Charles Shaughnessy Blog ~ So this is what I think . . . .21 february, 2012

THE Global struggle is NOT between Christianity and Islam, East .v. West….it is between the extremist and the moderate, the reactionary against the progressive. Look closely at the ideology of Rick Santorum, emergent as the standard bearer of the very vocal reactionary Christian Right, and compare it with the ideology of extremist Islam. Both see Religion as the guiding spirit of society, to the point where legislation itself should be Religion-oriented; not much removed from the vision of a Theocracy. Is there any real material difference between Santorum and the Right’s desire to have government illegalize abortion, contraception and many other more subtle rights for women on the one hand, and the tenets of Sharia law that marginalize women in the Islamic culture on the other? Both sides believe in the “sanctity” of life, but will willingly sacrifice it in the name of their Gods. Again, is there really any material difference between shooting a doctor outside his Planned Parenthood office as a blow against the workings of the Devil and in the triumphant name of a vengeful God on the one hand, and flying a plane into an office building as a blow against the devil’s spawn and in the name of a vengeful Allah? 

In a Theocracy, whether it be Islamic or Christian, reason, research, history, fact or critical thinking, it all becomes secondary and subserviant to dogma. The questioning of government then becomes as anathema as the questioning of it’s underlying religious dogma. The worrying part of this equation for me is this. If these two extremes ever figure out that they hold their power as a correlation of the amount of fear and distrust that they can generate amongst their followers and the compelling security offered by their adopted dogma, then they could manipulate the fear that the “other side” means them harm, to suspend individual rights and aspirations as enshrined in declarations of democracy like the Bill of Rights. They might then figure out that they actually need each other. Could there be a scenario, in the not-too-distant-future, when the wheel comes around once again in America where we elect another reactionary, Right Wing administration like a Bush/ Cheney or a McCain/ Palin and that they then quietly set about a policy of secret mutual dependence with other extremist and repressive regimes around the world? 

“You continue to terrify my people that you might explode a dirty bomb in the middle of New York: I will continue to terrify your people that we might invade at any moment  – then you and I can hold on to power for as long as we like. We can suspend Habeas Corpus, roll back human rights, abolish elections, turn the economy of fear into a cash cow for our cronies..and the joke is….the people will ASK us to do it!!” 
This is PRECISELY the future that George Orwell envisioned in “1984” and PRECISELY the world envisioned by both the last bunch of neo-cons here in the U.S. and the Ayathollahs in Tehran. A world where the nations are in a constant “state of war” that is actually one big publicity sham directed and controlled by a cabal of world leaders in order for them to maintain total control of a frightened, compliant populace who have willingly compromised all their values, beliefs and desires in the name of “Peace.”  I have often toyed with this notion and always dismissed it as something that this country could never allow, but listening to serious debate now in a Presidential election about the “legality” of contraception, even the morality of masturbation – where “life” could be seen to exist as a real potential when a man and woman so much as THINK about having sex – I remember how cavalier the people of Germany were when a different kind of extremism began to rear its head and was dismissed as only the views of an aberrant minority.  “1984” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” should now be made required reading for every man, woman and child in the United States.

additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy 22 February, 2012 10:16
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy 26 February, 2012 11:53 
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy 26 February, 2012 17:07


Blog from Charles Shaughnessy as he returns to DAYS OF OUR LIVES as Shane Donovan!

Blog from Charles Shaughnessy as he returns to DAYS OF OUR LIVES as Shane Donovan!

Hi all! Well, I guess the Salem cat has jumped out of his bag!! Yes, it is true :  Days of Our Lives has asked Shane to return for a twelve episode arc to help in the ruination of Stefano Di Mera….for the umpteenth time!!! 

I have been back a couple of times since I first left in 1991, but this has been the most fun. It was like walking into a wormhole or time warp when I rehearsed my first scene. The old gang was there doing the same stuff and saying the same dialogue as if it were the very next day. Shane and Roman helping Bo, Hope, Marlena and John Black “bring down ” Stefano Di Mera. 

Everyone seemed happy to see me and I was giddy to see all of them. The strangest thing is that they all looked EXACTLY the same!! I know that there are miracles available through all kinds of surgery, but I could find no trace of them. Either they have some radical genius hidden away in the bowels of Burbank or they take VERY good care of themselves. It was kind of creepy actually. Each one of them must have a picture somewhere that is graying and aging in their place! 

We had a lot of laughs and a lot of fond reminiscences, although we couldn’t spend too long going down memory lane as the pace of the work is INSANE!! I always thought it was ridiculous how we taped a whole one-hour show in a day: now, they tape about a day and a half and are always “out” by 6:00 p.m. !! Today’s Soap actors have to be one hundred percent “on their game” from the minute they walk onto the set. Trust me, they earn every penny of their paycheck. You walk in, the director runs quickly through the “blocking” ( where you should move, the “action” required in the scene,) you do it once for practice and cameras and then….ACTION! you’re doing it for real. Talk about “shot out of a cannon!” All the dialogue has to be learnt before you wake up that day and, as many of them are in many days a week, they must learn it in their sleep. But…this crazy speed makes for an exciting and adrenaline-pumped ride. 

I can’t give any of the story away, but I think all you original fans are going to get a big kick out of this story. The only sad thing is that Patsy was not back. I do reference her in one line and mention that Kimberly “allowed” Shane to return for this mission as it was so important to him, but she is not there in person. Budgets are very tight and the storyline was specifically about Bo, Hope etc. and the ISA, so I guess they didn’t see any need to ask her back as well.

My episodes start airing in May and will continue for about two weeks, so set the VCR or DVR or take some time off work, ‘cos Shane is back in town!!!

Best. . . Charlie

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I have a confession to make. I was a theatre major in college (yes, complete with the snooty but appropriate “re” spelling). I’ll wait for you to stop snickering. Judson University (it was Judson College when I attended), the small liberal arts college outside of Chicago labeled the major course of studies as “Communication Arts” which is what I tend to put on resumes and bios because I realize that “theatre major” tends to elicit thoughts such as “Do you want fries with that?”

When I chose my major, I had no pipe dreams about becoming a professional actor. I did it because more than one wise adult had advised me that my actual major in college would have less impact on my eventual job search than having the actual degree. “Study what you love” I was told, “not what you think will get you a job.” I listened for once…

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