People often query me as to why I, a reformed white trash hick, now a suddenly “woke” right-leaning Leslieville (See Williamsburg) Democratic Socialist who also happens to be a mentally ill person relying on ODSP, is going back to school for theatre and social work and professional writing and South Asian studies, whose life’s only passions are community theatre, Wil Wheaton, sensational evening cable news, the Indian subcontinent, my pughasa Esther, trolling the internet….why would I of all people be concerned about the welfare of wealthy, elitist, “Pharma Bro”, Martin Shkreli? Here is my answer. First of all – Martin Shkreli obviously looks like Wil Wheaton post Stand By Me but slightly earlier than the filming of the Star Trek the Next Generation pilot episode that aired in 1987. Other than that, he likes emo and I am a senior millennial, OG Internet Relay Chat troll, from Southern Ontario so you do the math…
But the REAL reason Martin Shkreli’s victimization by the entire left-wing media, even by the so-called rational progressives who I normally agree with 99% of the time, (Bernie Sanders, Ana Kasparian – who laughed and imitated Shkreli crying in court as his 7 year sentence was handed down) has busted my hump day in and day out for the last year and a half or so (I was late to the party – I judged him at first by the strategically used frames of him in court that made him look like a real “spoiled brat” – a real “corporate bigwig”) is that Shkreli is simply the victim of an innocent and quite understandable, misunderstanding. Along with hearing the term “Pharma Bro” always used on CNN, MSNBC, The Young Turks and yes even on Canada’s own state news outlet, the CBC, I equated him with Brock Turner, a white, insanely priviledged 1%, James Spader in Pretty in Pink type heir who was “one of the bros”. This couldn’t more polar opposite from Martin Shkreli, the son of immigrant Albanian janitors, (they currently still work, although Shkreli has insisted they don’t need to) who grew up in a crappy housing block in Brooklyn and went to a private high school on an academic scholarship. He donated a million dollars to that same school when he was able to do so.
My mental illness happens to be OCD and Tourette’s Syndrome which means I am unordinarily obsessed with facts and media is not reporting on the facts clearly at all in Martin Shkreli’s case. Until this is rectified it will eat me alive. Arguments that do not follow exact logic drive me crazy. Initially when it was reported that this Big Pharma tycoon frat boy had raised the price of Daraprim, a “lifesaving AIDS drug” from the surprisingly cheap cost of $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill overnight, people like myself naturally assumed that a lot of other people were now going to suddenly drop dead from AIDS who would not have died if Shkreli had never existed. What Shkreli has constantly and truthfully bleated in a series of Sam Nunberg-like press appearances was the simple fact that anyone who cannot afford Daraprim because they did not have insurance, or for other reasons, could fill out a form at the pharmacy and receive the medication they so desperately need for the cost of a shocking $0! This has been fact checked yet the media refuses to correct this misconception which might at the very least reduce Martin Shkreli to “second most hated man in America” behind the obvious person who I won’t even bother to mention. No one has gone without Daraprim due to the drug hikes. Also – Martin Shkreli has no real life friends. His entire circle of friends/fans consists of online and professional (although extremely loyal) associates. One would hardly consider this 35 year old loner turned webcam star who used to garner about 150 – 200 YouTube viewers during dinner hour (who he would interact with while alone in his sparsely furnished, parquet floored apartment with his cat, Trashy on his lap), a “Bro”. I suspect he has many severe anxiety disorders, which only adds to my sympathies of him. If this unfortunate character were Canadian, he would have been tried through mental health court and even if convicted, Canada attempts commendably, to minimize incarceration of our mentally ill (failing a large amount of the time) along with most non-violent offenders. I am trying to write a completely factual and unslanted post but I cannot refrain from commending Shkreli on all he has achieved in his middle aged (upon release date) life, despite everything that has been thrown at him. He now will sit in US Federal Prison for the next 7 years and think about how he is the most hated man in America. I certainly wouldn’t trade places with him. Would you?
~ My roomate and co-reviewer Vanessa Turner wants to sharply point out that she does not support or like Martin Shkreli and that I ensure readers that this post does not reflect any of her views or opinions. She also wants to know why the hell I am writing about this on our blog and what the hell this has to do with community theatre???!
There has been a play written and performed about Martin Shkreli in Hell’s Kitchen (I saw a man urinating on a fence there when I was 12 before it gentrified btw. It was the most exciting thing I had ever seen at that point in my life! I told everyone at school when I got home!), Manhattan, New York, New York. This play is called Shkreli! Portrait of a Pharma Bro!
With generous permission from Christie Smythe, Brooklyn, NY based journalist and current author of a soon to be released and authorized biography of Martin Shkreli himself, we share with you her review of the opening performance of Shkreli! Portrait of a Pharma Bro!
“Nonetheless it is very entertaining! And Shkreli, the real one sitting in Fort Dix, doesn’t seem to care one way or another, or so he tells me — not about what I put in my book, nor what comedians spoof. He seems to view his life with the detachment of someone looking at a modern art project.”
Read the rest of Christie Smythe’s review and get details on where and when to catch this topical, sketch comedy performance by Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre (think Sketchersons and Groundlings, not Second City) here.