Upon reading Bob Mondello’s puzzling review of my play The Magic Fire (11/20), several thoughts came to mind. That Mr. Mondello’s dramaturgy is as desperate as his politics is sad but obvious. What play did he see? Who on earth were those people he described as characters in the play? And no, the word “disappeared” is not used as a noun in the playthe line is “People don’t just disappear, Rosa.” Spanish speakers have had as much access to that particular verb as Anglophones for centuries now.
That he should have the effrontery to comment on the past regime of a country he knows nothing about that left behind thousands of victims, dead or exiled (Borges, Cortázar, Timmerman, Ocampo for starters), is as irresponsible as it is ultimately foolish. That he would presume knowledge on the economic status of the author’s real family (apparently they are upper-middle-class because they betook their “spineless” selves to the opera and read books!) is so appalling it sounds like a joke.
Yes, Juan Perón was freely elected to office. (Actually, no, it was a mini-coup of sorts, but we’ll let it pass.) So were Mussolini and Hitler and most pseudo-populist demagogues of 20th century fascist regimes, be they the Right or Left. That Perón and his wife enjoyed the support of the working class is also true (although that would be the simplistic statement par excellence). So did Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. To the very end. Unpalatable but true. There is an extensive bibliographyby left-wing intellectuals of unimpeachable probitydescribing the history and fate of the labor movement in Argentina under Perón. I suggest that Mr. Mondello refer himself to them (I would be glad to offer a reading list, although most of it is in Spanish and I doubt he speaks the language) or that he restrict himself to the reviewing of plays. Although it might be a smart idea, next time, to stay awake. I know, it’s hard sometimes, what with all those pesky Neil Simon plays, but [it’s] part of the job. Might I suggest, too, that, as a stylistic ploy, in good journalism mockery and venom are poor substitutes for accuracy.
Los Angeles, Calif.