Saturday, March 27, 2010

Corpus Christi, Texas

I've been following a story on Joe.My.God about Terrance McNally's play, Corpus Christi, and its controversial presentation at a small college in Texas. A student was set to stage scenes from it for a directing class at Tarleton State University, until people all the way up to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst started screaming about "the blasphemous gay Jesus play." Way to stay busy there, Dewhurst.

And congratulations are in order, because all your screaming got it canceled.

This is RIDICULOUS. Here's a quote from a Dallas News article about the school's president, F. Dominic Dottavio, defending the student's free speech. Of course, the prez makes sure we all understand he finds the play "offensive, crude, and irreverent" as he does so. There's a resounding support of students' academic pursuits for you. But I digress. See the quote below.
"Like every citizen of the country, the student who chose to direct excerpts from the play enjoys his right to free speech," wrote President F. Dominic Dottavio in a letter published today on the Tarleton State University Web site.

"This right is protected by law even if the speech is offensive to others."

He emphasized, however, that the university did not endorse the decision by student John Otte, 26, to present Corpus Christi as an assignment for an advanced directing class.

[...}

The performances are for students only. They are not open to the public, or to the news media.

"The play is a project for a class. It is not intended for the public any more than a student’s math assignment," Dottavio wrote. He noted that all actors are volunteers, and that no student "who finds the material objectionable" will be forced to attend.
The student wasn't even presenting the whole play. He was one of four classmates staging excerpts from different pieces, and now apparently none of the students get to present their work, even at 8 AM on a Saturday, which is how the class's professor first tried to respond to the controversy. RIDICULOUS.

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