Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Show Must Go On

The New York Times has an article about a drama class in Wilton, CT that wrote a play about the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, the principal is not letting the students show the play:

But even as 15 student actors were polishing the script and perfecting their accents for a planned April performance, the school principal last week canceled the play, titled “Voices in Conflict,” citing questions of political balance and context.

The principal, Timothy H. Canty, who has tangled with students before over free speech, said in an interview he was worried the play might hurt Wilton families “who had lost loved ones or who had individuals serving as we speak,” and that there was not enough classroom and rehearsal time to ensure it would provide “a legitimate instructional experience for our students.”

“It would be easy to look at this case on first glance and decide this is a question of censorship or academic freedom,” said Mr. Canty, who attended Wilton High himself in the 1970s and has been its principal for three years. “In some minds, I can see how they would react this way. But quite frankly, it’s a false argument.”

I doubt the same thing would be happening if this were a play that celebrated the war in Iraq. And if it were, I would guarantee that the Right Wing nutjobs would be all over this story and would take it on as a pet project. Hell, John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly would both write books about it.
Yet, even after 4 years of this failed war, we cannot really talk about it. No one is allowed to talk about the damage it has caused or its horrors. We are all left to sit on our hands and kindly shut the hell up. Any honest assessments are thought to demoralize the troops or offend the delicate sensibilities of the supports for this war.


Anonymous said...

In reading the NY Times article and blogs surrounding the subject of the play "Voices in Conflict" that was cancelled at Wilton HS, I was struck by the language used to convey the story, and therein lies the REAL story.

How is it that reporting has degraded to editorializing, absent of objectivity and largely devoid of substantive fact and corroboration?!?!?! What are they teaching in journalism schools across the country that vociferous ideological diatribes are labeled as news reports and considered to be worthy of first amendment protections. As I recall, the purpose of Freedom of Speech/the Press, was to protect the citizenry! Ensuring that We the People had access to the government and its' inner workings so as to guarantee that we were being served both honorably and fairly by those we chose to represent us. Portraying those innards with objectivity and honesty.

I think our fore fathers would be ashamed of what their good intentions bore. The fruits of their efforts to protect the citizenry have morphed into a thinly veiled vehicle by which to attack and hurt the very people it was designed to protect and serve; We The People. I don't find social value in "reports" that sacrifice the many for the sake of the few; I don't see advancing the discourse when only one voice is heard; I don't see objectivity in headlines that read "Play about Iraq divides a U.S. high school"," Wilton High School student's free speech rights ripped to shreds", etc. (as read in the NY Times, International Herald Tribune, and myriad blogs). Since when is 15 out of 1200 students, barely 1%, "dividing" a school; how are "free speech rights ripped to shreds" when in fact dissenting opinions are barely heard above the screams of anti-war rhetoric disquised as art and "reported objectively" over and over and over again.

Friends and neighbors, I submit that approbation and criticism are valid; necessary to ensure open and honest debate. But when criticism devolves to ranting, and approbation is all but absent, there is no debate to be had; there is silence in the public square. And that confetti left behind when the last of the rantings fade, they are the remains of the first amendment; free speech ripped to shreds. And that's an inconvenient truth!

Broca said...

I'll have what ever you had.

How does the NYT article threaten the public?
How did you decide that the article was biased? And, how could you write it so that it was unbiased?

To place the anti-war view as the view of the powerful is delusional. I know the right likes to wail about how they are terrorized by the left, but that is just not true. Watch the Sunday talk shows and you will consistently see politicians who originally supported this war.

If students wanted to put on a play that was pro-war and was stopped by the principal, Fox News would make it a headline story. In this case, however, the anti-war story is swept under the rug. Even after the anti-war position has been fully vindicated, we are shut out of the public discourse.

Pork Rinds said...

Well said "Anonymous," if that's your real name. You used several multi-syllabic words, so I know that you must be making a good point, though I'm admittedly too stupid to know what it is.