by Jonathan Mandell
The US presidential candidate in It Can’t Happen Here, the prescient 1936 play by Sinclair Lewis, doesn’t childishly insult his rivals nor boast about the size of his penis. He doesn’t deride Mexicans as rapists and women as fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. He doesn’t call for a ban on all Muslims, or explicitly advocate the use of torture and the murder of terrorists’ families.
But Buzz Windrip does encourage violence among his supporters; proclaim “the people sick to death of political chatter…It’s time to act”; promise to “keep our dollars at home and reduce taxes.” And he does declare his intent to “build a wall…” That line got a laugh when actor Michael Sean McGuinness said it as part of the staged reading of the play by the Peccadillo Theater Company one night late last month at the National Arts Club.
He had paused before finishing the line in the script, which reads as a whole: “We intend to build a wall of steel against European dictatorship.”