The Dumb Waiter Speaks


"Wouldn't it be easier to change your name to Harold Comedy?"

If America didn't exist, Harold Pinter would have to invent it. The very over playwright last made a splash with an idiotic essay in Granta, famously calling the United States a "'rogue state' of colossal military and economic might" that has "without thought, without pause for reflection, without a moment of doubt, let alone shame, confirmed that it is a fully fledged, award-winning, gold-plated monster… has effectively declared war on the world [and] knows only one language—bombs and death."

I've always wondered whether the irritating inarticulateness of Pinter's characters was a real reflection of the author or an elaborate stylistic effect. (I still think "The Lover" is a pretty funny play.) This morning, the Wall Street Journal gives him space to provide an answer, in an otherwise unenlightening debate with playwright Arnold Wesker. Pinter also pulls off a rare literary feat—reciting an anti-war poem so bad it makes Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "Speak Out" sound like Wilfred Owen by comparison.