(Feingold's article appeared in the Village Voice, 5/20.)
I'm a white male, old enough to collect Social Security if our Republican Congress doesn't abolish it before next month. And this year, when the judges for the Obie awards had finished their last exhausting meeting, I cast my eye down the splendid list of winners we'd assembled, as the chairman of the committee is supposed to do, and I suddenly felt myself alone. Not deeply, frighteningly alone, mind you. Not wholly alone. And certainly not isolated: Many of the winners were artists I had long admired. Some were personal acquaintances, friends, even colleagues. But of white males, of my generation, there were few to none.
I felt a slight tremor of perturbation at this. Had we been unjustly neglecting some important school of works? In our eagerness to support the principle of diversity, had we leaned too far over, so that our principle became a bias? I ran through the season in my mind: shows I loved, shows I loathed, shows that brought me mixed feelings. A few in that last category sent up flags: a performance we might have honored (by an actor who has already won multiple Obies), a script that maybe should have weighed more heavily with us (by a writer who has amassed plenty of awards). It didn't feel as though we'd made major omissions or glaring oversights. I looked over the list again. It felt right. It just felt…different.