Sunday, April 22, 2007

Are You Serious?

In an article from Yale Daily News:
In the wake of Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech in which a student killed 32 people, Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg has limited the use of stage weapons in theatrical productions. Students involved in this weekend's production of "Red Noses" said they first learned of the new rules on Thursday morning, the same day the show was slated to open. They were subsequently forced to alter many of the scenes by swapping more realistic-looking stage swords for wooden ones . . .

Wooden swords? Seriously? And this would have prevented the massacre at Virginia Tech by . . . I'm sorry. I'm coming up completely blank. I've no idea how swapping wooden swords for stage swords could have the vaguest impact on a guy shooting up a German classroom with very real guns.

But, hey, that's never stopped the inane banning by short-sighted bureaucrats of the campus Politboro. Actually, I've got a hint for you people. If you want to be consistent about it, you really should remove all violent verbiage from plays as well. That's actually hitting closer to the source, don't you think? Follow me here: Seung-Hui Cho wrote violent stories for an English class, did he not? Obviously, therefore, English lit and its violence-laden storylines contributed substantially to the Virginia Tech massacre and must be taxed. . .

I mean, banned. Sorry, it was that insidious Monte Python reference. It creeps into your brain at the oddest times. Which totally proves my point.

I tell you, literature in all forms can be quite dangerous. Who knows whether the shooter was actually inspired by a stray line from Brecht or (given the profanity) Mamet? And Shakespeare? Violence, impassioned speeches, and weapons. Talk about a triple threat! I think you'd best just steer clear of his works altogether. 'Cause you never know.

Oh, and come to think of it, you should ban clothing as well. I have it from a very good source that the killer was actually wearing clothing at the time of the attack. Clothing he had purchased much earlier, clearly demonstrating his premeditation. This ban would serve a practical function as well - without clothing, where would one keep the bullets? (Never mind. I don't really want to know.) And I have it on good authority half the campus would actually voluntarily enact this one.

UPDATE: They have rescinded the ban, but not without sour grapes snarking. Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg apparently stated:
"[P]eople should start thinking about other people rather than trying to feel sorry for themselves and thinking that the administration is trying to thwart their creativity … We have to think of the people who might be affected by seeing real-life weapons."
Dazzled as I am by the brilliance of that retort, I'd like to point out that "real-life weapons" aren't generally used on stage, and most of us do possess the intellectual capacity to know the difference.

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