As Tony Kushner has shown throughout his career, he’s one of those self-hating lefties whose artistic ability is crippled by self-loathing and rage against conservatives. His creative adrenaline is all arsenic. In “Angels in America,” there is an awful, protracted scene in which the dying Roy Cohn is visited by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, who rails at Cohn and mocks him in his last moments on earth. “I came to forgive,” she says. “But all I can do it take pleasure in your misery.” (For liberals, not even death is beyond the reach of politics.) Cohn had worked with Senator Joe McCarthy to prosecute communists in the government, and the two biggest fish they caught were spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. For years the left insisted that the Rosenbergs were innocent, until the Soviet Venona cables were declassified in 1995 and it was revealed that Julius was indeed a spy who had passed vital national security information to the Soviets, much more than originally thought, and that Ethel was at least an accomplice. Kushner’s “Angels in America” was first mounted in 1991, so the hospital scene in it now appears naive and ridiculous. Or rather, more naive and ridiculous.
Kushner, like most liberal fanatics, is a preacher and a zealot. His form of liberalism, like so much liberalism today, is coercive. He won’t be able to stop himself until he has Lincoln in bed with another man and is able to convince the audience that Lincoln’s marriage to Mary Todd Lincoln was a betrayal of his real self and a duet to the virtually Stone Age morality of the 1860s. It will be another version of the hetero-domestic hell of dippy women and screaming toddlers in “Brokeback Mountain.” There will be plenty of other ham-fisted political messaging. We’ll see the ghoulish, toothless redneck Southerners, who will be the Nazis of the film and the stand-ins for the modern GOP. There will be the saintly slaves, whose beatings and misery will be graphic and reinforce our guilt over Evil America. There will be breathtaking battle scenes thanks to Spielberg. And above it all, the first and greatest gay progressive to occupy the White House, Honest Abe. The movie that portrays Lincoln as a vampire hunter will be more accurate, and I’m not kidding.
Mark Judge is the author of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.