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February 11, 2006 3:15 PM   Subscribe

"We can't do anything about it. We just have to obey." Fulton (Mo.) High School drama students learn that resistance is futile.
posted by Saucy Intruder (87 comments total)

 
hey, if we can get three, maybe four letter writers together and send postcards to the FCC complaining about the blatant racio-fascist agenda being promoted on Faux News, then maybe we too can get them banned.

Watching Faux isn't required, either. So now you have no excuse.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:18 PM on February 11, 2006


is everyone here in junior high?
posted by quonsar at 3:21 PM on February 11, 2006


[Cowardly school Superintendent Enderle] called "The Crucible" "a fine play," but said he dropped it to keep the school from being "mired in controversy" all spring.
Let me get this straight:

We're teaching the children that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

That we -- and they -- have a destiny to spread principles like "democracy" throughout the world, even if it costs the lives of kids only a few years older than these highschoolers.

And yet, "controversy" in the form of three small-minded Christian yammerheads complaining is enough to make the Superintendent abandon his principles.
posted by orthogonality at 3:25 PM on February 11, 2006


From the local paper (The Fulton Sun): 'Grease' gripes cancel ‘Crucible'.
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on February 11, 2006


From the Fulton Sun article:
"FHS principal Terri Arms said DeVore clears all plays and musicals with building administrators before production. Both 'Grease' and 'The Crucible' were approved. 'The Crucible' is also required reading for FHS students in a junior-level English class....

'The Crucible' contains no profanity, kissing, smoking or drinking. At issue in the Arthur Miller play - inspired by the Salem witch trials of 1692 - is an extra-marital affair between two of the play's characters.

Defenders of 'The Crucible' said the affair, which is not acted out on stage, plays an insignifigant role in the work. Enderle, however, felt the time was not right for potential controversy."
You can read the book, but not perform the play.
posted by ericb at 3:33 PM on February 11, 2006


Interestingly, while The Crucible is required reading for students, the principal only decided to cancel the production after reading a one-line summary of the play on the internets. The word "affair" inspired the knee-jerk reaction.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 3:36 PM on February 11, 2006


Mark Miller, a 26-year-old graduate student, said he was moved to complain after getting an e-mail message about the show from Terra Guittar, a member of his church. Her description of the pajama party scene offended him, he wrote, adding that one character should have worn a more modest nightgown. Mr. Miller did not see the play (emphasis mine).

"It makes sense that you're not going to offend anyone by being on the conservative side, especially when you're dealing with students, who don't have the same power as a principal or a theater director," he said.

Well, I'm offended, but since I'm not conservative I guess Mr. Miller doesn't care what I think anyway.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:38 PM on February 11, 2006


"DeVore has chosen William Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream” for spring production. Enderle said the school district will absorb the cost of the switch."

Uh-oh ...
Helena:
In this our amorous play you may join
And yet not spend your precious virgin coin;
A hundred variations has the sport
Of love, we'll demonstrate a diff'rent sort.
I'll take in hand Demetrius' proud tool,
Still wet from bathing in my secret pool,
And guide it to another pair of lips
And from his fountain take lascivious sips.

Hermia:
Is there to your debauchery no end?
How could I thus I cannot comprehend.

Helena:
And wherefore should Lysander's sex be so
Much less delicious than my own?

Hermia:
I do
Not know, I must confess.
posted by ericb at 3:39 PM on February 11, 2006


Ms. DeVore believes it was canceled because it portrays the Salem witch trials, "a time in history that makes Christians look bad."

"In a Bible Belt community," she added, "it makes people nervous."
Bingo. It's a tough enough job defending the indefensible things you're doing now without bring up old crimes.
posted by wendell at 3:41 PM on February 11, 2006


What's sad is that Miller wrote the Crucible as an allegory about just this sort of thing. A long time ago.
posted by poweredbybeard at 3:42 PM on February 11, 2006


If any of you Fulton kids are reading this: put on the play anyway. You'll be heroes. (And read this for inspiration.)
posted by milquetoast at 3:43 PM on February 11, 2006


ericb writes "I'll take in hand Demetrius' proud tool,
"Still wet from bathing in my secret pool,"



That's about a cable installer getting a full-immersion baptism while still wearing his tool-belt, right?
posted by orthogonality at 3:45 PM on February 11, 2006


I'm not really surprised. When Grease was done at my high school, it was an utter scandal because they were smoking onstage. (I also think that was a bad choice, because duh, smoking and singing don't really mix.)

When a neighboring high school performed Grease, they had problems with Rizzo's pregnancy scare. I mean, it implies premarital sex, zomg! So instead, Rizzo got a bad sunburn because she'd worn a too-skimpy suit at the beach. She was delighted to tell Kenickie it had cleared up.
posted by booksandlibretti at 3:47 PM on February 11, 2006


"Midsummer Night's Dream?" If they get a look at the 1968 BBC version with Helen Mirren as a mostly-nude Fairy Queen, they'll drop it like a hot potato. Besides, doesn't this, like, promote belief in pagan religions?
posted by wendell at 3:48 PM on February 11, 2006


What ericb said. I guess Christian idiots love transvestites.
posted by bardic at 3:48 PM on February 11, 2006


(Helen Mirren was hawt in that production.)
posted by bardic at 3:49 PM on February 11, 2006


"Helen Mirren was is still hawt in that production"
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:52 PM on February 11, 2006


Do you know where else they won't be doing a play of 'Grease"? Iran.
posted by Balisong at 3:55 PM on February 11, 2006


...for exactly the same reasons.
posted by Balisong at 3:55 PM on February 11, 2006


Although this subject matter is infuriating to most of us - I found this article to be the closest thing to a troll that I've read in the NYT.

Also - the hypocracy of the moral standards in the US never ceases to amaze.

Yes, shut down Grease, but leave on the 10 minute infomercial for Girls Gone Wild: Super Lesbian Edition on standard cable.

And you know these righteous church folks, at least some them, are secret consumers of this stuff. I'm thinking of Jimmy Swaggart arrested for cruising hookers, with porno magazines scattered over his front seat. Satan deliver us from temptation.
posted by Dag Maggot at 3:57 PM on February 11, 2006


Dr. Enderle... asked 10 people he knew whether the play crossed a line. All but one, he recalled, said yes.

What the hell is wrong with Fulton?

I guess it doesn't say whether or not those 9 people had actually read the play.
posted by dsword at 4:02 PM on February 11, 2006


And yet, "controversy" in the form of three small-minded Christian yammerheads complaining is enough to make the Superintendent abandon his principles.
posted by orthogonality at 12:25 AM CET on February 12 [!]


Maybe giving a measure of where his interests may be or maybe just trying to save his ass from phantom menaces.

One letter, from someone who had not seen the show but only heard about it, criticized "immoral behavior veiled behind the excuse of acting out a play."

That speaks volumes about whoever signed the letter ..what idiot says something is wrong without even seeing it ?

Anyway, if this is a way to interfere with activities done on State-PUBLIC land where religion should have no place, there must be way to invert the treatement.

For instance by piqueting Churches (of any faith) with signs with warnings that "immoral rituals" are going on and that one shouldn't believe into God deliision just because some people believe in it. I bet they will try to kick the protesters far away from the Church by using the you are standing on private-property trick, but If they can interefere with others, why can't others with them ?

Although the letters did not say so, the three writers were members of a small group linked by e-mail, all members of the same congregation, Callaway Christian Church.

Where no kid is being molested by anybody, no no no.
posted by elpapacito at 4:08 PM on February 11, 2006


milquetoast writes "If any of you Fulton kids are reading this: put on the play anyway."


The Fulton kids, sad to say, are already indoctrinated. They should perform The Sound of Music because apparently most of them are well on their way to being, like young Rolf, good upstanding member so the Hitler Jugend.

No, I don't mean that they hate Jews or plan to invade Poland -- though I imagine a fair number of them will, with patriotic fervor, wind up in Iraq and some will enjoy the thought of killing a "dirty Muslim terrorist". What I mean is, these kids have already been indoctrinated to the point that when someone in Authority slaps them down, their first thought is to justify the slapping.

Here's a kid who worked on the Grease production. And presumably at the time, when Grease still had the imprimatur of Authority, he was happy to be in the crew. But once Truth has been rewritten, he bounces right back up just like a Chinese victim of the Cultural Revolution renouncing his own "crimes", or like a Russian caught up in Stalin's show trials lavishing vehemence upon himself and his "co-conspirators":
Jarryd Lapp, a junior who was a light technician on "Grease," said he was disappointed that "The Crucible" was canceled. But he had a theory. "The show itself is graphic," he said. "People get hung; there's death in it. It's not appropriate."
He goes from member of the crew in GreaseGrease seemed ok to me". Instead he casts aside the evidence of his own senses to parrot the Party line.

And that's why I compare him to a Hitler Youth or Stalinist -- all that's missing is the kid explaining he's a revanchist wrecker who was sabotaging the Five-Year Plan. I'm not saying he's a bad kid, I'm saying he's a malleable tool, indoctrinated to the point that he can and will convince himself that Black is White and War is Peace if Authority says so.

And that's fucking well scary in America, mein Dammen und Herren.
posted by orthogonality at 4:12 PM on February 11, 2006


I screwed up one paragraph's formatting:
He goes from member of the crew in Grease to denouncing the next play as "not appropriate", all because Superintendent Enderle says so. And that's the scary thing: the kid is so indoctrinated, he doesn't stop to say "I was there, I was part of the crew, Grease seemed ok to me". Instead he casts aside the evidence of his own senses to parrot the Party line.
posted by orthogonality at 4:14 PM on February 11, 2006


Surely there are kids at the school that believe the teachers and the superintendent are idiots. These kids are watching MTV and go home and surf the internets. It's a lot harder to shelter kids from the satanic secular hellhole that is contemporary America. The rest of the kids who are upstanding little citizens of Fulton will presumably grow up and live in Fulton the rest of their lives and write letters to the principal bemoaning the implicit pedophilia of "Heidi". This happens a lot in small towns in America. It would be quite hard to get outraged at every single incident. Not to justify, of course, but like the article said - four people wrote letters, not the entire town. I'd chalk it up more to the fact that the kids with brains and sense aren't trying out for the school play anyway and are looking for a way to get out of town. Time marches on, these people will be exposed as idiots (thanks to the NYT), the superintendent will apologize, etc.

At least, I hope. Anyway, I don't have time in my busy schedule to discuss this kind of stuff cause I've got a huge stack of Twisted Sister records to burn. Anybody have some lighter fluid?
posted by billysumday at 4:19 PM on February 11, 2006


Y'know what I think? It's just this sort of "Pleasantville-"type ultraconservative wackiness that is gonna bring down those fanatics. Any thinking person is going to reject this type of nuttiness in the end, and this bizarre phase in American history will pass, and we will never have to listen to nutcases like this again.
posted by TheStorm at 4:23 PM on February 11, 2006


ericb: The quote you've given isn't actually by Shakespeare at all. Someone, on the internet, added a few scenes of their own. Googling "How could I thus I cannot comprehend" proves this.
posted by matthewr at 4:32 PM on February 11, 2006


Time marches on, these people will be exposed as idiots (thanks to the NYT), the superintendent will apologize, etc.

Unlikely. The problem is not with the single incident, but with many single incidents. Actually I am concerned as much as ortho by indoctrination ; it is extremely easy on youngster minds and the church methods are tried and tested and well financed. I speak from experience with Jesuits, the most skilled priests of face of earth, they can insert doubt in grown adults exactly like marketing ..it looks harmless, inconsequential , yet at the end of they day you are the one with the pants down.
posted by elpapacito at 4:36 PM on February 11, 2006


I just visited the Fulton High School website.

The "Drama" link gives a "page not found" error, but if you use this link, you can access the drama web directory, which includes photos from the Grease production (under the "GREASE" folder) and a gutted Grease production homepage (the "grease.htm" file).

Admittedly, the photos aren't a complete visual archive of the production, but the photos of the pajama party seemed pretty tame despite claims from the article that "...the pajama party scene offended him, he wrote, adding that one character should have worn a more modest nightgown."
posted by corranhorn at 4:36 PM on February 11, 2006


..."Did she put up a fight?"

---Lyrics from a song from Grease
posted by jaronson at 4:40 PM on February 11, 2006


I wish I agreed with you optimists. I really do.

But things are bound to look different to us, private-college educated coastal white-collar liberals. Sure, in Berlin everything looks modern and the cabaret is open all night to witty transvestites and the antics of holy-rollers and brownshirts snd kluxers and Comstocks seem like a joke. But these people are marching in Bavaria, they're listening to Father Coughlin and Mary Baker Eddy, and they're still smarting over Scopes even if they no longer "chant of Bryan, Bryan, Bryan".

All it'll take is an economic dislocation or another terrorist attack, and -- well, we all know what inflation and a Reichstag fire can do. It's happened in Germany and in Russia and in China and in Cambodia and it can happen here, and it's only a variety of good old-fashioned American exceptionalism to argue that it can't.
posted by orthogonality at 4:43 PM on February 11, 2006


Three cheers for Wendy DeVore.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:58 PM on February 11, 2006


Why are any references, hints, or depictions of sex considered to be so offensive? I believe that the answer is because of people's concerns that such references, hint, and depictions encourage or teach people how to have sex.

Shouldn't depictions of murder encourage or teach people how to murder using the same logic? Why are these conservatives so focused on sex? How can encouraging people to have sex be more dangerous than encouraging people to commit murder?
posted by flarbuse at 5:03 PM on February 11, 2006


matthewr -- yes, you're right.
posted by ericb at 5:12 PM on February 11, 2006


Torii Davis, a junior, said that in her psychology class earlier that day, most students predicted that "Little Shop of Horrors" would never pass the test.

"Audrey works in a flower shop," Ms. Davis said. "She has a boyfriend who beats her. That could be controversial."


Is working in a flower shop really controversial?
posted by amarynth at 5:12 PM on February 11, 2006


Because the Bible says to smite your enemies, but sex for anything but procreation is sinful. It's pretty much that simple.
posted by Malor at 5:13 PM on February 11, 2006


flarbuse asks "Why are any references, hints, or depictions of sex considered to be so offensive? "
Take sex away from people. Make it forbidden, evil, limit it to ritualistic breeding. Force it to back up into suppressed sadism. Then hand the people a scapegoat to hate. Let them kill a scapegoat occasionally for cathartic, release. The mechanism is ages old. Tyrants used it centuries before the word "psychology" was ever invented. It works, too.
-- Robert Heinlein, in 'If This Goes On—', his novel about a theocratic tyranny in America
posted by orthogonality at 5:14 PM on February 11, 2006


So, all you need to get things done these days are letters from three ignorant morons (one of which didn't even know what the play was about) sent to an equally-ignorant school superintendant. I'll keep this in mind.
posted by wakko at 5:17 PM on February 11, 2006


Here's the part I love best, though - A Midsummer Night's Dream features pre-marital sex, drug-induced lust-filled hallucinations, and bestiality with a character named "Bottom" who is arguably a human-animal hybrid.
posted by tzikeh at 5:19 PM on February 11, 2006


They should do a stage version of Footloose next.
posted by my sock puppet account at 5:19 PM on February 11, 2006


When I was in high school, I wasn't allowed to wear a hat, smoke on school property, eat in the hallways, talk during class, swear within earshot of a teacher, chew gum, post unapproved notices or be on school property after 4:00. Despite appearances, these injustices did not harken the rise of a new thousand year reich. Until adults, and not children, are forbidden by law from performing Grease on stage, something tells me this is neither a harbinger of doom, nor even something to pay any attention to, if you're not in Fulton MO.
posted by loquax at 5:20 PM on February 11, 2006


Why not just a theatrical version of Song of Solomon?
posted by wakko at 5:21 PM on February 11, 2006


Huh, is the drama teacher Wendy DeVore the same Wendy Devore from this 1998 story? Look at the photos.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:23 PM on February 11, 2006


I'm not surprised the school received criticism from people who hadn't actually seen the play performed.
"Dijon mustard," Louderman says as the woman drives away. "I don't know what Dijon mustard is. Don't care to find out, either.
From a Washington Post story we talked about on the blue a few weeks ago.
posted by emelenjr at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2006


loquax: many of the behaviors you are describing could have been prohibited for many reasons

hat: sign of respect , a custom that has luckly disappeared..I don't think it had any religious connotation

smoke on school property: what about the non smokers ? In closed not well ventilated rooms is likely to annoy other people and may harm them ; also smoke tends to "stick" to everything and form a tar-like layer on stuff..this isn't good for property. As for ventilated place , it is well knows youngsters imitate behaviors even more then adults and are more likely to feel pressed to conform..smoking is a provable not positive habit (I speak as an ex-smoker).

food in hallways : probably because they had little cleaning personnel and a spill could happen ? Anyway doesn't make much sense, but eating isn't always a medical necessity.

swearing: yeah that's bullshit, yet teachers were supposed to be role model not tolerating swearing. A lot of people still have troubles understanding "swearing" is as much offensive as one chooses to make a word "offensive" And chew gum ? Try cleaning it and youngster didn't always dispose of them correctly.

these injustices did not harken the rise of a new thousand year reich.

What do the restriction you listed have in common with not permitting certain display because 3 people outside the school are offended by it ? Nothing.

I am old enough to remember the climate of sexual repression, the "good behavior" ism restricting many manifestations on the grounds that "they are not appropriate" because no other reason could be found to restrict these activities.

Fuck that, I don't care if a reich will not come because of such restriction, It's not necessarily always about preventing global scale disasters, sometimes it is only about remembering past errors and not letting them repeat.
posted by elpapacito at 5:37 PM on February 11, 2006


We're teaching the children that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And the best American art is often the work that draws attention to the attitudes and values that undermine those tendencies.

Paradoxically, by doing so, it winds up that segment of US society that is less brave, and would prefer it if everyone else were less free.

Of course, crap art, like Grease and those cartoons of the prophet can accomplish much the same thing, but there's something almost poetic when a work like The Crucible provokes this sort of response.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2006


So, we are in the midst of a global riot laden incident that has sparked serious discussions about freedom of expression, and this principal thought its avoid controversy by taking this action?
posted by edgeways at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2006


I figured it out - they can't read.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:41 PM on February 11, 2006


I just think that people aren't remembering or aren't aware that American parents have always waged an odd jihad on pop culture. This particular incident is incredibly tame compared to, as I mentioned earlier, burning records by Judas Priest or burning all the copies of Fahrenheit 451 (not kidding) or whatever they used to do 15-20 years ago. Oooh, someone complained about a production of Grease at a high school! The only thing extraordinary about this is the reaction of the superintendent, which seems idiotic. Thankfully, he will probably, thanks to this article, be exposed as an idiot to all the other superintendents in the state. This is bad press for him. No educator wants to be seen as capitulating to four nutcases, but that's exactly how the article paints it.

I also get a bit worried about the direction this country is heading in, but if this sort of thing is really offensive to you, then I'm afraid you just aren't aware of the precedent of this sort of thing in American high schools. I'm glad that your sophisticated east-coast education sheltered you from such idiocy, orthogonality, but to those of us who were born in barns, I don't think this is going to cause us to lose too much sleep. And turn that rap music down!!
posted by billysumday at 5:50 PM on February 11, 2006


Is working in a flower shop really controversial?

Flower shop, you say?

The trade is full of homosexualists and people who grow illicit marijuana. Even those who aren't actively breaking the law are encouraging an extravagant sensual indulgence and are morally equivalent to crack dealers due to the way that they make the bulk of their profits from seducers and adulterers.

No, money spent on 'pansies' would be better off being donating to one of the Intelligent Design think tanks, or to the Republican Party where it would do some good.

And as for those florists, pack them all off to Guantanamo Bay before they infect the rest of our right-thinking community.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:51 PM on February 11, 2006


American parents have always waged an odd jihad on pop culture

Whoa the land of free allright
posted by elpapacito at 5:53 PM on February 11, 2006


Don't masquerade with the guy in shades. Oh no.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 5:56 PM on February 11, 2006


Whoa the land of free allright

Point me in the direction to the perfect society and I'll meet you there.
posted by billysumday at 5:59 PM on February 11, 2006


and bestiality with a character named "Bottom" who is arguably a human-animal hybrid.

Or at the very least, a furry/plushy.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:59 PM on February 11, 2006


billysumday: It isn't so much that any other society is perfect, as it is that this one seems to be getting worse.
posted by sotonohito at 6:09 PM on February 11, 2006


I guess this means that the Fulton Little Theater's production of The Ice Storm is out. Corky, the director, will not be happy.
posted by raysmj at 6:09 PM on February 11, 2006


American parents have always waged an odd jihad on pop culture

That's true, but they tend to lose.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:10 PM on February 11, 2006


billysumday: It isn't so much that any other society is perfect, as it is that this one seems to be getting worse.

And I'm saying people seem to be forgetting the 80's, the 70's, the 60's, etc.
posted by billysumday at 6:13 PM on February 11, 2006


American parents have always waged an odd jihad on pop culture

That's true, but they tend to lose.


Exactly.
posted by billysumday at 6:14 PM on February 11, 2006


I guess this means that the Fulton Little Theater's production of The Ice Storm is out.

As are The Laramie Project and a stage version of Brokeback Mountain.
posted by ericb at 6:15 PM on February 11, 2006


I guess this means that the Fulton Little Theater's production of The Ice Storm is out.

True, but maybe those wacky kids have enough gumption to put on an avant-garde show.
posted by billysumday at 6:20 PM on February 11, 2006


God, if you compare a modern high school senior year to the one depicted in Grease, I'd almost expect people to actually support a play about what is shown to be a much simpler moraller era. There's like 5 couples (kinda) and only one of the couples is having sex, and it's made clear that (at least for girls) this is waay frowned upon. There's allusions to drug use, but these kids aren't using drugs, not in the scenes at least. There's one scene involving drinking alcohol, but it's not like they're out doing it every weekend.

I mean, kids start doing meth and having sex like in junior high nowadays. This play isn't going to be putting thoughts in their heads.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:26 PM on February 11, 2006


I just think that people aren't remembering or aren't aware that American parents have always waged an odd jihad on pop culture.

really ... my high school drama senior was considered a communist by a lot of people because she was against the vietnam war and had her students arrange the chairs in a circle to talk ... truth is, i think the latter reason was considered almost as scandalous

across the hall, the biology teacher had bible quotes plastered all over the wall ... this was a PUBLIC high school, mind you

my first junior high school principal was a supporter of george wallace for president ... in MICHIGAN ... and later jointed the american independent party ... the john birch society was active then ... oh, and the whole reason for the existence of the small town of 3,000 that was next to the big town of 35,000 was that they wanted a seperate city and school district where they wouldn't have to send their kids to school with black people

i don't know anything about fulton, mo, but i can't believe the backwards and progressive elements in that town are any worse than what i was exposed to in my hometown ... where the white people nicknamed it "little detroit" ... and the black people nicknamed it "little mississippi"

so the chamber of commerce dickhead republicans still run the average small town ... no real news to me ... but they're not as bad as they used to be, trust me ... and my hometown's straightened out its act quite a bit in the last 30 years

ps - my drama teacher did put on the crucible at our high school ... she had tenure by then ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:58 PM on February 11, 2006


regressive elements, not progressive elements .... man ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:06 PM on February 11, 2006


so many "christians".....so few lions

The "Christ" i take my kids to learn about every Sunday was a radical bastard who wasn't afraid to tilt the occasional windmill.

This is just sick and...well I could start on Bush but I won't.
posted by timsteil at 7:15 PM on February 11, 2006


i'd hit it


posted by quonsar at 7:20 PM on February 11, 2006


Christ in a wigwam, the complainers should've seen some of the plays put on at my school - assuming they didn't faint at the sight of boys playing women and girls in Shakespeare, they'd've really flipped at our rather queer reading of Marlowe's Edward II, the various excerpts from Alfred Jarry plays that mostly involved shouting 'Psssshit!' really loud, Catullus readings complete with, um, gestures ... and this at a wildly conservative school (as in attending Chapel every morning, prefects in gowns, the cane only abolished the year before I started, etc.) which, funnily enough, still thought educating pupils in the arts was more important than offending prudish sensibilities.

Whatever, this is profoundly depressing - I mean, I could see a problem if they were doing, I dunno, The Traci Lords Story All Nude Revue, but the fucking Crucible?!
posted by jack_mo at 7:21 PM on February 11, 2006


All they've got left to do is "The Rocky Horror Show". Now that's wholesome entertainment for the entire family.
posted by drinkmaildave at 7:41 PM on February 11, 2006


i'd hit it



they call that jailbait for a reason ... meet bubba, your new roommate
posted by pyramid termite at 7:45 PM on February 11, 2006


encouraging an extravagant sensual indulgence...seducers and adulterers...

Peter McDermott...mmmmm.

Ok, on topic: 4th grade girls are text messaging and frequenting internet chatrooms full of pedophiles. Teens have seen more porn by age 16 than most adults. PG13 movies have a body count higher than Persian Gulf I. Yet, Grease is what the churchy folks are worried about in the High School? They should thank their God if seeing the school play is the raciest thing their high schoolers are doing.
posted by onegreeneye at 8:00 PM on February 11, 2006


they call that jailbait for a reason ... meet bubba, your new roommate

Actually, I think quonsar has a papal dispensation to hit whatever the fuck he likes.
posted by jmgorman at 8:17 PM on February 11, 2006


So where's an email address or phone number? We have the ability to sway minds, y'know. A polite but firm email about how asinine this all is, would go a long way to making these foolish gits understand that in most of the civilized world, people don't put up with this sort of religious meddling.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:02 PM on February 11, 2006


our rather queer reading of Marlowe's Edward II

I don't think there's any other way to read a play about a king who plagued by rumors that he preferred the company of men and was supposedly killed by being suffocated while a hot poker was shoved up his ass.

/derail
posted by papakwanz at 9:28 PM on February 11, 2006


Actually, I think quonsar has a papal dispensation to hit whatever the fuck he likes.

him and hundreds of other priests, right?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:14 PM on February 11, 2006


Midsummer Night's Dream features youth flouting the authority of their parents and the government and running off into the dangerous woods for the sake of forbidden love.

And once, those lovers were all played by men. Delicious.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:30 AM on February 12, 2006


Don't forget the frequent use of the word "ass" to describe said ungodly human/animal hybrid. Shameful, just shameful.

In my HS a few years back there was a controversy over a performance of Brighton Beach Memoirs because the play featured the main character, a 15 year old boy, talking about sex and masturbation.

There was some fussed raised, but the play was performed and there was even an article in the school paper about the whole thing, title Jesus People We're High Schoolers: It's fairly Safe to Assume We've Seen A 15 Year Old Boy Talk About masturbation Before.

Then again, we're one of the librul infiltrated unchristian Californian schools. And we also put on a good production of Grease. At least it was supposed to be good, I was never able to get tickets, as it sold out fairly quickly. I guess the allure of seeing one's classmates in flimsy fifties nightwear was too much for my fellow classmates.
posted by kosher_jenny at 2:51 AM on February 12, 2006


I think that if you go to most schools and start up some campaign to complain to their superintendent (or principal, whoever is paranoid) about a show the high school is putting on, they'll feel obligated to make some sort of crazy reaction and cancel things. I think at my high school my principal tried to cancel 5-6 of our shows, but our superintendent always overrulled him.

The only concession we ever ended up making was to tone down the orgy scene in Pippin. Although not very much.
posted by JZig at 4:06 AM on February 12, 2006


ericb: The quote you've given isn't actually by Shakespeare at all. Someone, on the internet, added a few scenes of their own. Googling "How could I thus I cannot comprehend" proves this.
posted by matthewr at 4:32 PM PST on February 11 [!]


Shakespeare is just as lewd, but more subtle and poetic. There should some juicy bits in the real play, though perhaps not as many as Romeo and Juliet. But then, it's all in the way you play it - played properly, Midsummer is not PG-13, it's AA. Possibly R.

Also, there's some nice lesbian subtext you can bring out with good acting.
posted by jb at 4:39 AM on February 12, 2006


I didn't realize there were still places in America that were this backward.
posted by Target Practice at 6:41 AM on February 12, 2006


Half of me wonders how these censorious bluenosed twits cope with their deep cultural schizophrenia. On one hand, they proclaim the self-evident superiority of the 1950s-era "values" of domestic battery, sexual shame, & political paranoia; on the other--this? Grease is exceedingly tame on all these fronts, in the end: nobody gets pregnant, nobody establishes a fifth column movement in the high school. Nothing.

And I'm sorry, but who the holy hell does this 26 year-old graduate student think he's speaking for? Having been a 26 year-old grad student at one point, it's profoundly unclear to me why anyone's listening to this godbothering Bowdler at all.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:04 AM on February 12, 2006


I hope the high-school students have learned a valuable lesson about censorship, abusive authority, and critical thinking.
posted by alumshubby at 8:37 AM on February 12, 2006


I agree with those here who have said that the events in Fulton represent nothing particularly new, surprising, or threatening to the concept of liberty.

That being said, there are two elements of the story that gave me pause:

1. The quasi-threat leveled at the drama teacher, implying that her contract may not be renewed at the school because she produced the same play that her superiors, including the principal, explicitly authorized her to stage.

2. The (already mentioned) tone of many of the students at the school, not just acquiescing to the complaints voiced by their parents and neighbors, but in many cases, looking ahead and applying the same flawed logic to preemptively censor future productions.

#1, I find disgusting and blatantly offensive.

#2, Is far more difficult for me to reconcile. I'm left with alternating feelings of pity, doom, cynicism, and moral superiority. I would like to think that their attitudes reflect the unique situation of a particular community in Missouri, rather than an example of some fundamental shift within our society. Not anything as simplistic as the "church'in-up" or "dum'in-down" of America, but something very real that speaks to how we view our place in the world, what kind of lives we want (and want others) to live, and our moral and ethical rights and responsibilities -- not just today, but for generations to come. I'm still unsure of what exactly I think it means, but for some reason I am left certain that it means something.

(Sorry for veering off-topic near the end... there just appears to be more to this story than the length of a nightgown.)
posted by trivirgata at 9:02 AM on February 12, 2006


[changed link to one not requiring login]
posted by jessamyn at 9:28 AM on February 12, 2006


It's all about control of our society, trivirgata. Will we become a socially liberal society that trusts individuals to make their own choices, or one that cowers under the command of a small, vocal, socially-conservative fundamentalists.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:48 AM on February 12, 2006


It's all about control of our society, trivirgata. Will we become a socially liberal society that trusts individuals to make their own choices, or one that cowers under the command of a small, vocal, socially-conservative fundamentalists.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:48 AM on February 12, 2006


I think that if you go to most schools and start up some campaign to complain to their superintendent (or principal, whoever is paranoid) about a show the high school is putting on, they'll feel obligated to make some sort of crazy reaction and cancel things

The Wizard of Oz: Flying Monkeys!! Flying Monkeys are the devil's instruments. And witches!?

Oliver!: Do we really want to be giving our children lessons in how to become a pickpocket?

The Music Man:
A musical that glorifies the life of a con man. What sort of message are we sending our children?

Romeo and Juliet: Teenagers disrepecting their parents and having sex. No!

Guys and Dolls: Do we really want our kids admiring gangsters and loose women?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:54 AM on February 12, 2006


I was trying to be hypercritical of plays and musicals I had actually been involved with in school and could not think of anything bad to say about Oklahoma! but then I remembered the song:

I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say "No"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:58 AM on February 12, 2006


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