindergarten’s class. The towheaded Christine Lister’s extension of her most diminutive finger into her nasal cavity as the music swelled was topped only by Roland Martin’s choice, in a moment of meta-theatricality, to urinate onstage, subsequent to his repeated cries of “Potty” and “Mommy, I have to go potty” were utterly piquant in the night’s otherwise alternatingly hebetudinous and abhorrent mélange. Martin’s candor and taste for spectacle (not to mention the teal and orange color scheme of his apparel) brings to mind a young Michael Bay, and I wish him the best in shaking the foundations of the bourgeoisie.Note: Armond White did not write this, I did. In real life, I share almost none of this man’s opinions (though Google has informed me that we both love Motown and Scott Pilgrim Versus The World.)
You can read more from Mara on her website.