The Millinery Madness

In Tony Kushner’s Homebody\Kabul, The Homebody makes this statement concerning the hats she wants to purchase for a party. She makes a strange statement that uses contrasting words to create and unsettling picture of something we would normally find very aesthetically pleasing:

“the hats are beautiful; relatively inexpensive; sinister if you’ve a mind to see them that way; and sad. As dislocations are. And marvelous, as dislocations are. Always bloody” (Kushner 18).

This quote echoes the idea of the consumerism aspect that is overlooked, yet American supported in Afghanistan. The purpose of this quote is to force us to look at the the concept of U.S. supported travesties going on in the Middle East. Not only is the consumer side of the U.S. involvement affecting these people in negative ways, but it is also ignored. When we look at/use a product such as oil (using up their resources and causing war) or a hat made from sweat-shop labor we only see the product. This passage creates a hybrid of both the beauty and the ugly truth of those products that we take for granted. The “dislocation” that we experience is the ignorance of where and how that product is acquired or produced. As The Homebody says: “And marvelous, as dislocations are”. The illusion or the blissful ignorance that we embrace is wonderful for us, but the other side of that coin is the “blood[iness]” that she mentions as well.

Mahala later makes a statement supporting this idea:

“America buys this, bombs, from Communist Chinese to sell in secret to Taliban through Pakistan. Afghanistan kill the Soviet Union for you, we win the ‘Cold War’ for you, for us not so cold, huh?” (Kushner 83).

The sacrifice that others are paying for the our prosperity is evident in Kushner’s play. He wants us to make the connection between our illusions of positive American history and the negative reality that is on the other side of that for Afghanistan.

Kushner, Tony. Homebody/Kabul. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2002. Print.

Victorian Hats. Digital image. Http://findhatsandcaps.com/. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://findhatsandcaps.com/images/2011/12/Victorian-Hats.jpg&gt;.

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