• August 24, 1951 to February 26, 2021


    Rest in Peace, Bill














    • bio

      BILL C. Davis is the author of MASS APPEAL – play and screenplay. MASS APPEAL premiered at Manhattan Theater Club and moved to Broadway. The play has been translated and performed around the world. As an actor he has performed the role of Mark Dolson with Milo O'Shea, Brian Keith and Charles Durning.

      His play DANCING IN THE END-ZONE premiered at the Coconut Grove Playhouse directed by Jose Ferrer and opened on Broadway the following year. It has been translated to French (Ligne Offensive) and is being readied for a Paris production under the direction of Mathilda May.

      He performed in his play WRESTLERS at the Cast Theater in Los Angeles where it was Critic's Choice LA Times and then moved to the Hudson Guild Theater in New York City. 

      His play SPINE premiered at the Cast Theater and was produced at The George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick NJ, in both cases under his direction. SPINE was later presented at The Barrow Group Theater in New York City.

      His play AVOW premiered at The George Street Playhouse and then moved to off-Broadway. The play's French translation, (Les Voeux du coeur) opened in Paris in 2015 and toured through France and Belgium in 2016.

      He directed his play COMING2TERMS at the Vineyard Playhouse in Martha's Vineyard in 2011. French translation and title – (Le Cocktail Humain) THE HUMAN COCKTAIL. 

      He also directed a workshop production of his play EXPATRIATE at Manhattan Theater Source.

      EXPATRIATE was translated to Czech and the play had its world premiere in Prague, November 2017 at Reznicka Theater where along with MASS APPEAL is running in repertory.

      His short story, FAMILY MEETING, was published by Dutton in a collection of short stories called “Dude.”

      BILL C. Davis has been artist in residence at Brooklyn College and at his alma mater Marist College. He was playwright mentor at Carnegie Mellon University.

      As well as adapting his play MASS APPEAL for a feature film, he wrote a teleplay for CBS television and Robert Greenwald Productions – “The Secret Path.”

      His most recent plays – THE GERMAN DOCTOR and CONCIERGE are being readied for production in Prague for the former and Paris for the latter.

      BILL C. Davis formed a production Company in 2015 – Harry Banks Productions. He has produced, written and directed two films under the banner of that production company – HOUSEHOLD ACCOUNTS – which received the award for best feature film and best writing for a film at Buffalo-Niagara International Film Festival in September 2017 – and he has just completed his film adaptation of AVOW, in August 2017.

      In the past several years he has been developing two musicals – VILLAGE RITES and OPEN FOR ME.

      While in Paris this past April (2018) he completed his newest play, SIP (Shelter In Place). 



      On posters I often see the last name of everyone involved - author, director, actors - printed in capital letters. I'm sure it's because last names are often more rare than first names. It also seems to honor the legacy of the ancestors who came before. I however don't feel a good deal of honor toward the name - "Davis." It is the name my father's father chose out of a phone book when he realized at the age of 20 that the name,"Gliserman," somehow disqualified him from decent employment in Boston in the early 20th century in America.

      The legacy of that name, which is shared by so many for so many reasons, has for me a note of capitulation about it. It's a conspiracy of cowardice, expediency, prejudice and Bell Telephone. He must have looked for the most populated name in the phone book and grabbed that one. The irony of this is that his doctor brother kept the name Gliserman and converted to Catholicism when he married his Scottish wife. Mr. Davis/Gliserman married an Irish woman and that marriage lasted not much past my father's second birthday. What did remain with him was that name with no lineage; with no chance to form a prejudgement. "Davis? Oh -you must be..." well - you could be anything. There's Bette; Sammy; Jefferson - more recently - Geena; Hope; Lanni; Angela.

      Out of this American gene swirl of Irish, Italian (my mother), and Russian-Jewish, the name printed on my birth certificate is - William Clarke Davis. Clarke was the maiden name for my Irish great grand-mother. "William" was for the Irish cop uncle to my father who was his stern, reportedly abusive, surrogate father.

      In college I would put on posters and title page for plays I was writing - bill c. davis - all lower case. If I had known about this family name business sooner I might have gone through the legal hoops to have it changed to at least one of the family names - DeNicola - Richardson or Gliserman - but I decided to concoct a name from what was given and now to put the emphasis not on the common last name but on that first abbreviated name of my own construction. - -

      Names like Coppola, Streisand, Schopenhaur, Camus, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner, Gielgud - all names with fiber - and shared by no one. Names like Allen,(Woody, Karen, Marty, Tim) Simon,(Paul, Carly, Neil) and Davis -create a family tree of unrelated and camouflaged folk. So I have asked going forward to have all scripts and publications present my name as -

      BILL C. Davis.

      I'm asking to let BILL C. be the trumpet; fortissimo - and Davis be pianissimo. And I thank all publishers and printers going forward for understanding and honoring this request.




      © Copyright 2016 by Bill C. Davis.

  • works




    • Translators for BILL C. Davis


      Eric Figueroa Acosta

      French translator

      THE HUMAN COCKTAIL (Le Cocktail Humain)

      DANCING IN THE END ZONE (Ligne Offensive)




      Dominique Hollier

      French translator

      AVOW (Les Voeux du Coeur)

      THE SEX KING (Der Sex König)

      CONCIERGE (Le Concierge) 



      Davy Sardou

      French translator



      Alain Malraux

      French translator

      EXPATRIATE (Expatrie)


      Felix Everding

      German translator

      MASS APPEAL (Und Mit Der Geist)

      THE SEX KING (Der Sexkönig)

      THE HUMAN COCKTAIL (Der Menschliche Cocktail)


      Alexander Jerie

      Czech translator

      MASS APPEAL (Odvolani)

      EXPATRIATE (Uteky)

      Josef Guruncz

      Czech translator

      THE HUMAN COCKTAIL (Lidský koktejl)

    • Actors Who Have Performed in Works by Bill C. Davis:


















































    • All Hallowed


      "We're in a cemetery - don't talk about Halloween in a cemetery. All the dead bodies will come to life and surround you and spit at you."

      All Hallowed

      Mid 1990's, a world war II vet and father of three is buried on Halloween. At the following reception hosted by his best friend,  the vet's youngest grandchild is determined to go trick-or-treating, as his three adult children struggle with each other and with decisions about their mother whom they hope is not losing her mind.

      Seven characters:

      Stephen – 40's, divorced, middle child, smart and sensitive 

      Alex – 50, his older brother, remote, competitive 

      Cindy – 40's, sister, scrappy, mother of two, on the verge of divorce 

      Marie – 70's, their mother, grief-stricken and befuddled 

      Dennis – 70's, family friend and the kindest man 

      Justin – 10, determined, resourceful 

      Travis –14, Justin's brother, smokes dope, cynical and questioning


      two acts

      one intermission 

    • Concierge

    • Avow


      "That's why the vow is there. It's the constant that everything else has to adjust to. Don't adjust the vow to fit the changes. That's madness."


      Two young men ask their progressive parish priest to marry them. His refusal sets into motion intersecting emotional and spiritual journeys that test the structure of romance, sexuality, faith and family. Present day.

      Seven characters:

      Brian – 32, smart, handsome, ready

      Tom – 30, pensive, attractive

      Irene – 34, Brian's sister, sharp, artistic

      Fr. Raymond – 40's, charismatic, warm

      Rose – 60's, Brian and Irene's devout mother

      Fr. Nash – 60's, wise, ironic

      Julie – 70, salt of the earth


      two acts

      one intermission

      Dramatist Play Service

      (revised copy available)


    • Dancing in the End-Zone


      "'Where is it?" I laughed and he got so mad, because he really wanted to know where that good time was. But he looked so funny. His hair was full of leaf-chips, he had acorns in his pockets and flower-petals in the cuffs of his pants."

      Dancing in the End-Zone

      Star college quarterback is given drugs by his coach; is controlled by his adoptive mother and is being used by his tutor even as they share a mutual attraction. Recent past.

      Four characters:

      James – 22, an innocent aiming to please everyone as he looks for love everywhere

      Coach Biehn – 40's, a trim, hyper kinetic force using whatever he has to for a winning season

      Madeleine – 60's, confined to a wheelchair, possible hysterical paralysis, adores her son and will do anything to protect him except stop trying to protect him

      Jan – 27, attractive, sexy even, looking to change the world


      two acts

      one intermission

      Samuel French

      (revised copy available)


    • Expatriate


      "It's not fair or smart to think that Ireland is the place for your beautiful future. Your future is here - in America."


      The great-grandson of an Irish immigrant decides after election 2004 that he wants to “return” to Ireland. The daughter of this Irish immigrant runs away from home after a disastrous Thanksgiving and goes to her grandson's house for his consolation and to reveal family secrets. Instead she discovers packed boxes. Meanwhile her son – the expatriate's father - follows her to bring her home to the husband she wants to divorce.  

      Three characters:

      Kemper – 34, handsome, strong, ethical, practical and poetic

      Muddy – 79, vulnerable, emotional, on the verge of tears often but recovers quickly, a real lover

      Kenneth  56, strong, successful working class guy, veteran, confrontational, emotionally wounded, caring


      90 minutes

      no intermission

    • The German Doctor



      "Seeing what we've seen it's hard to think of human beings as lovable. But they are. Loving them will make them so."

      The German Doctor


      Four characters:

      Axel –  grandson of WWII German doctor

      Brent – son of American WWII vet

      Amy – Brent's sister

      Liz – Brent's daughter

    • Household Accounts


      "All the way here in the car I was dying to ask you this but....I thought I'd give you time to at least adjust to the temperature change."

      Household Accounts

      Edmond buys a new house to begin anew with his wife after he indulged in a brief infidelity. His nephew, the son of his deceased sister for whom he still grieves, arrives after being kicked out of the house where he was staying with his girlfriend and her Christian parents when it is discovered that she is pregnant. Edmond summons the girlfriend north to convince her not to have the baby. Her mother follows her to make sure she does. Present day.

      Five characters:


      Joy – his estranged wife

      Alan – his nephew, late teens, son of his deceased sister

      Caitlin – late teens, Alan's pregnant girlfriend

      Barbara – Caitlin's Fundamentalist Christian mother


      two acts

      one intermission

    • The Human Cocktail


      "You think having a baby is like walking barefoot into the bright unknown of the day?"

      The Human Cocktail

      Two high school friends – two decades later – she, now living with another woman and he, divorced and single. He carries romantic feelings for her – he is her best friend – they meet once a month to get her pregnant. Present day. 

      Two characters:

      Jeremy – good-looking, smart, responsible, always on the verge of giving up on love

      Sara – supportive, fast, just neurotic enough to be lovable, very attractive without pushing it


      90 minutes

      no intermission

    • Open For Me



      Open For Me


      book and lyrics – Bill C. Davis

      music – Scott Perkins

      Preview the song, Anthem, from Open for Me in this music video: Anthem 

      Six characters


      two acts


    • Mass Appeal


      "And I wanted the kind of ears that could hear what they were screaming about because I wanted to save them"

      Mass Appeal

      A passionate and rebellious seminarian is placed under the tutelage of a sly and approval seeking priest who is as lonely as he is popular. Present day.

      Two characters:

      Fr. Farley – 50 to 70, charms you as he warns you against  being charmed, witty, scared, vulnerable

      Mark – 24 to 30, sexy, direct, innocent in his confrontations, isolated by his devotion to his sense of truth


      two acts

      one intermission

      Dramatist Play Service

      (revised copy available)

    • The Sex King


      "I spent a little time in prison and the hardest part was being away from Louise. Lying in bed without your lover, when you have a lover - well that's hell - pure hell."

      The Sex King

      1998 - In the tony hills of Connecticut a man claiming to be running an escort service is on trial for prostitution. He chooses one young female reporter to state his case to in the hopes this will help win his freedom.

      Two characters:

      Jeremiah – mid 60's, iconoclastic, smart, witty, political, living with a younger woman, forges intimacy by being provocative

      Maureen – early 30's, smart, innocent, idealistic and trusting, married to an older man, does her best not to be intimidated


      two acts

      one intermission

    • SIP

    • Spine


      "Whenever you want to go somewhere that's where we always go.  And I wished something awful -  I said to myself, "I wish he'd hurry up and..."
       I was wrong - I know I was....and I didn't think it long."


      A night in Connecticut in winter – a family home – the last night of the youngest family member's life. Brother, sister and father hide in their rooms as his mother tries to get them out to say good-bye to him. Present day.

      Five characters:

      Lois – 42, high school prettiness, running on odd, borrowed energy

      Mike Sr.  42, airline pilot, everything must be perfect, on the verge of bursting

      Mike Jr. – 17, pierced ear, in love, in pain and wants out of the house

      Claire – 13, athletic, loves her horse, torments her older brother, tries to take over tasks in the house

      Dr. Maru – late 30's, Indian doctor, intrigued by this family and protective of Lois


      90 minutes

      no intermission

    • Village Rites



      Village Rites


      book and lyrics   Bill C. Davis

      music – Brett Boles


      Thirteen characters


      two acts


    • Visiting Day


      "When I had to identify them, I remember a lot of ice cream and paint on them. I don't remember the blood."

      Visiting Day


      It's visiting day at The Gaylordsville Accommodation for Retired Guests. One resident decides to paint the side porch that day and enlists the aid of his two friends and two neighborhood children much to the chagrin of the woman in charge, the distress of visiting adult children and enraging one of the children's parents. Deep secrets unfold as the day progresses. Present day.

      Seven characters:

      Jess – 80, sterling, competent, holding reservoirs of pain and secrets but ready to begin again

      Ralph – 80's, tidy, distressed, obsessed with his two children, new devoted friend to Jess

      Neville – 80's, rounds out the trio, African-American, knits, accepts his current lot and enjoys his new friendships

      Blaire – 7, sassy, positive girl ready to help Jess paint the porch

      Ian – 10, shy, smart, abused and neglected neighbor, devoted to Jess, an expert with road maps

      Doris – 47, distressed daughter to Ralph, visits out of guilt and duty, details of living is her defense

      Roslyn - 50's - In charge of the accommodation - a harried dynamo  of efficient warmth and buried fears.


      100 minutes

      no intermission


    • Wrestlers


      "If you and Angie haven’t had a moment’s peace since that scene at the train station, that’s your problem. I’m not giving you absolution or a discussion."


      Two brothers meet on stage. After a year of silence between the two of them the younger brother tries to convince the older brother to talk to him and resolve a conflict that has festered after they both became involved with the same woman.

      Three characters:

      Monty – late 20's, athletic, lithe, quick, romantic, vulnerable

      Bobby – early 30's, shorter than Monty, formal, well-organized, repressed, guilty

      Angie – mid 20's, Italian, forceful, volatile, maternal, ready to be wed


      90 minutes

      no intermission

      Dramatist Play Service

      (revised copy available)

  •   news




     December 2017: Filming for Avow motion picture complete


    Link to Harry Banks Productions 





  • how BILL C.'s it


    BILL C.'s archived essays

    • An Alternate National Food Mandate

      Here is my National Mandate. Close all fast food chains. Put orange cone road blocks on all Dunkin' Donuts drive thrus. Ban the sale of Coke and Pepsi. The war was not between those two Colas, it was a war against the human body.

      The masks mask the elephant in the room. No human being can make a potent immune system with a diet of processed food and sugar. This promiscuous virus seems to have a field day with the the obese and the immune compromised.  The national and world wide addiction to sugar presents a feeding frenzy for a virus which, like all viruses, feed on sugar. Where are the scientists and leaders who can guide the populations of the world to actually combat the virus by starving it and also by strengthening its targets? We are told to behave like boxers in a corner with our gloves up to our face as we are pummeled.

      We need to resuscitate the slogan Resist and put it at the center of our actual physical bodies. The Thymus gland makes T-cells. Thymus is a Greek word for courage and anger; two strong words that will strengthen resistance.

      Ireland determined recently that the rolls produced by the fast food chain Subway has too much sugar in it to be called bread. This just begins to tell the tale. Biden, Fauci and the posse of "experts" say nothing about what evolution and nature has made clear - T-cells are our Personal Protective Device. You cannot make powerful T-cells from a Big Mac, fries and Coke or a cream filled, white flour doughnut. A virus can present itself to a human body and a human body armed with healthy T-cells will most likely evict it quickly and not give it a chance to colonize and inflame. The primary exhortation from the top should be about about this aspect of human health.

      Government guidance and a support stipend is the best path forward. Like Victory gardens during WWII there ought to be individual citizen project of cultivating potent health as the wall of resistance to this virus which, like a predator, will pick out the weak targets in a herd.

      I can't speak for the rest of the world but America seems to have a romance with disease. Cable stations exist to sell drugs and as they do, they romanticize disease. The wistful looks of the stricken, the sentimental music, the loving looks of spouse and family on the patient all work to make the disease seem to be a pathway to love and enlightenment and the patented drug you must take forever will keep you alive long enough to bask in this glow.  Hopefully one day we will look at these commercials the way we look at doctor recommended cigarette ads from the 1950's we now watch on Youtube with horror and macabre amusement.

      In the case of Covid we are presented with numbers and charts and interviews with beleaguered hospital workers. Experts tell us what they know and what they don't know both ending up by the end of the interview to be useless. By omission or myopia these experts seem to be saying to all of us is,  "Eat any junk you want and live any way you care to but wear a mask and wash your hands and stay six feet apart." This has always had the echo of six feet under - a distance that has the hint of death to it.

      The ultimate infantilizing of the citizenry - mask, wash up and go to your room. Not to say that these prescriptions don't have a place at this moment but to me, if this is all you've got, it smacks of impotence and surrender and a serious abdication.

      Driving here in Connecticut in the morning I will pass a line at the drive thru at Dunkin' Donuts - 20  cars long. Burger King will do "no contact delivery." It's not the contact that's the real or only risk factor it's what is being delivered. Processed, sugar laced food is like sludge in a human body and a human body can only make new cells with what it is being given. The revolution does indeed start in the kitchen.

      Until the feckless and myopic experts begin to take this point as seriously as they do the mask instruction, no matter how much obedience they are able to influence, we will continue to have more spikes than the shoe franchise at a Trump golf course.


    • MANIFESTO 2020

      This is not how we’re supposed to live. We are meant to shake hands, embrace, laugh out loud together. I see no charm in zoom, or Skype workouts or in creative, colorful masks - it’s like turning shackles into charm bracelets. I think of how children look for smiles on the faces of adults. These hoards of masked faces is a kind of psychological massacre for children.

      From the minute we're born this culture tells us how weak and helpless we are. There is a steady campaign to make sure we are acutely aware of how lacking we are in every way. All remedies and fixes must be an external consumer product. But first - you need to be convinced that you are nothing without what we have to offer.

      Now in the height of summer 2020 and after five months of steady mesmerizing from the airwaves I find myself saying STOP! to every expert – from Fauci to Sanjay to whomever they pull from a University or a pharmaceutical company. I see the numbers as if they’re some kind of insipid visual confetti. Where and how do they get these numbers flashng at us like the national debt, or dow jones or the score of a football game.

      I left Paris on Friday March 13, 2020 arriving in the US just as the drawbridge between the castle of Europe and the skyscraper of America over the moat of the Atlantic was being pulled up. I had spent almost two months in the city of lights. I also made my first trip to Madrid, where I stayed for five days at the end of this leap year’s February, traveling back to Paris on the rare date of February 29.

      This time frame in retrospect is interesting; mysterious; like invisible barbed wire in the memory. From the end of January to the middle of March while I was in Europe reports of the pandemic grew. News of the first Covid-19 case arriving in Paris came at the same time as the metro strikes had ceased but protests against adjusting pensions were still almost a daily occurrence. I went to observe one “manifestation” at the Place de Concord on 1/24/20, and I was carried along by the crowd like a branch in a river. Every street to a metro station was blocked by calendar-worthy gendarmes dressed in Gaultier inspired riot gear.

      After 40 days of misery for Paris commuters, as well as for businesses, hotels, theatres, there seemed to be a ray of hope now that the amazing Paris metro system was back. Little did they or I know what was coming.

      Whenever I travel I load up on Astragalus, Reishi, ashwaganda, manuka honey and all immune bolstering herbs and tinctures. I stay away from all sugar and white flour and avoid dairy and anything that even hints at being processed. I assume all planes are petri dishes of viruses and bacteria but my philosophy has been, I’ll take ‘em on if I give myself what I need to fight. And in a decade of traveling back and forth to Europe that has kept me in fine form and good health.

      And after being on two continents during the winter, spring and summer of 2020, it is still the case.

      A new translation of one of my plays opened in Paris on February 20. The title the French producer chose for Davy Sardou’s translation is – TRANSMISSION. The play, the actors and the new translation received a great reception from audience and critics. At the same time rumblings of the virus were daily news. One critic, paraphrasing now, wrote - “this is not about transmission of a virus but transmission of courage, wisdom and love from each to the other.”

      My apartment in Paris was next to a restaurant I passed every day and where I chose to meet with translators and actors to discuss future and present projects. While talk of the virus was falling on the city like a fog, the waiters there would see me pass – Kevin and Ben to name two – and they would come to the street and greet me with an embrace. And a hand shake. Interesting I thought then, but I never felt fear.

      On the train to Madrid on February 24 the scent of hand sanitizers filled the air but masks had not yet germinated over the smiles of strangers. My agent in Madrid had a handsome cousin who spoke five languages and had just arrived from Berlin film festival with a sore throat. At the time that was not thought to be a symptom of anything except inhaling too much exhaust. No one was worried and we all went out for a brilliant night in Madrid.

      The next day I explored and found myself on Calle del Amor de Dios (Street of the love of God) and I was thrilled to find a macrobiotic store WITH a restaurant attached. I bought some Astragalus powder in the store and spoke with the owner who told me a macrobiotic lunch would begin serving in an hour. I told him I would return. As I had my hand on the door to leave I asked his name. He said, Jesus. I said, what? He said, Jesus.

      I did return and the lunch was – dare I say – divine. Even the way it was presented on on the plate told you this food matters – to the chef and now to you. During my days in Madrid I found more vegetarian spots in between visits to equally nourishing museums.

      Back in Paris I noticed women pulling their sleeves down to lift the knobs that opened the doors to the metro cars. A few scarves were being pulled up over the mouth and nose but still, for the most part, the people of Paris were full-faced. I met with cast and director of another play of mine being prepared for production. We huddled together for pictures and bemoaned the fact that ticket sales for all productions in Paris were down. We ate good food and enthusiasm for a production remained high even as we felt an invisible something atomizing on the streets and avenues. It wasn’t the virus, it was the creeping energy around the virus that had me somewhat crouched and ready to be in my own house.

      I was booked to leave Paris March 20th but on March 11th the announcement came that the US would be closed to planes coming from Europe. I was hastily booked then for Friday the 13th – of course at no added charge. After a sleepless night filled with scenarios of gates closing in my face and planes grounded I was at the lounge at Orly airport. There I met my French agent’s daughter who was on the same flight. She told me all plays in Paris have been closed. I received a text from a friend who was about to open on Broadway in a week. “As I type this all shows on Broadway have been shut down until further notice.” It was Friday the 13th in many ways.

      It was a smooth flight back to America but the internal turbulence was steady. "What if they try to test me – take my temperature – pull me aside and put me in a hotel in Newark for 2 weeks?" I had global entry – was that still working? In reality it was the easiest re-entry ever – the plane had 30 passengers on it and the kiosks at global entry were even “no touch.” The Uber driver was there on time – but I worried if he was worried. On the radio as we drove it said all arrivals from Europe must self-quarantine for 2 weeks. In The back seat of his car I began to feel like a leper.

      It used to be fun to say, “I just got back from Paris.” I was not so ready to say that upon my return. I went to my health food store right away to get supplies and new tinctures. The owner, happy to see me and knowing I had just got back from Paris – hugged me. She had different philosophies about health and viruses.

      Self quarantining was a breeze. I went into my steam room immediately. I prepared the garden in the back and I exercised every day and I felt great. I settled in as the new parameters set up their constructs around me.

      I shook hands with a stranger who became a friend on May 5 – we’re fine. Workers came to the house - I shook hands with two. We’re fine.

      As we are hectored hourly about masks, I have a different tack we might consider taking. Mask if you must but rather than staring down a mask-free person it’s time to shift our disgruntled gaze to the people queuing up for McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Dunkin’ Donuts. Yes - these are the co-conspirators in this pandemic. The Coke-chugging, sugar inhaling masses who sip by sip and mouthful by mouthful destroy the collective immunity that would repel any virus.

      You cannot have a vital immune system if you are constantly feeding your body non-food. You can’t make powerful T-cells with a Big Mac, a Whopper or pepperoni pizza or a six-pack of Coca Cola. When the experts refer to immuno compromised that is most of us after decades of over a billion served.

      Of course it is not only what we belly up to the drive thru to shove down our gullets, but also what is micro-waved in a flash at home filled with lab ingredients. The American way of eating is the viral phenomenon that has preceded and laid the groundwork for the ability of this virus to lock us down. Blind to the guts of the matter every voice coming at us from the top tells us to cover up and presume you and everyone you see is host to a virus that you are too weak to check.

      To assume that everybody can eat whatever they crave or whatever they have been addicted to and that a simple shot in the arm two years from now will make everything fine is insanity. The global obesity epidemic has surely preceded this pandemic. Simple research we can all do will reveal where our actual, livable Personal Protective Equipment resides. It is not donned, it must be fed, nourished, revered and respected at the center of our bodies. If not fed, revered, respected or nourished then wrap yourself in latex and wait for any virus to get bored and move on.

      To eat the way we’ve been eating has been the height of irresponsibility not just to one’s own personal health, but it is now borderline criminal to ignore how each of us is a link in a chain of communal immunity which ideally would deny permission for a virus to make any progress in a population.

      So anyone not wearing a mask will not get a look of disdain from me. The aforementioned chains must be called out for what they have done to our chain of collective immunity. The citizen-consumers of their products who corrupt themselves and also corrupt what we now can call, the national/global organism, should also be called out. It is no longer - “Look what you’re doing to yourself.” It can be said now, "look what you’re doing to us."

      They hex and hypnotize us with wild numbers and this floating image of a spoke-filled floating orb. And all they say is mask up and clean your hands with sanitizer. I see the lawsuits in 5 months from people who have lung infections and lung cancer from inhaling fibers and chemicals from masks. Stories on toxic chemicals in hand sanitizers already coming to the fore. It seems America has a romance with disease. The Pharmaceutical companies are the cupids making the right match between human being and the right disease that requires a daily medication or an injection.

      Hippocrates said it - but you won’t hear it from Fauci or the CDC - (which ought to be renamed The Centre for Health and Wellness) - “Let food be your medicine - let your medicine be food.”If the government needs to chip in so Americans can get THAT medicine then that’s what they should do.

      The T-cells - the fighter cells - are the key and they are produced in the Thymus gland – thymus is a Greek word which I’ve heard translated as courage – and also, anger. Both are needed at this moment in and for our lives.

      Video Link

    • The Veil is Lifted - Again

      The Veil Is lifted – Again



      MARCH 10, 2016


      It's pretty grotesque. It's not so much him – his pathology is what it is and has been rewarded in the country which he says is not great; the country he now wants to pay back for being so good to him and terrible to everyone else. The people who vote for him believe him. Who are these people who vote for him?


      Half of America is on some kind of psychotropic medication or insulin. Americans are trained, urged to be addicts. Americans are not addicts waiting for the next fix, they are addicts waiting for the next addiction. They listen to ads for drugs that play pretty music as horrible side effects are ticked off.  Ads that sell the disease before they can sell the drug. In the case of Donald Trump, he is both the disease and the advertised drug.


      Symptoms - He repeats – he cannot construct a sentence – just disjointed riffs. He says he is what he is not - a unifier, flexible, smart, fair - and thinks by saying it, he will convince the mesmerized as he mesmerizes them. And because he is a billionaire what he tells you to believe takes precedence over all evidence to the contrary. He is the logical conclusion of an ethos that has worked for him and compromised everyone else. He is a brand without a brain. Or without a developed brain.


      He works from the lower portions of the brain. It's easy really. He just does it loud and from a base of money.  He is, as billed, a billionaire. That is the benediction on all dementia, and let's not dodge the fact that mooring the sense of yourself on the fact you're a billionaire is demented.  It's a state of dementia that his voters lust after and voting for him is the same as buying a lottery ticket.


      What kind of man takes pleasure and profit from telling another human being on camera for millions to see – “you're fired.” What kind of human being participates in this ritual of humiliation. The kind of human being who will vote for him. It is pornographic and certainly not biblical. But that doesn't bother The Evangelicals, as he refers to them.


      For Trump “The” is the modifier for blocks of human beings  – The Mexicans – The Chinese – –The Muslims -  The women.


      The Women. What does he think of women? He said that Obama “schlonged” Hillary in 2008. It was quick when he said it – but it framed what he knows about the people who will vote for him. Anybody who can be fucked should not be in power. He may or may not actually think that, but enough Americans may think that, so he'll slip in that graphic.


      Mitt would drop to his knees for an endorsement. He knows what picture he was sending. It was his way of calling Mitt a “woman” because he would have given him a blow job for an endorsement. He repeated the ultimate accusation from a woman in his  audience in reference to his opponent objecting to water-boarding. “He's a pussy.” The obscenity is only that it is a political liability to be a pussy. It means weak. Receptive is not powerful. Presidents must be powerful and murderous when “necessary.” Pussies cannot be presidents. This is the demented and cunning subliminal assault against sanity, smart governance and women.


      Hillary Clinton is a very smart and accomplished woman. Both she and her husband have been looked upon by the elite and by the citizenry who would vote for Trump, and most likely by Trump himself, as uppity white trash. That's how Barbara Bush and her ilk must have looked at them as her husband went down in defeat to these hillbillies. Uppity white trash stepping out of their class by virtue of incredible intelligence and determination.


      At the Yale Club in NYC are huge portraits of Yale Grads who became presidents. There is one of George W. Bush and one of Bill Clinton. George W. is a war criminal who joked that the first thing he would do as president is to give the oval office a good scrubbing.  The implication was clear – white trash out and “to the manor born” in. Yale by virtue of birth versus Yale by virtue of IQ and hard work. Sex in the oval office, dirty. War, oh well. The stains that Bush has left in the oval office can never be scrubbed out.


      Trump is lifting the veil again – just as George W. did. Much of the American electorate are eminently dupable and drugged. Easy to stampede. There is a scene in Far From The Madding Crowd that illustrates Trump and his voters. In the quiet of night one of Gabriel Oak's border Collies out of some deranged internal programming that could not shut off,  began to herd Gabriel's flock of sheep. The dog, unable to stop yapping at the hooves of the flock, and the sheep, unable to resist, were led to the disaster of the entire flock hurling themselves over a cliff. Gabriel runs out with a gun to see what the commotion is and sees the horrible sight of his entire flock dead on the beach. Trump is that mad dog – driven by some unknown psychosis – ego, narcissism? (What sort of person refers to himself in the third person?) When you hear him at rallies shouting “Out! Get him out! Out!” he sounds like the yapping border collie.


      Being a billionaire does not mean you are smart, or superior. It could mean a lot of things, but intelligent, human, decent, empathic, socially conscious are not at all guaranteed by a bulging bank account or a bloated set of financials. What it means is that he is the envy of all American dreamers. Your own plane with your name on it – a gorgeous third wife – and money to burn – he knows what he is doing, for himself.


      There are two online fans of Trump - very funny sisters who end their wild defense of their savior by warning the viewers and Trump's critics - “Don't get it twisted.” Too late – it already is. And the twist is tightening.



      It's good he has brought the toxins to the surface. He is the boil that houses the worst in American sensibilities. It is up the the rest of the voting public to lance the boil. I hope he is nominated and that he campaigns like a parade float full of bad air. Let it get burst for everyone to see.

    • Open Letter to Pope Francis - 2015

      To: Pope Francis

      From: Bill C. Davis



      Dear Pope Francis-

      I was amazed no one elected to the throne of Peter before you had thought to take the name of the most beloved saint in the church. And he's been beloved for centuries. There has been ample opportunity. Perhaps what St. Francis embodied was irreconcilable with what the Vatican had become over the years. Your choice of that name was the initial salve you brought to the gilded reality of your seat.


      We've all been inspired and roused by some of your observations and spontaneous comments. Bringing the church back to the root of Christ is not an easy course. But you're doing....all right. A few suggestions though.


      The spanking comment. No. You can't spank a child and be concerned with their dignity at the same time. You reduce the child to a creature – a house pet. So, a bit disconcerted and saddened by that comment. But what you said about breast feeding – great. A beautiful thing for you to comment on. To allow and embrace – and to breast feed in public – is wonderful. Good of you to make a point of it.


      Now – although you said, who am I to judge in relationship to homosexual persons, I want you to go in a slightly different direction. I believe you said that on an airplane in response to a question. I also think you were implying that this struggle, which is how I think you perceive this condition, is something to be honored. You feel the struggle is to be honored – not the reality or practice, which, perhaps by virtue of your position, you do judge. For some reason expanding the erotic experience to people of the same sex has a sting of immorality. But I think – and I'm not judging you for not talking about this, that on the other end of the spectrum, boxing, MMA, American football present a stronger moral problem than erotic expressions do.


      Look closely – two men entering a cage and pounding each other into bloody submission or unconsciousness is accepted – legal – profitable – watched by millions. Boxing – the same – but in a ring, and the objective: knock the other guy out – scramble his brains – and give the viewing audience a good show that gets their hearts pumping and satisfies their romance with violence. Perhaps on a lesser level American football does the same – not as horrific to be sure, but ritualized and padded with echoes of military all around the pumped up spectacle.


      Now – really – my dear Francis - you have to say something about this. You really have to. On a scale of Christ-like humanity, two men kissing, making each other feel good as opposed to two men inflicting pain, injury, humiliation on each other, for money and recruiting those dark impulses in all those who watch, which would you say is immoral? I know what St. Francis would say.


      I also would like you to think about taking the Vatican airplane to hotspots in the world. Ghandi would go on hunger strikes. You could bring the power and glory of the Vatican to Ukraine, Mosul, Kabul, Syria – you can choose. Land the plane – set up camp and proclaim you are not leaving until there is the beginning of a resolution or treaty. Insist. Bring the eyes of the world to that spot where your airplane will stay until you are satisfied there is a path of peace restored.  Don't fly to parades and soccer fields or baseball stadiums where people buy tickets to see you as if you're a sculpture. Be the radical messenger of the prince of peace. You've got the wheels and the wings to do it.


      I offer these observations most humbly and well aware that you have done okay so far. Ironically, that puts you in a tougher position, because I know you know better. You are not clueless as to the stunning nature of morality if you look at the heart of human behavior and not the trappings of politics, prejudice and repression. Violence is the problem – not human sexuality. I will take it further – denial, repression and shame are the fertilizers of violence. Hostility toward the human body, one's own to start with, makes it easier to bring blade, bullet or bombs to other bodies.


      Hope to see you in Rome – and if I'm here in NYC in the fall when you're here, maybe we'll run into each other and we can talk about this in more depth. I just wanted to begin the discussion.


      Abbraccio -




      BILL C.

    • Break You in Half. Like a Boy.

      “Break you in half. Like a boy.”


      Bill C. Davis



      It's interesting what leaps out when someone like Rep. Grimm gets excited. “I'll Break you in half. Like a boy.” were his parting words to a round-faced reporter who asked  a good and pertinent question. Those packed words followed a more concrete physical threat from the Congressman.

      “Break you in half.” Okay – you mean like a baseball bat – or a stick? But “Like a boy?” Premise being? “I am a man – a tough angry man – and my area of brutal domination includes boys.” Is that what he was going for? Terms like “bitch slap” are not far behind or in front of “Break you in half. Like a boy.” It's border-line Jerry Sandusky but without the avuncular overlay. It might have come from Grimm's time in the Marines – a few good men know what to do with boys who disrespect them and don't know their place.

      The boy reporter, by Grimm's implication, does not have balls – or pubic hair – or a five o'clock shadow. This pre-pubescent punk would be easily silenced – one punch maybe, or a quick toss over the rail. There was a certain relish in casting the reporter as plucked and emasculated. The nature of the inquiry – the answer that might have been forthcoming – none of it mattered. The eruption had to do with - “How dare you – boy – do that to ME?”

      Grimm must see boys as dispensible. Weak. Useless. Not entitled. That is the base line logic of this and many men like Grimm. It's usually hid well so we ought to be grateful to Grimm for coming clean with the subtext of his psychological type. We should  appreciate Grimm for puncturing the fairy tale that they respect every stage of human life. Not boyhood, that's for sure.

      Boys are cannon fodder. Boys get fed to a machine and they should just shut up about it.

      The dominant males with full lion manes hate that stage of life – the weak, awkward, annoying, useless stage they themselves have survived. Looking back and down on those who are there now – well, they need to do as many push ups, and laps, sit-ups, chin ups,  and swallow whatever bitter or prescription pills they're told to.

      It was an obscene use of what should be a beautiful word. It's been used with dripping contempt for black men – it's used for young army recruits, that's if they're not called “Ladies.”

      Boy. We hear other members of congress use the word about soldiers –“Our boys...” but then correct themselves. But in essence, they have it right – boys are cannon fodder - on football fields where they're often brain damaged or crippled for life – or on battlefields where they are shattered – broken not only in half but in pieces.

      Grimm used the word “boy” as if he were saying trash. Then one need not wonder why some – many boys have a fascination with weaponry. Most school and mall shooters could have been an easy target for a man like Grimm – most of them easily could have been broken in half – and who knows if they weren't before their D-day of score settling.

      As a writer one couldn't ask for a better name for the man who has delivered the truth about how a power obssessed society looks at boys. Again, we thank Rep. Grimm for a stunning moment of revelation. His words need to be reckoned with – not just as something actionable against him, which is advisable, but as a loaded gun. It's fairly certain that Grimm and his ilk became cocked and loaded as boys. And it's now their right and their turn to plant more seeds in the psyches of boys. The harvest will be a new crop of breakable and destructive men.

    • Christie Eleison

      Christie Eleison -





      I used to hate riding the subways in New York. If we paused between stops my palms would sweat. If we slowed down I anticipated trouble ahead and my heart would race. The random humanity I shared a subway car with were always interesting. I would use the time together to imagine their lives, wonder about a certain tattoo or haircut. But I'd mostly watch  if anyone became agitated as we sometimes stalled between stops. Were other palms sweating?

      I made it a point to sit (or stand) in either the rear or front car in case I had to escape. I had it planned if the worst happened – I would slide open the front car door – climb down or jump to the center of the tracks and I would run avoiding large rats and the third electrified rail. I would look for a shaft of light and a ladder. It was a conjured nightmare in concrete and steel – this subway system - the city's subconscious.

      If the stall lasted more than 30 seconds there would be the inevitable recorded announcement. It never consoled. The recording artist who made the announcement was not on scene so however well modulated the assurance, it did not stick.

      Since it was and is the smartest and best way to navigate Gotham I was determined to understand why something so ostensibly sane made me so nuts. What I arrived at – like walking on to a subway platform of understanding – was DISTRUST. I did not trust unseen man or woman in charge.

      There was, and is, a huge network of decisions, green lights, red lights, switches – all run by a head – and a head none of us on the train knows. Did he care? Did he look at all of us as dispensable losers? In a cab or a limo we might have more leverage – but down here? “So what if they're stuck for 90 minutes underground,” I imagined the master subway king might say.

      The sweaty palms were connected not to the closed space but to the belief that I should not – could not - believe in whoever has his hand on the infrastructure switch.  He did not care. How could he? Why would he?

      Whenever this amorphous “He” or “She” gets a face, it becomes more chrystalized, as it has in the most recent example of the personification of the creature at the switch. Indifferent and untrustworthy – petulant and willing to let the citizenry be collateral damage in the pursuit of a venal goal.

      The people sitting in traffic for hours and hours and hours on George Washington Bridge I'm sure had sweat and moisture in places beyond the palms of their hands. But the overriding feeling must have been – no one cares. No one knows what they are doing – and they must not know on purpose. This can't be indifference. Can there be hostile indifference? Or is it like decamation? Every tenth person will be killed until I get my way.

      This is the Christie syndrome. Whether he knew or didn't know – the fish rots from the head. And he – double-dubbed Chris Christie - is simply a prototype which takes form slimmer and bigger, in the past, present and future – and these people must never be allowed in power. 

      The promoted perception that the governor is a tough, no nonsense tell-it-like-it-is-one-of-us guy is not what we the people need. The rude put-downs and in your face confrontation is supposedly about some kind of “refreshing” style. But it's persnickety and disrespectful – as if he is in charge of who should be respected and who should be smacked down. He and those to whom he delegates are in charge not only of what lanes are shut down – but who gets the money – who gets a visit – who gets to wait – who gets screwed.

      He is not only a prototype, he is a variation of a prototype. The patriotic, vigilant citizen must make sure these types – predictable and venal that they are – never, ever endear themselves to any of us. We can't be duped into thinking he's smacking down people who deserve to be smacked down. They must never be given power as they do everything they can to get it with a smile, a well placed rant, and a selfie of family love.

      Glaring at someone is not vision. Shouting down is not declaring. Shutting down is a study only in unscrupulous application of power to get what the man at the controls wants. And the riders on the subways – in the bridge and tunnel – the citizenry are left with their palms sweating. We all could be, with this kind of energy in charge, stuck – stuck in between stops – on a bridge – in a recession –  in a war.

      And these types will do it. The last thing these single-minded engines can afford to experience is empathy. Until they get their way someone will have to suffer – and who suffer are the ones who can either let them continue to have the power to do that – or we can and are obligated to -  take it away.


    • Appetite for Humiliation

      2007 – updated 2014

      by Bill C. Davis

      What seems to be part of the digestive process of the popular American psyche is both the witnessing of and participation in the spectacle of humiliation. The programming of networks, certain marching orders in foreign engagements and the current New Jersey brand of governorship have in common the verb - humiliate.

      Trump telling an eager aspirant, "You're fired" collapses the face and hopes of the applicant and it sells. The Jerry Springer show has marketed joyful humiliation - audiences delight as the face of another human being is pushed into the nearest pool of metaphorical mud. Judge Judy snaps like a petulant and indignant terrier at the unfortunates in the dock looking for justice. And an audience giddy with delight watches as the "wise and sassy" arbiter of justice puts them “in their place.”

      The crude insult has an iconic place in the American contest. It has become epidemic, and organized as the need to have no sympathy for losers becomes both convenient and hip. Howard Stern and Don Imus tapped into the sophomoric glee at hearing another person being slapped down. The befuddlement and hurt on the face and in the voice of the victim is gold to the programmers.

      Feeding the appetite makes the appetite for humiliation grow. More and better variations at the practice of humiliating are in development.

      As evidenced in Columbine to Virginia Tech. to Newtown to suicide bombers - humiliation runs the risk of eventually being answered. None of it is right, justified or pretty but humiliation is itself born out of primitive savagery. Murder is in its nucleus.

      The song "Pirate Jenny" from Three Penny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill tells the tale of a woman humiliated by the people she waits on - "You gentleman can smile while I'm scrubbing the floors - and I'm scrubbing the floors while you're gawking - maybe you can tip me and it makes you feel swell." They shout at her - "what's wrong with you? Earn your keep here." And all the while she fantasizes about a swarm of pirates from a black freighter coming to shore to murder all the men who have slowly murdered her with words and looks.

      Her rescuers round up the offenders and she smiles as they ask her, "Kill them now or later? Asking ME - kill them now or later?" She responds with deep relish - "Right now. Right now." She completes her fantasy - "And they'll pile up the bodies...and I'll say - That'll learn ya."

      "That'll learn ya" is the moment of satisfaction the humiliated hunger for. Some will do whatever is necessary to have that moment - even if it's their last.

      Humiliation is a natural risk for any life gamble - from getting married to creating a work of art to running for office. But the culture of hyper acquisition and mammoth footprints necessitates humiliation becoming a weapon. It keeps competitors and aspirants in their place. It discourages interference from anyone wanting the same things the dominant forces have. The purpose of humiliation is to destroy the inner libido of the other. It's meant to stop the desire to try or to claim.

      The collective appetite to watch the moment of humiliation is a dangerous sign for civilization.

      The impulses that were evident at Abu Ghraib have a reality here at home. The smiles on the faces of the guards were as grotesque as the offenses. They are the smiles of an audience feeling safe and delighted at the miserable plight of another.

      But it would be unwise not to realize as the appetite for humiliation is being fed that there will always be a percentage of the humiliated, like Pirate Jenny, who will want to wipe that smile off the collective face - even if it's - and it often is - the last thing they do.

      Theater is the antidote. Empathy is the salve. Feel - daily - what another human being is feeling. Will that make us socialists? If you're going to be a good predatory capitalist is empathy a fatal flaw? Is that why ridicule and contempt shape the popular aesthetic? Victims must be neutered and laughed at. As the Christie aide Bridget Kelly – a well raised Catholic – asked as thousands of citizens sat trapped in a vehicular vendetta - “Is it wrong that I'm smiling?”


      The humiliating truth is as wide swaths of the population presume they're in on the joke, they become the sad and vicious joke itself.



    • Julie Harris – Elaine Stritch – 2013

      a reverie


      Julie Harris died on my birthday this year. She was a brilliant, decent, kind and dynamic person.  I visited her several times and stayed in her guest house on the Cape. She cooked dinner for me – we went to a local parade. We corresponded – by mail – I have and cherish her beautifully hand written and thoughtful letters. She rehearsed a new play of mine – EXPATRIATE - for ten days and we did a reading of the play at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. She illuminated everything. She bathed every word and moment in truth.


      I first met her when I was invited by the director to be the only other audience besides himself to watch her and Leonard Frey do a run through in a rehearsal room in New Haven of a play called UNDER THE ILEX – a play about Dora Carrington and Lytton Strachey. Again – honest – real – unadorned – not tricky – just true. Afterwards at the house the theatre provided she cooked dinner for us – the director, her co-star and me. Thoughtful – easy - well-paced. She was sent, by someone in the local area, a glossy picture of James Dean. The diehard fan wanted her to sign it. She did after all kiss James Dean on a ferris wheel. In between boiling water for potatoes and shredding a salad, she put her hand on the picture and said matter-of-factly - “He was so beautiful.”


      As loving and empathic as she was she was not a pushover. I rememer her telling me her impulse while in the audience of 'NIGHT MOTHER – a brilliant play, but Miss Harris (as Charles Nelson Reilly would refer to her) was not buying it. She said - “Twenty minutes into the play I wanted to stand up and say – 'Knock her out! Grab something and knock her out!'”


      Elaine Stritch was in my play DANCING IN THE END-ZONE in Miami Florida. I had dinner with her just about every night for five weeks. We laughed a lot. I liked her – and  she liked me. She was drinking at the time – she was nervous – struggling with the role for which she was perfectly cast. At the first rehearsal she tried to get a line from the younger female character shifted to her - “Fuck the ingenue.” she said, “she's late.” I laughed – she did too. She knew how funny she was and my getting her hysterical wit made her go further. At an outdoor cafe I admitted to her that I never heard the song Ladies Who Lunch - “What?!” She sang it there – on the spot – at lunch in fact.


      Jose Ferrer, who was the artistic director of the theatre, had taken over the director's duties after the initial director was asked to leave. The first week was encouraging – but after that – he and she bristled – with every word. All any of us needed to know was that she had a long-haired dachsund who snapped often. On stage – in performance, she was riveting and  compelling of course. The character, like Elaine herself, believed she was the smartest mammal in the room.


      After a tough rehearsal week I remember Stritch doing a great impersonation of Lionel Barrymore in Grand Hotel I think it was – with that voice like a cement mixer and with each word she would scrunch her face until she looked like Mr. Magoo when she completed the sentence - “I love the theatre and all the charming people IN IT.”


      Several years ago, before her stroke, I saw Julie Harris at a function of some kind and she told me of her first and I imagine only meeting with Elaine Stritch – both of whom were from Detroit. For some reason they had not actually met. They both acknowledged how odd that after all these years and coming from the same city they had not met. Elaine said to Julie that her mother, Elaine's mother, at some point in Julie's and Elaine's careers, said to Elaine - “I just can't like Julie Harris.” Julie even did the drawing out of the sentence that one can hear Elaine would do to imply a befuddled regret at having to report this necessary news. Julie said to Elaine - “Tell her not to worry about it.” “Can you imagine?” Julie said to me questioning how really necessary this news was.


      I think of these two major theatre artists in contrast to each other. Both could hold the stage like nobody else – and they did it in two different ways. Julie Harris was all about “listen to this” – and Elaine Stritch was all about “listen to me.” Although I give credit to and cannot deny the power of “Listen to ME” the interpretive artists I stay with and want to listen to again and again are the ones who work under the banner of “Listen to this.”

      The irony of that approach is that all one wants to do is listen to the actor or singer who is inspired and driven by, “Listen to THIS.”


    • Memories of a Catholic Education

      Catholicism is sensual.


      Incense – music – sins whispered in a booth - Body of Christ as you present your tongue to a man in robes. With your Amen, you receive and swallow the mystery of transubstantiation.

      You take in your body the body of your savior.  When confirmed, a bishop will give a symbolic slap to your face and apply oil to your forehead. 

      In the trenches of Catholic rearing, slaps were more traumatic than symbolic. There was a theology of the body that was both punitve and exalted. At one moment your body was a temple of the Holy Spirit, and at another it was the drum skin of discipline. The body of nuns , brothers and priests – cloaked in black – and they had both license and mission to visit meaning in any way they could to the ripe nerve endings of their uniformed, pre-pubscent students.


      Post Vatican II and the revolutuionary tumult of the 60's and early 70's created a fertile frequency for ways to approach a human body. Some Church rituals seemed to see the body as a pathway to spiritual awakening. Certain angry personalities who found their way into vestments had another view of the body. Present your palms to a wooden ruler and be smacked hard – a brutal slap to the face – public humiliation – a girl made to kneel on rice after being disccovered huddling with a boy in a stairway alcove. The rice, her wedding day confetti, was used to make an impression on her soft skin stretched over her kneeling knees. The entire class watched.


      A boy in the first pew during an afternoon mass, laughed at something. It was one of those laughs that take over – innocent and silly. The monsignor who was giving out communion at the time, froze – stared as if in a wicked trance. In retrospect I believe this monsignor was on the verge of dementia. He must have had a flashback of something – but he literally became a statue and stared at this boy who could not stop laughing. Nuns in a panic ran up to him – what? What is it? He pointed – that boy is disturbing me. His disturbance might very well have had a longer and deeper history, but the laughing boy got the finger.


      Later that day, in front of a class of other boys and girls the boy was manhandled by a red-faced nun who grabbed his tie at the throat and violently pushed him back and forth while delivering an aria about how she consecrated her life to the bleesed sacrament and how dare he laugh in the presence of that. Real dramatic and unhinged.. I suppose, had the boy pushed back or ran away there would have been hell to pay on all fronts.


      A brother stood a boy up in front of the entire student body during lunch – all eyes trained to the front – the brother said – here is a wise guy. Don't know what the boy did, but whatever he did, it was enough to have the brother put him forward as an example. This is what happens to wise guys here – and the brother slapped, with an open hand, the boy's face. The sound cracked through the open space of the cafeteria – gasps – the brother did it again – harder – and louder. The boy's face was instantly red – not only from embarrassment but from the actual intensity and force of the man's hand.


      There may be those who would wonder – did that nun and that brother get off on that kind of physical imposition and violation of a young body. Mortify the physical and the spiritual will emerge? Was that the holy mission – the blessed plan? Or was it something else – something more repressed and satisfying? Who knows? They certainly didn't. Vows of chastity were taken for reasons that may have had nothing to do with spiritual discipline. Their bodies will rebel and other trusting, unsuspecting younger bodies become collateral damage.


      The most wonderful nun – who I will name because she was so good – Sister St. Patrick understood humanity. She defended the boy who laughed to the principal, saying, when he gets nervous, he laughs – there is no disrepect in the laugh.


      She also gave one of the most moral and stirring speeches to a class of seventh grade boys. After an episode of a boy being bullied – the poor kid struck back in the middle of class – in tears of incomprehension. I remember bubbles coming out of his mouth as he cried and hit back at his stronger tormentor. He just didn't understand. Sister St. Patrick gently asked him to bring something to the principal's office – he wasn't in trouble. She was kind to him – just wanted him out of the room for a bit so she could tell us all exactly what she thought of us.


      Close your books. She was mad – and she didn't get mad, so we all knew this was real. I'll say the boy's name because I wish I knew where he was now – Gerald Butland – not a mean bone in his body – a bit stiff and awkward – spoke in a kind of courtly and tight tone of voice – but really sweet as could be – and therefore a target. So Sister St. Patrick met all of our eyes and said – “when we read the passion of Christ and we read how the Roman soldiers spit at and hit  and whipped Jesus – and you all say how you hate those Roman soldiers. Well – the way you treat Gerald Butland – you are those Roman soldiers.” If she weren't so angry, she might have cried – but she had this beautiful anger, which I think released most of the boys from their apathy about how poor Gerald was being treated by the meaner boys.


      She didn't need to lay a hand on any of us – but she laid us out. She took the mythology of the crucifixion, which by that time was in every cell in our body, and she knocked us all on our butts – without raising a hand. I loved her.


      Sister. St Patrick  was a true Catholic educator –  a real sister. The others used the Chruch as a beard for their hostility and confusion about the physicality of human beings. For whatever reason – family, the 50's, American capitalism, Puritanism – a portion of the clergy sought haven in the choice of no sex, and were oblivious to the fermenting ravages that would plague them – and us.


      A priest I know – a very good priest – had a wet dream. He got on a bus at 7:00 in the morning and traveled 2 hours to his confessor. What he was confessing to the other priest, I don't know. What he told me was a different kind of confession. Look what I did – look what I let the Church do to me.


      The same priest and I were walking down a busy city street and it dawned on him that – look at all these people – all the result of a successful orgasm. Well – I countered, we have no idea if any of those orgasms were successful – or if two orgasms happened – or if the man's orgasm was the least pleasurable of his life. Life can happen no matter the quality or pleasure of the act.


      The Church does seem fixated on that substance. As a teen-ager I hitch-hiked. A kind of rough- around-the-edges guy picked me up in a funky Cadillac and said he would drive me right to my parents' house – and he wanted to blow me. I said keep driving and let me tell you a thing or two. So I told him – I was seventeen at the time and a full product of Catholic eduacation, and I told him how unwise this was. How he should have more respect for himself – he presisted – Come on – it's fine, he said. When we reached my driveway, with the car door open I said, what you want to do will bring about a life-producing substance and you should have more respect for that if not for yourself. He looked so befuddled. I was in jeans and a v-neck sweater and on a highway hitch-hiking. My final riff was not he was expecting.


      I would exhort the Church – and it matters little to me that these exhortations will matter little to them – to minister to the principle of love and affection in the act of sex. I think that could certainly be their domain. The spirit rather than the biology of it should be their mission. Put body and soul together when you kiss or bring another person to climax. I could see that as a Church doctrine and as a beginning of a remedy to the legacy of abuse.


      Love sex – and infuse sex with love. Love the body – cherish it as the path to – no - more than that – cherish it as the soul itself.



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  • Films - HBP

    To view more information about films that Bill C. has worked on, click here to navigate to Harry Banks Productions.