In this era of neurotic greed and oil groveling, this ill-begat child of the Fear and Loathing years-with only the fading outline of a high-water mark left from the wave of hope that came out of San Francisco in the 1960s-it may be time to go back. Way back.
In 1916, Mark Twain said, "The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
And on Oct. 29, all of San Diego can see Mark Twain talk to God.
Seriously. At Spreckels Theater.
Not really Twain, of course, but Tennessee Webb, a man who looks and talks like the erstwhile author, saying things that the original Greatest American Iconoclast did say and might have said.
Friday's performance is the premier of a 40-city, three-continent gig, says Joe Tropiano, writer of Twain Unplugged, in the 21st Century.
A 14-year San Diegan, Tropiano was originally contacted by Webb, the conceptual author of the show, to give Twain a modern-day makeover.
"An odd name," Tropiano says of Webb, "and an odd guy. But a very cool guy, and a very cool concept."
Out of the collaboration have sprung blasphemies that only the creator of Nigger Jim could really appreciate-Twain doing the moonwalk to Rush's "Tom Sawyer"; Twain taking a cell phone call from Jesus; and Twain running for president as a transcendentalist.
Maybe it's time to look at ourselves through the steely spectacles of Twain's own rancor and cynicism. And true to the spirit of Twain, no person, place or institution will be spared the author's own brand of acerbic wit-American presidents included.
More than 100 years ago, he wrote: "All you need is ignorance and confidence, then success is sure," "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please," and, "It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt."
Quite a sage, that Twain.
Twain will unplug at Spreckels Theatre, 8 p.m. on Oct. 29. $27.50-$37.50. 619-220-8497.