04 March, 2009

Playing Dirty

Well, well, well, well, well...

We have quite the little storm brewing here in La Grande. And now it's on the verge of blowing up into a hullabaloo in our once-quiet little hamlet.

The tempest, you see, is all because someone at the high school wants to put on a play. A bad, dirty play. By Steve Martin, he of the arrow through the head and (gasp!) banjo-playing. By all accounts, this is a play that, were it subject to the MPAA's rating system for moving pictures, would warrant a PG-13.

Well, we can't have that kind of nastiness working its way insidiously into our little cupcakes' delicate little heads, so someone did something about it: Got herself a petition together and got the play banned by the interim superintendent. And upon appeal, the meeting room was packed and the school board rejected the appeal, 4-3. So, no play. But then the Young Democrats at EOU (Go Mountaineers!), our local university, caught wind of the brouhaha and decided to rent university space for the banned play; so now the show, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, will indeed go on.

That might have been the end of it, but the story got picked up by the AP and then found its way to Fark.com (and quite possibly other news aggragate sites) and so now folks from faraway and exotic places (like upstate New York and western Oregon and probably even the South Pacific) have their knickers in a collective twist about the censorship efforts of our repressive, backwoods school board members/nazis. This is the kind of thing that happens in Oklahoma (or red-state places like it), not very blue, very libertarian Oregon!

It's moral outrage all around. And lots of letters to the editor.

Maybe in a few years we'll all look back and realize, as we often do in retrospect, that this was much ado about nothing. But for now, hoo boy!, is it much ado about something. It's now about the twelfth night since this all started, and still, every evening the local paper has at least two letters about this play.

Honestly, the whole thing has been amusing to watch.

Or sad. Everyone seems so invested in something so minor, as though this play is the last bit of grease necessary to send us down the slippery slope into either an inescapable moral abyss or a religio-fascist society worse than anything the world has ever seen, depending upon whom you listen to.

I kind of have a hard time working up too much passion for either side of this. I look around at spring awakening in our little valley and it is beautiful. And maybe that's reminder enough that life goes on, that this too shall pass, that there are bigger problems (and bigger blessings, too) in the world than whether our high schoolers perform a play with slightly off-color humor.

What I'm left wondering, though, is this: Does the nice, sincere lady who started the petition (ostensibly because this play offends her Christian values) let her children read the Bible? 'Cause that stuff will make your hair stand on end.

much peace, much love, etc.

Director's Cut: Alternative Ending
Since all of this began, something like 360,000 children have died of preventable causes. But there's been nary a letter to the editor about it, and zilch in terms of moral outrage. Maybe there's nothing we can do for those kids. But at least we've saved our children from making jokes about drinking and sex. God must surely be glad.

Director voiceover: Ultimately, we decided that this ending was a it too dour for the tone of the blog so we went for the "wry observation" ending instead.

1 comment:

  1. First of all...you may have been meek at school but that's because you saved it all for me at home (for examples please see the preacher's sister)...I'm not scared of you brother! One because you live way far away and two...you are 36 and I'm still a spunky 31!
    Having been a person in a couple of plays that had letters to the editor written about them (3 plays to be exact)I can say with 100% sincerity that me playing those roles did not affect my moral code whatsoever! It may have even given me more of a guide as to how I want to live my life. I think we have bigger fish to fry (of course on Fridays because it's Lent). I even think that maybe these high school kids have a sense of who they are and that this is pretend!
    love you