Monday, March 9, 2009
Here's a neat story. So an Oregon high school decided to forbid its students from putting on a play, 'Picasso at the Lapin Agile,' because a parent complained that the show had references to drinking and sex. But a local college got a request to host the play, and according to state law, the university president says she has to allow the show to be presented there.
'LA GRANDE, Ore. (AP) — A play banned from La Grande High School will instead be done at Eastern Oregon University after the president said she had no choice but to allow a student group to rent space for the performance. University President Dixie Lund said last week she wouldn't allow high school students to perform Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" on the campus because the superintendent and school board had forbidden it in at the high school.'
Which is kinda cool, on the face of it. The underlying issues are more troubling, to me, however. For one, why has it come to this pass, where ONE SINGLE COMPLAINT can lead to a play, or a book or anything else being banned from schools because the precious snowflakes there may somehow be damaged by the material? I mean, really? Even referring to drinking or sex could so wound these kids psychically that we must ban a play from being performed? I may be out of the loop here, but I was under the impression that high school kids had some vague knowledge that something called 'sex' existed in the world. And I'm pretty sure they may have seen their parents drink at least once.
Now, i'm not saying we should broadcast 24-hour porn on wide-screens in classrooms (although, come to think of it, if you want students to pay attention...) But it seems clear that kids know a hell of a lot more than their parents think they know. And perhaps they even know more than their parents. The more you try to hide something from others, the more it peeks out.
The thought process that leads certain people to assume that they know best for everyone, and that they must somehow bravely step forward to prevent the soiling of others' minds is the last remnant of the dying patriarchy, the sad lostness of Old Religion, that charming set of superstitions and lies that was made up by our tribal ancestors in the desert in order to keep The Mob in line. One can only hope that we're moving forward towards MORE information, MORE exposure to new ideas for children. Good lord, we're getting dumber by the minute--thank the gods that someone realizes that kids aren't going to freak out and run off to join a sex and liquor cult (Elliot's?) upon seeing actors portraying people who drink and fuck.