Is “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” Being Produced By The Most Unethical Theater Company There Is?

Atlanta’s Out Front Theatre Company’s production of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told”  opens on April 27, but Paul Rudnick’s 1998 silly comedy that recasts Bible stories with all gay characters is being protested as blasphemous. The outraged in this case is the conservative Catholic group America Needs Fatima, whose members are particularly offended by the spoof’s portrayal of the Virgin Mary as a lesbian. It has an online petition demanding that Out Front’s Artistic Director Paul Conroy cancel the production.

Sure. Like that’s going to happen.

“I fear God’s wrath will fall upon us if reparation is not made,” the hysterical screed concludes. Over 40,000 hysterics have signed it. Yes, I’m sure that God has nothing better to do than to punish humanity for a theatrical production of a 20 year-old comedy in Atlanta. The group then threatens to oppose the play “loudly, peacefully, and legally in as large a protest as we can help make possible” if the production goes forward. Idiocy, of course. Last I heard, nobody is forcing anyone to go to see the play, and the First Amendment is pretty clear about the ability of the law to censor performances based on content. The contention from the religious right in this case mirrors the Left’s fervent efforts at the moment to censor speakers they don’t agree with and “hate speech.”

If you don’t think that you will enjoy a play, the remedy is not to go see it. Simple as that. Trying to interfere with the production in any way, or to prevent those who want to see a production in which Adam and Eve become Adam and Steve, is unethical. It is also directly contrary to the principles the United States was founded to ensure.

Okay, that settles that.

Now about Out Front Theater Company….

The company’s mission statement on its website says that its “exists to tell stories of the LGBTQIA experience and community, through theatre and the performing arts, to the greater Atlanta area.”

That’s fine, a perfectly acceptable mission. However, in a New York Times article this week, the company is described as one which which stages shows “created only by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.” Since that reporter interviewed the artistic director for the article, I am assuming that this characterization is correct; if it isn’t the Times has some explaining to do.

That mission is NOT fine. In fact, only producing works by individuals who are LGBTQIA is pure discrimination and bigotry. (It is also hardly necessary, as my own experience in the theater suggest that gays et al. make up 75% or more of the artists involved.) Imagine a company that would only produce works by white playwrights, or male, or Christian, and how such restrictions would be received. Occasionally an argument can be made for a company to champion a group of playwrights and artists who have been historically marginalized by the theater community and industry, as in the case of female playwrights. Even then, rejecting a worthy play on feminist topics solely because the author is male would be discrimination per se, and unethical.

No such argument can be made to justify an LGBTQIA-authors-only policy however: it’s difficult to find playwrights who are NOT gay. Wikipedia has pages on 341 prominent gay playwrights, including giants like Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, William Inge, Oscar Wilde, Thornton Wilder, Lanford Wilson, and Terence McNally. That list doesn’t even include gay lyricists and musical comedy composers, like Stephen Sondheim. Lorenz Hart, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin and William Finn. Moreover, there is more anti-straight discrimination in the theater than antigay discrimination by far.

Gay artists embracing tribalism and anti-gay bias is self-destructive, and will only harden the biases of others against them. If the Times description is accurate (it is the Times, so that’s a real “if”), the Out Front Theater Company’s policy also violates the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act and federal law.

____________________________

Pointer and Facts: Huffington Post

 

185 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Law & Law Enforcement, Literature, Religion and Philosophy, Rights

185 responses to “Is “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” Being Produced By The Most Unethical Theater Company There Is?

  1. Deery

    Mission Statement
    Out Front Theatre Company exists to tell stories of the LGBTQIA experience and community, through theatre and the performing arts, to the greater Atlanta area.

    LGBTQIA Definitions
    L stands for Lesbian: Term used to describe female-identified people attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other female-identified people.

    G stands for Gay: Term used in some cultural settings to represent males who are attracted to males in a romantic, erotic and/or emotional sense. Also a term used to refer to the LGBTQI community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.

    B stands for Bisexual: A person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to males/men and females/women. This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others.

    T stands for Transgender: A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex. Sexual orientation varies and is not dependent on gender identity. This term is sometimes used to refer to the gender variant community as a whole.

    Q stands for Queer: An umbrella term which embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of the not-exclusively- heterosexual-and-monogamous majority. Queer includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transpeople, intersex persons, and many other sexually transgressive explorers. The term is also sometimes used as a sexual orientation label instead of ‘bisexual’ as a way of acknowledging that there are more than two genders to be attracted to, or as a way of stating a non-heterosexual orientation without having to state who they are attracted to.

    I stands for Intergender: A person whose gender identity is between genders or a combination of genders.

    A stands for Allied: Someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and genderstraight privilege in themselves and others; a concern for the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people; and a belief that heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are social justice issues. http://www.outfronttheatre.com/mission

    Unless you are saying that they should have bigots in their company, and I don’t think you are, I think they are quite ethical.

    • Go ahead, ignore what the post discussed. I said the published mission was fine. I specifically wrote that. All you did was repeat what I linked to and wrote.

      The second half of the post was based on what “Americas newspaper of record” said it’s actual mission was, in a statement apparent approved by the artistic director. You somehow pretended that part of the post doesn’t exist.

      Why do you do things like this?

      • deery

        That mission is NOT fine. In fact, only producing works by individuals who are LGBTQIA is pure discrimination and bigotry.

        I’m just going off what you wrote above.

        • No, you just quoted the published mission. Can you read? I wonder sometimes. “only producing works by individuals who are LGBTQIA” IS pure discrimination and bigotry. THAT mission is the one the Times published, not the one you pointlessly repeated from the web page.

          • deery

            Sigh, it is not discrimination and bigotry, as you mean it at any rate. LGBTQIA. That ‘A’ usually means straight people.

            • Read what was actually said Deery:

              “the company is described as one which which stages shows “created only by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.” Since that reporter interviewed the artistic director for the article, I am assuming that this characterization is correct; if it isn’t the Times has some explaining to do.”

              If Jack included a letter from the LGBTQQI&!f3M alphabet soup that wasn’t actually part of what the producer said, I can hardly blame him, a more amporphous acronym has never been cast. It doesn’t changet he fact that the producer did not, in fact, include the goddamn A.

              • deery

                I read that part, but that was what some reporter characterized it as in a very brief article, not what is actually on the website, which I would think would be dispositive. And then I looked at what Jack wrote, which in fact said that even the company’s mission on their website, producing works from the “LGBTQIA” community, was unethical.

                It was unclear whether it was a typo, whether he actually thought that was the case that it was unethical, or he was unaware of what the ‘A” in the acronym stood for. And so Jack always has the chance to clarify/correct/re-affirm. I’m not all that interested in beating people up over simple misstatements, but some elucidation was in order for me, and maybe for other people reading along.

                • Uh huh. Right.

                  So you took Jack saying “the company is described as one which which stages shows “created only by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.” Since that reporter interviewed the artistic director for the article, I am assuming that this characterization is correct” as to mean, “what is actually on the website, which I would think would be dispositive.”

                  While we’re at it, you should probably stop saying such nasty things about the KKK. I mean, their website bills them as “America’s Oldest Christian Organisation”, that’s just homey. There’s no racism there. Jeez.

                • If the article is accurate to the *interview* which it must be, or it had better correct itself *with a quickness*, then the words of the interviewee are more telling of likely practices than a published mission statement.

                  Essentially the take away would be that *if* the article is accurate, the website mission statement is just a “stay out of trouble” lie.

                  If they truly do hold to the website statement that means the interviewee is being misquoted, the journalist is flat out wrong or the interviewee misspoke severely.

                  Somewhere, someone, needs to make a correction.

            • Rusty Rebar

              Sigh…

              “created only by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.”

              Are lesbians straight people?
              Are gay people straight people?
              Are bisexual people straight people?
              Are transgender people straight people?
              Are questioning people straight people?

              No, to all of those. So if you bothered to read what the Times wrote, and what Jack posted you would see that you are arguing different points.

              “The company’s mission statement on its website says that its “exists to tell stories of the LGBTQIA experience and community, through theatre and the performing arts, to the greater Atlanta area.”

              That’s fine, a perfectly acceptable mission….”

              So, Jack has clearly stated here that he has no problem with this mission statement, however, he goes on to describe what he does have a problem with:

              ‘However, in a New York Times article this week, the company is described as one which which stages shows “created only by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.”’

              He even put it in bold print FFS.

              So either the NYT is being sloppy with their writing by stating that their mission is not what is written, or the mission statement is not actually what their mission is. In either case, you have failed at reading.

            • Jack has you on this.

              The website missions essentially says “only plays about ORIENTATIONALPHABET” whereas the article essentially says “only plays by ORIENTATIONALPHABET”.

              Those prepositions matter. And they sink your objection.

              • deery

                But “orientation alphabet”, at least as quoted by Jack, includes straight people.

                • Bzzzt.

                  You draw the Euler diagram of “allies” and “straight people”.

                  I’ll let you figure out your error from there.

                  • Bingo. “Allied” to gay rights is not a sexual orientation or gender.

                  • Deery

                    A stands for Allied: Someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and genderstraight privilege in themselves and others; a concern for the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people; and a belief that heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are social justice issues.

                    I’m actually well aware that “allied” can mean many things. Which is why I quoted from the website of the company. As they define it, it certainly includes straight people.

                    • Deery

                      Or at the very least, does not exclude them.

                    • Ah, your verbal rendition of your mentally summarized Euler diagram is that allies can “include” or “certainly not exclude” straight people.

                      So would that also imply that there are straight people that don’t fall inside the overall between the “allies” and “straight people” circles of your Euler diagram?

                      If so, then yes, the mission statement of excluding work unless it is *by* the type of people listed is discriminatory. Yet it is not discriminatory to exclude work unless it is *about* the type of people listed.

                      However, to look a few steps ahead and assume you will then say that any straight person not inside the “ally/straight” overlap in the diagram must be bigoted homophobes, I would submit that you would be creating a false dichotomy.

                    • deery

                      Considering that the beginning of the definition by the company reads: Someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and genderstraight privilege in themselves and others;

                      So yes, if you are comfortable with homophobia in yourself and in others, you probably are a bigot, and not an ally.

                    • So you are establishing a false dichotomy. Cool.

                      The characterization is somewhat bigoted on your part.

                      There are indifferent people who are too busy in life to pick up the activist role of an ally or believe the issue is not important enough to “champion”. There are also people in life who are not anti-homosexuality or anti-alphabetorientationsoup who also refuse to be an “ally” because of all the other political expectations that entails.

                      Your false dichotomy fails you and causes you to smear entire swathes of the population.

                    • deery

                      There are indifferent people who are too busy in life to pick up the activist role of an ally or believe the issue is not important enough to “champion”.

                      Yes, if you are “too busy” to not be a homophobe, then you are a bigot. If you are “indifferent” to acts of homophobia happening around you, meaning it doesn’t bother you at all, then yes, you are a bigot. It really isn’t a difficult thing to do. You don’t have to be an “activist” to be an ally, in fact, I would think the vast majority of people who are allies are not activists.

                    • About allies: Yeah, tell yourself that…

                      You see, most people who simply won’t mistreat others don’t call themselves Allies…they call themselves fellow americans.

                      No, you know better than that. Ally is definitely an activist label…level of activism may vary, but don’t try to kid yourself or others.

                      Just accept you’re pushing a false dichotomy. It’s a key one. And it sinks even further your original objections to Jack.

                    • Chris

                      There are indifferent people who are too busy in life to pick up the activist role of an ally or believe the issue is not important enough to “champion”. There are also people in life who are not anti-homosexuality or anti-alphabetorientationsoup who also refuse to be an “ally” because of all the other political expectations that entails.

                      Sure, but not including those people in this particular theater company is perfectly fair, and not bigoted in the slightest. The theater company has an activist mission; it has no duty to include those who don’t agree with that mission.

                      (Before you say it, yes, I know you were taking exception to deery’s dichotomy. I define the term “bigotry” much more broadly than you do, so I’m not going to comment on whether or not I think it’s a false one.)

                      I agree with Jack that if they refuse to include straight allies they are wrong. I’m not sure I buy Jack’s assertion that there is a bias against straight people in theater, but there are definitely enough gays in theater to eliminate the need for a “gays-only” theater group. But my guess is that deery is right that the website is probably more correct than the article. In which case, tex is right that it should be modified.

                    • deery

                      You see, most people who simply won’t mistreat others don’t call themselves Allies…they call themselves fellow Americans.

                      And people who do mistreat other people also will call themselves fellow Americans, quite fervently, unfortunately.

                      But I think that you are trying to make a point here, and it eludes me.

                      The mission, as stated by the company, does not exclude straight people, as straight people can be allies.

                      Is it discriminatory nonetheless? I think so, but not in the way that Jack outlined, because any company that isn’t producing plays at random is going to be discriminatory on some level. That would be a feature, not a bug.

                      But is it discriminatory against straight people for a company that is interested in telling stories of the LGBTQIA experience and community to decide that if they produce stories by straight people, they should be allies? I don’t see it. That was in fact Jack’s very example, only he used women/feminism.

                • And the quoted mission-statement in question is the times article which doesn’t mention allies…

                  So you’re still sinking. And hanging on an ambiguously worded sentence by Jack doesn’t rescue your objection.

            • Here, let me make this so clear even you can understand it when you are trying not to, God knows why.. The published mission says the theater produces specific content. That’s an ethical mission. The mission as the Times describes it says that only certain categories of people, based on their sexual practices and orientation, will be permitted to create and submit such content, as in “created only by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.”” “Questioning” does not mean “straight.” Questioning means “I don’t know what I am.”

              From the Daily Beast GUIDE:

              Gender Questioning– Someone who may be questioning their gender or gender identity, and/or considering other ways of experiencing or expressing their gender or gender presentation.

              Got that, deery? Confused. Not Straight. In doubt. The mission I was discussing does not allow straight people to write plays that the group will produce. Is that clear enough now? I wouldn’t want YOU to be confused, now. Even though what I wrote the first time was clear as a fucking bell, I wouldn’t want you to misunderstand.

              So I established at the outset that the mission as published was fine. The quoted mission, however, as it is based on discrimination against straight playwrights, is pure bias and bigotry, focusing on what an artist IS or BELIEVES rather than what the content of their work is. That’s discrimination. By definition.

              Christ.

              • Deery is trying to make hay from your sentence:

                “That mission is NOT fine. In fact, only producing works by individuals who are LGBTQIA is pure discrimination and bigotry.”

                Where I think you accidentally mischaracterize the literal assertion of the Times article which doesn’t include “A”. But your statement does.

                Deery is quibbling on that point. Take the A off and maybe deery will be satisfied.

              • deery

                The mission, as characterized by the reporter, also leaves out the intersex and queer from the company’s mission, which tend to be a big deal. I’m pretty confident that this was just an attempt at restating the mission, with some nods to brevity, done by someone who lacked much experience with the community he is reporting on.

                • If that is the case, the article needs to amended. It isn’t up to thousands of readers to come to a “what did the author mean by this” consensus.

                  That isn’t how communication works.

                  • (And if the author reasserts that, “no, the director literally told me that they *only* do works by *such-and-such type* of people” then it isn’t the author who needs to correct things)

            • That’s news to me. I thought the A stood for asexual.

              • Depends who you ask, at which time of day, and whether they had a fulfilling poop in the morning. No one “knows” what those acronym letters stand for, because everyone interprets them differently. It’s yet another example of the left side of the political spectrum intentionally muddying definitions for dis-ease of use.

                • Chris

                  …Or, alternately, different people in the LGBT+ community have suggested the “A” means different things, and there is no all-powerful LGBT+ Pope who can decide for everyone.

                  • Right, but doesn’t that just prove my point? For any conversation with an activist, I either have to spend hours hashing out definitions, or prepare for a cascade of misunderstanding, because your side condones and even encourages every individual to have their own version of the dictionary. “What does this theory mean?” and “What does that acronym stand for?” has been replaced with “What do these things mean to you?” Frankly, even I, one of the most self centered and awesome people I know, am not so full of myself so as to think that I should be able to redefine words to suit my adgenda. I work within the language to describe things that I think are true, progressivism uses language as a smoke screen.

                    • It’s like rhetorical ninja smoke.

                    • Chris

                      I’m sorry you find arguing with individuals rather than hive minds frustrating. But you’re not describing a left-wing phenomena; you are describing a human one. Libertarians have different definitions of the “free market;” that doesn’t make arguing with a libertarian especially difficult, it just means you might need to ask them how they define their terms upfront.

                    • And I’m sorry for your crippling reading comprehension problems and your masochistic longing for confusing conversation.

            • Neil Dorr

              deery:

              It means “asexual” or “allied” depending on who you speak with. But no, it does not mean straight allies are part of the larger LGBTQ umbrella.

            • No, “A” is specifically defined as “someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and genderstraight privilege in themselves and others[.]” What, in the name of Mike, does that mean?

              According to the theater directors comments in the NYT, this group only performs plays dealing with certain issues. If I write an excellent play about the people struggling to pay their mortgages and credit card debts while dealing with a sick relative, where the entire play does not deal with gender or sexuality, this theater group would not perform the play. That is, by definition, exclusionary and discriminatory.

              jvb

              • Chris

                According to the theater directors comments in the NYT, this group only performs plays dealing with certain issues. If I write an excellent play about the people struggling to pay their mortgages and credit card debts while dealing with a sick relative, where the entire play does not deal with gender or sexuality, this theater group would not perform the play. That is, by definition, exclusionary and discriminatory.

                Sure, but it’s not what most people think of when they think of “discrimination,” and it’s a perfectly valid thing to discriminate over.

                • Hmmm . . .

                  By the way, I apologize for the grammatical error. It should read, “According to the theater director’s comments”, and not, “According to the theater directors comments”. My 10th grade English teacher would confiscate my computer for such a glaring error. I hang my keyboard in shame.

                  jvb

            • Chris marschner

              Then what is the point of the long drawn out mission statement?

              Why not a more succinct mission statement that says we only produce works of artists who embrace all forms of human sexuality?

    • deery

      Imagine a company that would only produce works by white playwrights, or male, or Christian, and how such restrictions would be received.

      And of course, we are going to ignore the fact that there are plenty of companies out there that only produce plays by white males? Is it better that they just don’t announce it? In the case of those companies, thy benefit enormously from the spotlight by the “default” already being set as white and male. People tend not to question producer choices even when they consistently have plays by white males.

      • Can you prove those companies are intentionally selecting only white male producers?

        No?

        Aight then. Nothing else to see here.

        • deery

          That is the “default privilege” of which I wrote. They don’t have to. They just do it. And no one bats an eye. Other identities have to be more explicit, otherwise everything automatically reverts to that default.

          • So they aren’t intentionally selecting white males over others?

            So no discrimination…

            Nothing to see there. Move on.

            • Chris

              It’s great that texaggo4 has conclusively proven that subconscious forms of discrimination don’t exist. Decades of studies and testimony upended by a pithy, four-sentence Internet comment. Good work. Important work.

                • Chris

                  Thanks, OB. I’ve long had issues with the implicit bias test, so I’m not surprised by those findings. Of course there is other research indicating subconscious bias exists.

              • Anti-discrimination laws are aimed towards intentional discrimination. There are no laws that can possibly regulate unconscious bias.

              • When people have governed their conduct so well that they are now down to subconscious “racism”, I think it’s down to a level where there are literally thousands of other things working for and against any one individual that the differences are immaterial and focusing on a single aspect is useless. Certainly the resultant demands for correction will cost more than simply asking and expecting each of us to live and let live and to do the best we can with what we can.

                “the world is hostile in any number of important respects for ALL of us in different and unique ways … perhaps the way to view things when we talk about equality and fairness is there is an impossible standard, it’s a narrower standard, which is to set “equality under the law” as a minimal goal and secondary to that is “not doing any harm”” -Kmele Foster

                “At the end of the day we are ALL, every *individual* one of us born with some positional/situational/contextual advantages and some disadvantages. Along the way through our own conduct and experiences either increase/decrease, build/destroy, or mitigate/exacerbate on those.

                There is not a single chance in 100 trillion that any observer can accurately quantify the myriad of myriad ways in which any individual’s advantages/disadvantages interact in that individual’s thousands of opportunities in life. There is not a single chance in 100 trillion that any analyst can accurately quantify and apply “weights” to each individual advantage in relation to others.

                The problem isn’t the word “intersectionality”, the problem isn’t even the concept. The problem is, “what to do about it”. And, as one commentator noted above, this will ultimately boil down to the classic argument of “equality under the law” or “equality of outcomes”.

                To this point, I don’t think we can effectively tackle “problems” arising from intersectionality without incurring a cost we choose not to analyze in the name of “good intentions”. I would rather we reserve our cultural energies for simply doing our best on an individual level to work as hard as we can and to individually treat each other as well as can.

                Reserving our energies for wandering the streets constantly contemplating how unfair our individual advantages are combined with contemplating how our disadvantages are a ready made excuse for our own outcomes, and reserving those energies for massive social experiments in equal outcomes only registers with me as assigning a huge psychological debt burden that can never be paid and will only slow us down as a people.

                I am all for introspection as individuals – consider how you can increase the comfort of those around you all the time without adversely affecting any obligations you must attend to while simultaneously assuming others are doing so as well, until outright conduct proves otherwise. Though introspection on “intersectionality” seems to increase tribalism, I don’t really have a problem with pondering it – on a individual level, so long as one doesn’t allow it cloud their interpretation of their own results in life. It isn’t an excuse. I don’t think obsession on “intersectionality” is good for a culture that NEEDS unity.” –Me

                By the way, weak response. Didn’t even address the objection towards deery’s use of the term “intentional”. Resort to diversion.

          • I have family (of whom we rarely speak) who work/worked in the Theater Arts at several levels. We have never heard of selecting a play based on who wrote it (well, outside of Shakespeare) but based on ‘is it a good play?’ or ‘can we sell tickets?’

            I have never been in -or to- a play where I have known more than the gender of the author, and that could have been wrong assumption on my part, since I guessed by the name on the playbill. And I don’t care as long as the content is entertaining.

            sheesh

      • Rusty Rebar

        You do know that some gay men are also white males right?

      • There are NO companies that have a mission or pursue one saying that they will only produce plays by white males. If a Shakespeare company only produces the Bard, that is not based on race but content.

        • deery

          There are NO companies that have a mission or pursue one saying that they will only produce plays by white males.

          Ah, yes, a variation on the “why is there no white history month/white entertainment network” question, which completely ignores societal defaults. If there was a theater company out there that did this, only produced plays by white males, how would look materially any different than what most companies already do? And there is your answer on why some people have to be explicit, while others can be implicit about race and gender..

          • Why is it that EVERY other country in the world gets to set their standards by the majority population EXCEPT ours?

            In Mexico, for instance, the cultural norms are their traditional beliefs and laws. Japan is blatantly xenophobic, as are most Asian countries, where racism is rampant. Muslim countries choose, in many cases, to mix religion and law, kill LBGT-whatevers openly, and allow slavery. All of these are, mainly, governed by the majority population in those nations, and this is their right, according to progressives.

            America is majority white. We accept other cultures, and are the most giving country on Earth. We had an issue with race relations, and in my youth we just about had it resolved (far more than most other nations, who do not torture themselves about their past.) Now we are told we have ‘implicit bias about race and gender’ and operate out of ‘societal defaults.’

            Societal defaults?!? Of course we do! So what?

            This is true throughout human history, and it should be so. The majority built the nation involved, ipso facto (not minimizing the contributions of any race or creed, just stating the facts) and should not be made to be ashamed of the accomplishments of their forefathers.

            Why should America be held to a different standard? Other nations as a matter of course do all these things:

            -all others are allowed to set borders. Some have chosen to ignore them to signal virtue, and are having issues due to that choice, but go get caught in, say, Mexico or Russia illegally, and watch how you are legally treated. We are some sort of -ist or -phobic if we enforce our borders

            -all others can choose a national language, but we are racist if we do. Aliens are expected to learn the language to live in those countries, but we have to print ballots in the language of whatever group who can’t be bothered to assimilate (I suspect it is also whatever group the politicians are trying to co-opt for political purposes)

            -all others can demand standards for voting, including picture ID, but we are racist if we do (even though some states have done this for decades and had no issues)

            -all others deny work to non citizens, or restrict it greatly. We are not allowed to enforce these rules, and are called some sort of -ist or -phobic for wanting to try

            -other countries can work in their own best interest, on the world stage, in trade or political posturing. America is not allowed, according to the progressives

            The list goes on and on. I am not saying there are not problems in our system, but they are no worse than what other nations have and never even try to resolve. Holding ourselves to a higher standard is laudable, until we are denigrating our own majority in the name of political power and enforced cultural change. That majority is what made it possible for America to be what she is, all of the good she has done:

            American whites, in general, went to war and abolished slavery (the first nation to do so), after a Southern Democratic hissy fit split the nation (sound familiar?)
            American whites, in general, fought The Great War (WWI) to stop dictators from consuming democracies, once we were attacked and enraged.
            American whites, in general, fought to stop the Axis powers from subjugating the planet once we were attacked, and enraged. Without them, WWII would have been lost.
            American whites, in general, stared down the Soviet Union, whose stated purpose was world subjugation and domination.
            American whites, in general, created the worlds most productive economy and spread that wealth across the planet.
            American whites, in general, created cures for disease and methods for healing wounds that for all of human history were death sentences for their victims.

            Now American whites, in general, are told their very existence is the problem, and that other creeds and races should hold the reigns of power based on nothing but their race and beliefs (despite how countries that are run like this tend to be cesspools.)

            American whites, in general, are either to be subject to the rhetoric, virtue signalling at every turn, or are to be ridiculed, persecuted, and destroyed. Our religion is denigrated, while another which actively enslave, subjugates, and murders are lauded by progressives.

            Well, American whites, in general, are getting tired of the bullshit. Progressives are poking the sleeping giant again. That has never gone well in the past (ask Japan or Iraq), and the election of Trump is only the first shock wave as more and more see progressives for what they are, by their actions, arrogance, and lawlessness.

            PS: I could have asserted Christian American whites anywhere above and been as historically accurate.

            • Answer: Being exceptional’s a bitch.

              • Can you honestly assert that the changes most progressives champion for our nation will make America exceptional?

                Why is America exceptional? Who played the majority role in that? So why are we tearing that down if we want to be exceptional?

                • No, I’m saying that one of the reasons the US is exceptional is that cultural norms that are good enough for other countries aren’t for us. You essentially are making the same argument as “every other country has national health care/ gun bans/ no capital punishment so the US should follow their example”, right?

                  • To give the obvious answer to the “why” question, the US has proven itself exceptional by being the most successful, wealthy, influential and altruistic society in the world over its first 250 years, and by being the only nation in history that champions individual liberties and human rights.

                  • Am I? I will have to think about that: my brain fault indicator just tripped 😦

                    My point is that the traditional viewpoints and societal defaults are tolerated (even admired) in other nations as their right to be so, but not here.

                    Is that a good thing? It can be, but it is being taken too far, IMHO, in that it is tearing the nation down much like a virus destroying its host.

                    I have a long drive this evening, and I will cogitate on this.

                    Thanks for the food for thought, Jack.

            • Chris

              Well, that was some boiler-plate paranoid racial resentment.

              In Mexico, for instance, the cultural norms are their traditional beliefs and laws. Japan is blatantly xenophobic, as are most Asian countries, where racism is rampant. Muslim countries choose, in many cases, to mix religion and law, kill LBGT-whatevers openly, and allow slavery. All of these are, mainly, governed by the majority population in those nations, and this is their right, according to progressives.

              Please cite progressives saying that Muslim countries have a “right” to kill LGBT people.

              Your notion that we are the only country to feel shame about our past is ignorant; Germany, for example, has taken far greater steps to make amends for the Holocaust than we ever have to make amends for things like slavery or Native American genocide.

              Now American whites, in general, are told their very existence is the problem, and that other creeds and races should hold the reigns of power based on nothing but their race and beliefs (despite how countries that are run like this tend to be cesspools.)

              No, we aren’t told that.

              Our religion is denigrated

              All white people share one religion? Color me surprised.

  2. Jeff H.

    I would like to hear about anti-straight discrimination in the theater industry, mostly because it’s the sort of thing a lot people are going to look at and sneer at, based on whatever they think about the world and who gets discriminated most often.

    • I’ve been tempted to write about this for years. It’s a bit easier now that I’m not directly involved in area theater.

      • Other Bill

        I’d love to see that post. There’s nothing more enjoyable good, live theater (and possibly nothing worse than BAD live theater). I enjoyed acting as a college freshman and sophomore but was completely mystified and put off by all the gayness and the enthusiastically enabling girls who encouraged it. A big disappointment.

        • Other Bill

          “than” missing in first line.

          • Other Bill

            By the way, my straight college room mate and used-to-be good friend has had an admirably successful career as a playwright for the London and Broadway stage. I think he did so by essentially being a Marxist and Noam Chomsky fan, which allowed him to get him past the fact he wasn’t gay with the powers that be.

        • Spartan

          How does a girl enthusiastically enable gayness?

          I’ve done a lot of theater — and with a lot of straight men. The straight boys got all the dates because they had less competition.

          • Other Bill

            The girls I’m referring to all just cooed around the gay director that was brought up from The City as if every word he said was the height of brilliance and witty insight. They thought he was wonderful. He was just a jerk.

          • Chris

            How does a girl enthusiastically enable gayness?

            I’m sure there’s a Jack Chick cartoon explaining that very thing!

          • It happens. I have no idea why.

            It’s like there’s a certain type of woman who hears “Actually, I’m gay.” and they translate it to: “Oh my god, here’s a guy that I know isn’t trying to sleep with me, he’s so safe and cute and cuddly! He’s like some kind of strange, magical creature…. I must latch on to him and attempt to understand him, for science! Plus, I’ve always wanted a gay friend, gotta catch ’em all! The best way to do that is to pretend a portion of my brain has liquified, swoon over him (it’s ok, he’s safe) and talk to him with a voice three octaves higher than normal with a vocal fry that ends at a point only dogs can hear. Because that’s gay kryptonite.”

  3. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Eh, I see no difference between this kind of protest and the half-hippy half-mystic types who try to interfere with airshows or parades, who are regularly hailed as great principled people by the left. Someone should explain the difference between this and those who don’t agree with a statue or memorial vandalizing it until the authorities just decide to remove it. The fact is this is just the same principle of being a determined, loud minority who eventually gets their way, not by winning hearts and minds, but by outlouding and outlasting everyone else.

    As for the company only producing plays written by certain kinds of people, I am tempted to just shrug. When university students can segregate themselves in an African Heritage House, the Muslim Alliance excludes “Abrahamic allies” from meetings, and the women’s forum runs women-only meditations, but the Knights of Columbus, the Woodmen of the World, and other fraternal organizations that tend to be mostly white are sneered at as relics of a time long gone and best forgotten, something like this is par for the course. I wouldn’t see their plays, and I may not see another Broadway production going forward. Mom liked going, but she’s gone now, dad’s not into it, and I won’t spend money myself to support artists who probably would loathe a conservative like me.

  4. I have no problem with people protesting the substance of the play.

    But yes, demanding its cancellation goes too far.

  5. Wayne

    It’s a propaganda organization promoting the LGBT etc. lifestyle with an anti-Christian bias plain and simple. Gays who are Christians should be ashamed of this group and forego buying tickets for it’s productions.

  6. “The contention from the religious right in this case mirrors the Left’s fervent efforts at the moment to censor speakers they don’t agree with and “hate speech.””

    They…. Aren’t wrong. No… Really… Be fair.. There isn’t much difference between a production like this, that is red meat thrown to a very specific audience, that is basically designed to offend a very specific group, and any other red meat production meant for a specific audience that is going to offend a very specific group.

    This is in the same category as Piss Christ or Muhammad Art Galleries (Except people don’t often get shot at Piss Christ. Just saying.). And because it’s in the same category, we should be ideologically consistent: I’m going to be consistent that free speech, even free speech that offends, should enjoy the protection of the first amendment.

    Would all the blessed progressives that think that drawing Mohammad should be banned as a hate crime, please lend your support to the fundamentalist Christians here attempting to kibosh gay biblical productions?

    Oh. I thought not.

    • You aren’t saying that Progressives aren’t consistent are you??!!

      That’s so mean spirited.

    • Chris

      Would all the blessed progressives that think that drawing Mohammad should be banned as a hate crime, please lend your support to the fundamentalist Christians here attempting to kibosh gay biblical productions?

      Who are these people?

      • Other Bill

        Oh, to name a few, the media outlets that won’t publish the cartoons of Mohamed for which people have been murdered? Or Hillary Clinton who went after a movie guy for insulting the Muslim world for producing a movie about Muslims. While trying to miss-characterize her ineptitude in running the State Department? Or our prior President who tried to appease the Muslim world on his apology tour of the Middle East. Or all the people who blamed the “Charlie Hebdo” people for their being murdered? Those people?

        Come on, Chris. Why the rope-a-dope playing dumb?

        • Chris

          Oh, to name a few, the media outlets that won’t publish the cartoons of Mohamed for which people have been murdered? Or Hillary Clinton who went after a movie guy for insulting the Muslim world for producing a movie about Muslims. While trying to miss-characterize her ineptitude in running the State Department? Or our prior President who tried to appease the Muslim world on his apology tour of the Middle East. Or all the people who blamed the “Charlie Hebdo” people for their being murdered? Those people?

          Other than that last one, none of those positions imply that one thinks drawings of Mohammed should be “banned as a hate crime.”

          • Other Bill

            You’re just incredibly literal when you think it’s too your advantage, Chris. You really should go to law school and become a defense attorney. You’d make a fortune at it. You’re conversational default setting is “Prove It!” You’ve got the perfect mindset for defense work.

            • Other Bill

              By the way, I consider all three of the positions taken as being cut from the same cloth. when has the Obama/Clinton State Department ever said a peep about the murder of Coptic Christians? Or Israelis, for that matter?

              • Chris

                By the way, I consider all three of the positions taken as being cut from the same cloth.

                They’re not.

                Oh, to name a few, the media outlets that won’t publish the cartoons of Mohamed for which people have been murdered?

                This does not even imply that the media outlets think there’s anything wrong with the cartoons. It could just as easily imply that they don’t want to be murdered.

                Or Hillary Clinton who went after a movie guy for insulting the Muslim world for producing a movie about Muslims.

                It depends on what you mean by “went after.” She criticized him in public and according to some of the Benghazi parents went further in private. Her public critiques struck me as measured and fair. The video was incredibly insulting…and more importantly, was not well made, well researched, fair, or intelligent. It added nothing to real dialogue about Islam, it was only made for the purpose of hate. But she also pointed out that we have freedom to be that way in America and that the video was no excuse for violence.

                Allegedly, in private she told some of the Benghazi parents that the guy who made the video would be punished for it. Now technically, making the video was a violation of the guy’s parole, since he was a fraudster who was forbidden to use computers…but the allegations make it sound like she said she was going to have him arrested because by making the video, he was responsible for the terror attack that killed their sons. That’s more in line with what you’re talking about, and if she really said that, then you have a point.

                Or our prior President who tried to appease the Muslim world on his apology tour of the Middle East.

                That did not happen.

                http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2012/jan/20/ted-cruz/ted-cruz-says-obama-made-worldwide-apology-tour/

                when has the Obama/Clinton State Department ever said a peep about the murder of Coptic Christians? Or Israelis, for that matter?

                Glad you asked! Here are several examples of Obama and the State Department doing that.

                https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/19/remarks-president-summit-countering-violent-extremism-february-19-2015

                https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm

                http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/18/politics/kerry-condemns-jerusalem-synagogue-attack/

            • Chris

              When people say that their political opponents want something banned, I tend to think they literally mean their political opponents want something banned, and that’s why they’re objecting.

              If they are perfectly aware that their opponents don’t actually want that thing banned, but are saying so anyway in order to make their opponents look worse than they really are, then the problem is their strawman arguments, not my tendency to take them at their word.

            • It works, it shuts down intelligent conversations and insures that nothing worth discussing ever gets beyond the ” prove it” trap. This comment thread is a perfect example. Any parent of a 3 year old knows how the game is played. But, it cuts both ways. When people are ready to have a substantive conversation the literal babies are not part of it. Adults don’t get serious with 3 year olds who’ve learned how to play the “prove it” game and never gotten beyond the desire to obstruct.
              Defense work isn’t needed when it’s time to get things done.

              • Chris

                wyogranny, saying “my political opponents want to ban a thing” when they don’t want to ban that thing, and then using examples that don’t come close to advocating a ban to justify the initial argument, is not conducive to intelligent, substantive, serious conversation. It is in fact a strawman argument. The entire purpose is to be disingenuous and make one’s opponents appear worse than they really are.

                If a Trump critic says “Trump wants to ban all the Mexicans!” and then when called on it backs it up with “Look at the wall he wants to build,” would you consider that conducive to serious conversation? Would you tell someone who countered that this does not constitute a ban that they were being too literal, and that they were the ones inhibiting serious conversation?

                • wyogranny

                  I would consider getting into a “prove it” conversation with a 3 year old counterproductive and move on to discussions with adults. Which is what I will do now and ever in the future.

                • There’s a constructive way to deal with that, Chris. If they don’t literally mean what they say, then they mean something that they can’t articulate, and “ban” is the closest semantic term they have that captures their feeling. If it seems like they are using a straw man argument, it may be because they don’t fully understand what they object to. The solution is to help them construct the strongest form of their argument: an “iron man” argument, as it is known in rationality circles.

                  In this case, when a person says “this person wants to ban X”, what they mean might not be “this person poses a threat because they will create laws against X”. They might just mean “this person poses a threat because they are hostile to X and we think they will do various as yet unknown things to the detriment of X. We don’t trust them to protect X if it is threatened by outside forces.”

                  That’s the iron man argument I’ve constructed to replace “this person wants to ban X.” Now we don’t have to talk about whether a ban is legally possible, or whether the person’s actions are leading up to one. We can move on to talking about the questions people actually care about: whether we can trust this person to do right by X, whether we even need to be able to trust them in the first place, and what we should do if we need to trust them but can’t.

                  Identifying the questions people are trying to ask and answering those is much more productive than only answering the questions people are literally asking. Human cultures in general don’t put much effort into asking good questions. That’s a major factor in how we got to this point.

  7. To be fair to the petitioners, they’re not trying to get any laws passed to close the play. The First Amendment isn’t being invoked here. The petitioners are demonstrating that they really want the play closed down, in the hopes that the director will comply, and in order to sincerely say they did all they morally could to stop it. Many people could stand to learn from their honor and restraint.

    They’re also not opposing it because it offends them. They are opposing it because they believe it is disrespectful to a magical energy being that deserves our respect, and that also might immaturely rain down natural disasters on us for insulting it, instead of talking things out. They’re a bit brainwashed, but by no means unethical.

    • EC wrote: “They’re also not opposing it because it offends them. They are opposing it because they believe it is disrespectful to a magical energy being that deserves our respect, and that also might immaturely rain down natural disasters on us for insulting it, instead of talking things out. They’re a bit brainwashed, but by no means unethical.”
      ____________

      Heh heh. That was sort of funny!

      I think there are various levels here. First, I am totally opposed to these people putting on such a play. I have read enough of my Nietzsche to know that ‘praying for your enemies’ when, in fact, you desire hot coals to rain down on them, indicates a rather perverse undercurrent in Christian psychology, still though, I am one of those who cooly and even *intellectually* wishes to see hot coals rain down …

      But my reasons are that I do not at all believe in disrespecting sacred traditions. I would offer the same respect to Hindu ceremony, Japanese ceremony, and what-have-you. I will spare ye the Jeremiad on all that though.

      I have taken up the study of Catholic doctrine and find it marvellous and very rich. I actually made it most of the way though the Catechism of Trent (Catholic Counter-Reformation). Now that is a radical document!

      Once one understands the ‘revolutionary spirit’ that has captured the West, which has brought revolutionary change — and progress too — but which will eventually lead to the undermining of the foundation which allowed the wonderful thing to come to be, it is far easier to understand those who turn against the motion of time. That’s the ‘counter-current’. And the counter -current has as much right to exist as the revolutionary current. The *progressive current* now has most of the power (or momentum), but we will, this I assure you, turn things around.

      It is not so much that they see a play like this as ‘offensive to an energy-being’ (which is, if you’ll permit me to say it, a silly way to see and to describe it), but rather that they notice an overturning of morals and ethics on this and many different levels. And they understand that ‘you cannot simultaneously masturbate and pray to God’. That means, you cannot get wrapped up in material activities (‘voluptuousness’ it was once called), nor can you become dedicated to a downward channelling of conscious human energy into the pits of sensuality (et cetera) without there being a consequence.

      From a Catholic perspective, it is the activity of turning the eyes upward, to divine things, to high ideals, to supreme beauty, to the good and the pure, that is lost when one, consciously or unconsciously, desecrates the ritual that occurs (for example) in Holy Mass. I use that example because, essentially, that is what Catholicism (and Christianity) is: the invocation of the sacred in the context of a never-ending ritual.

      I fully understand what happens when pig-brains can no longer distinguish the ‘sacred’. “Hah: ‘the sacred’! There is nothing sacred!” and of course what you find is that these pig-brained people, in one way or another, destroy within themselves to see, understand and to appreciate not only a specific rite, but in truth all great beauty (which always comes out of sacred appreciation and sacred sentiments). I defy to present an example that counters that statement.

      I think what really happens, within the heart of hearts of people for whom these things still have importance, is a sense of sadness. More, a sense of the loss of something really understood to be of core value. Unfortunately, it becomes impossible to communicate that core value and it becomes useless to try. True indeed that people will mock sacred things; the robes, the altars, the prayer of the rosary, and the mere idea of ‘salvation’, etc., but their sense of something lost is as real (to them) as the loss of losing a loved one. It is that real though to others it is invisible.

      Oddly, I was reminded in my recent reading that the way ailments and sickness was portrayed in the Gospels was of people represented as afflicted thusly: The lame, the dumb, the deaf and the paralysed.

      That is how I see people in our present (I do not exclude myself necessarily). The lame, the dumb, the deaf and the paralyzed. These are symbols of course of inner states. It is these things, in truth, that are *cured* by inner revelation.

      • Stat crux dum volvitur orbis…

        If you succeed in defining crux the statement has a definite power. But to define it means to understand it, and that understanding is hard to come by (in fact).

    • Wha????They are still demanding that an artwork be censored because they don’t want it performed based on content. This is as much a breach of the principle of freedom of expression as college students demanding that Charles Murray not be permitted to speak. No, it’s not a First Amendment issue, but it is a free expression and artistic freedom issue, Those who want to see the play should not have the chance to do so because they don’t want to see the play. Breaches: autonomy, fairness, respect, and reciprocity.

      Of course it is unethical to advocate unethical conduct, and stopping artistic expression based on content is unethical conduct.

      • I see your point. We may be using different definitions of the word “unethical”.

        I should say that they have good intentions, but they fundamentally misunderstand how the world works. Good is a technical term, here, meaning that they are willing to sacrifice their own quality of experience in order to improve the quality of others’ experiences. Well, either that or they’re acting out of self-preservation, which is neutral. Either way, given their incorrect premises, they’re not doing anything evil by making the world safe from the wrath of its loving creator.

        You seem to be defining their ethics not merely by their intentions, but also by the fact that their behavior is harmful to society and that they have access to all the information they need to figure that out (which distinguishes it from moral luck, when people can do everything right and still cause problems). They are indeed promoting behavior that is bad for society, and they apparently haven’t put enough effort towards figuring that out. Does that sound accurate?

        I will warn you that this line of reasoning will inevitably lead to pointing out that ethics cannot be reliably derived from religious beliefs and therefore any religion that promotes itself as the source of ethics is unethically misleading people. I agree with that, but I’m not sure you intend to go that far.

      • And if someone strongly disagrees with the content of the art and convinces the artist to change their worldview to the degree the artist no longer will publish the particular art…?

      • In response to that EC wrote: “I will warn you that this line of reasoning will inevitably lead to pointing out that ethics cannot be reliably derived from religious beliefs and therefore any religion that promotes itself as the source of ethics is unethically misleading people. I agree with that, but I’m not sure you intend to go that far.”

        Curious problem. E Michael Jones, a committed Catholic, writes in his histories sbout the Catholic upholding of the Motion Picture Production Code which various interests succeeded in getting overturned. The Hays Code (MPPC) determined that certain things could not be represented in films:

        Certain profanity, ‘licentiousness’ and nudity, illegal drugs use, sexual perverion, miscegination, child sex organs, ridicule of the clergy, willful offense to any nation, race or creed. As well, how the flag was portrayed, how international relations and figures were portrayed, arson, firearms, thievery, demolition, brutality, gruesome violence, the techniques of murder, smuggling methods, sympathy for criminals, the attitude toward public figures and institutions, prostitution, cruelty to animals and children, rape, et cetera.

        “The entire document was written with Catholic undertones and stated that art must be handled carefully because it could be ‘morally evil in its effects’ and because its ‘deep moral significance’ was unquestionable..”

        E Michael Jones writes and talks about the fact that the Catholic does not delineate absolutely between the Church and the State but understands that the Church is the soul of the nation in a similar relationship to that of man: there is a moral center in the soul that must (must) control how a person — a man or a woman — acts.

        It is not hard to see that there is a huge problem here. This ideal Catholic or Christian is in relationship to Entity and Being which is understood not to be physical. It is metaphysical. It is approached in the first instance in thought or *in spirit* and then it is translated into rules and regulations to govern a person’s life, into theologies and codes of conduct and understanding. It is a hierarchy of vision, a hierachy of description which begins in a non-physical and non-quantifiable dimension.

        Since there is NO WAY to show that such exists, and by force of other modes of seeing and understanding Reality these *higher dimensions* can only be seen as hallucinations (and they are now, more and more, described as such and seen as such), in this way the Catholic and Christian moral vision is decapitated as it were.

        It is not hard to see that there is a whole succession therefor that has occurred/is occurring. One can devote time to understanding ‘the revolutionary spirit’ which has undermined metaphysics, theology, but it also leads into more tangible realms obviously: into social ethics.

        Both you and EC seem to feel that a purely rational ethics is not only possible but necessary. And in this sense (if you will allow me to push on the polarity I am establishing) you are both revolutionary actors within the present. Essentially, you are linked to that. You are not linked to whatever the other pole is, which is really not that easy to define.

        In order to counter your *revolutionary* frame of mind, or essential position, or general tendency, one has to turn back into the definitions of whatever is posited by the other side be it religiously oriented and grounded or philosophically grounded.

        Because if one joins you, as it were, within your present, with your vision of what is true and necessary, one must thereby sever or weaken or neuter one’s relationship with, as I call it, ‘the metaphysical’ dimension.

        True it is that on a Constitutional and Bill of Rights level there is no way that one could ethically limit the *speech* of any other person, in any context, ever. Based in that, it is wrong and unethical if someone inhibits a fascist from carrying on their activity,, and it is ethically wrong if a religious organization attempt, through any means, to stop the speech of somone who creates works which assault religious codes of morality.

        This all seems to be quite nice and reasonable at an abstract level of course, and no one would argue that it is not the law of the land. But something indeed is missing here. There would come a point with the activism and the organization of the fascist that other groups, or other nations, and even the whole world, would intervene with absolute force to annihilate that fascist threat. And it seems that you Jack construct a certain part of your view of America as an opponent of fascism in the last War.

        Similarly, there is a point in the deliberate choosing of perversion of values and of course *traditional values* where it is recognized as going too far. People have different toleration points though. It seems to me fairly clear as a line of causation that the relaxation of the indecency codes in films opened the door, by direct causation and by natural cause and effect, to the pornography industry. A pornography industry will lead to a porno-culture and all this will filter down to children and their attitudes and activities. One could refer to ‘general moral decay’ in numerous areas as the relationship to *higher moral order* is severed.

        But you seem to have no way to see or to understand this, and it seems to have little place in your system.

        Therefor it seems to me that you will — and you do — defend and explain the ‘progression’ of ethics in an Enlightenment sense or in a revolutionary and progressive political sense, which in fact can only come about, or really gather up steams, the more that it severs itself from the traditional religious orientation: toward what is invisible and know by effect. What is moral and ideal.

        My view is sort of a foil to yours: yours does make sense insofar as I understand it and it is, indeed it is, rational. But it will eventuate in a mass of people who have become progressively severed from exactly that *invisible* presence or idealism which allowed all that they have and all that they are, in the better senses, to come into existence. The West and Occident is a creation of rational men who have meditated on ideal being, on being which is only known in an inner, invisible realm.

        • Abridged version for others: art influences culture; culture influences behavior. A vested interest in keeping behavior within ethical boundaries implies that art must also be kept within boundaries.

          That would be true… if culture accepted art without thinking. Yes, most humans do that to some extent. That’s how propaganda works. Few people are entirely immune–not even I am unchanged in my behavior.

          However, this is a false dichotomy, like so many political arguments. Should we hold people accountable, or should we show them mercy? Should we reward people for merit, or give them a leg up? Should we censor offensive art, or allow people complete freedom of expression?

          Many of these false dichotomies don’t have an answer that lies somewhere in the middle of two polar extremes. That’s the Golden Mean fallacy. These are false dichotomies in that the right answer isn’t even on the spectrum. There’s a missing piece that people don’t even know is missing, and don’t even know the words for. If a person is gravely ill, the answer isn’t to do nothing, but it’s also not to beat them with a stick, and there is no “right amount” of beating that will cure them.

          The answer is growth mentality, also known as growth mindset: The idea that people are supposed to get better at being people, more skilled at living and thinking.

          Should we hold people accountable, or show them mercy? We should restrict their activity, but also give them what they need to become people who do not commit wrongs.

          Should we reward people for merit, or give them a leg up? We should reward merit, but also give people what they need to develop merit, instead of “offsetting” their lack of merit because its origin is “unfair”.

          Should we censor offensive art, or allow people complete freedom of expression? We should make sure people have the wisdom to critically appraise the messages of art and deliberately change themselves or not based on relevant criteria and rational consideration. Then there is no need for censorship. A depiction of violence will be dismissed because it is already known to be ineffective or unethical, regardless of what happens in the depiction.

          Will this be possible? Well, it’s the only viable approach to create a sustainable society. Will it be easy? Of course not. Teaching people takes resources, mature judgment, patience, and many other things. But it’s worth doing, because nothing else is sufficient.

          I don’t have resources, but I can at least give us a place to start. Once we’re on track, it becomes much more likely we will succeed.

          • Your ‘abridged version’ is actually an ‘abridged interpretation’. In simple terms — which will also make my perspective easier to reject — I am attempting to recover and redefine a Thomist perspective on ethics. It is highly rational as well as intellectual (Thomism I mean), and once the structure of the thought is understood quite convincing, but to become convinced by it actually requires not only intellectual assent but a sort of spiritual participation.

            The argument is essentially that sin and error will inevitably and without any doubt lead directly to the undermining, the weakening and the eventual destruction of the intellect. That is why I used the term *pig-brains* in another post. There is a simple rule and I believe it is true, demonstrable and rational: to turn away from the higher dimensions, from God, from higher metaphysical understanding and concommitant responsibilities; to abandon what we know and what we have come to understand of morality, social, interpersonal and personal, will directly lead a person into states of ‘darkened intellect’ (to quote St Thomas).

            Your suggestions about what we should give people, or not give people, or allow people or deny people, to me seem incomplete and not reasoned-through. Only a fraction of existent people will ever bother to think rationally, or to think deeply through things, or even to submit themselves to a rational authority figure. The Enlightenment faith in man is a lovely idealism, but since it is erroneously founded it does not produce good ethics. Well, that is my view obviouly.

            Instead of asking me (or asking generally) what we should or should not do in regard to censorship, more will be gained by understanding the principle involved. I have to use the word ‘sin’ and I am sort of sorry that this term will alienate many people right from the start. But I accept the term as valid and necessary (though requiring definition). So, when sin is encouraged and fostered in an individual (that is when we sin) we ‘darken our intellects’ to one degree or another. It does not matter how delightful it might be, or how ‘necessary’ it has become, or how well established, or how difficult and demanding it may be to turn away from it both personally, in the family, and socielly. The principle that has to be grasped is that it will darken intellect.

            *Darkening of the intellect*, in the Thomist sense, requires an extensive description and elaboration. I worry about being too reductive but I will venture the following: if we recognize a crisis in society, if we notice a decent and encroaching destruction, it is because of ‘darkened intellect’ in ourself and in people generally. And these conditions are outcomes of specific events and choices. But they link directly to moral and ethical choices in all cases. The conversation must then become: How did this come about? What were the causes? (Et cetera) And it will put you right in the middle of the culture wars (so bring a helmet!).

            In my own view — but I notice that I have a mind naturally inclined to certain forms of absolutism — if there is such a thing as Conservatism, and if Conservatism is understood to have value, it is located in its ability to define strict principles and, once established, to articulate perspectives and choices, ethics and behaviors, directly from those principles.

            If you are interested in listening to a talk which, in my view, describes *useful truths* which are of this religious or spiritual nature, look on YouTube for “Sin & Its Effects, Fr Ripperger”. Ripperger is very Catholic, no doubt of that, but undeniably well-educated, articulate and intelligent.

  8. 1. Blasphemous, really? I bet some of these pompous assholes were chiming in to chastise Muslims for calling that anti-Islam movie that sparked riots across the globe blasphemous. The conservative Catholic group America Needs Fatima needs to pull their collective heads out of their pompous asses; this is theater and it should be taken as such. You don’t like it, fine don’t buy a damn ticket. This is the kind of BS pompousness that drove me away from the Baptist churches many years ago.

    2. Out Front Theater Company needs to make their mission statement clear whether that mission statement is delivered via the printed word or spoken verbally by a representative.

    • 2) I really think the burden is on ensuring all employees seek to pursue the stated mission, and to correct all those whose conduct is in violation of it. Ad-lib spoken versions of the mission statement in contradiction to the written would fall under conduct needing to be corrected.

  9. Mrs. Q

    I’m a lady married to another lady & yes one of those “crazy Christians” and find this whole mess with the theater just plain tacky. I don’t like the production these folks are doing & I would definitely support those who wish to speak out against it. Disrespecting the Bible & Christians doesn’t help anyone for any reason.

    However the company has the right to be as disrespectful & pathetic as they want. I don’t like it & would never see their shows but they have the right. Part of the cost of living in a free country.

    As far as LGBTQInsanity only playwrights, I say let ’em. After all “you know them by their fruits.” And nuts too apparently.

    • Chris

      Mrs. Q, I have a personal question, and if you choose not to answer I will understand fully.

      I have noticed you use the term “lady married to another lady” to describe yourself a lot, but you never use the term “lesbian” or “bisexual.”

      Is there a reason for that? If so, what is that reason?

      Once again I will understand if you do not wish to answer, and I apologize if you find this question invasive.

      • Mrs. Q

        Thanks for asking so respectfully. I don’t identity as gay, queer, etc & neither does my wife for a couple reasons. The first is that our primary source of identity comes from being children of God. Every other label is meaningless for us personally.

        The other reason is that the terms used by the LGBT etc. lobby/propaganda doesn’t describe us or our relationship. We don’t have a “lesbian” lifestyle, whatever that means. We just exist & happen to love each other & believe we are meant to be together. No term or politic really qualifies our personal experiences of each other, except our own.

        This answer may not appease you but it is what it is.

        • I wish everyone would regard their identity more like you do. We could all just do what we do, deal with our individual experiences, and leave all the baggage behind.

          • Spartan

            Well, that’s hard for a lot of people who create baggage for others on a daily basis. For the most part, people can’t hide their gender or race. And while a lot of gay people keep their personal lives quiet or remain in the closet, others have a hard time.

            The “gayest” man I know is married (to a woman) with two children. Trying to keep his orientation a secret has hurt him professionally and personally because everyone presumes he is gay.

            • Both of your paragraphs confuse me. Please elaborate?

              How does a person create baggage for others? How does that make it difficult for them to leave their own baggage behind? “Baggage” as I use the word refers to an assumed context (sometimes correct, sometimes not) through which experiences are interpreted, and the emotions that follow said interpretations.

              Also, the person you describe is heterosexual but keeps it a secret, and everyone assumes he is homosexual? I can imagine it is hard to keep it a secret, but why? Do the personal and professional harm come from being presumed gay, or from keeping the secret?

              • Spartan

                Baggage is created all the time — the guy who hits his girlfriend (she now has baggage, even if she leaves him), the guy who cheats on his girlfriend, the woman who is sexually harassed at work, the guy who is discriminated against at work, the guy who is stopped once a month by police for no apparent reason, the list is pretty endless. Once you have been the victim or target of something, you start to be on the lookout for that behavior — and that can be to a person’s detriment in relationships, work, etc. because not everyone is a bad actor. Baggage messes with your brain.

                Regarding the guy that I mentioned, I grant you it’s confusing. He would tell you that he’s straight, but 100% of the people that know him (with the exception of his wife presumably) would tell you that he’s gay. And I’m not joking at the 100% number. So, either he is in the very back of the closet or he is the most feminine man on earth. To give you a few examples, his hobbies include costume design, gardening, and cooking. His favorite show is Dancing With The Stars. He wears pants in bright colors like pink and yellow. I think the professional harm comes from the fact that it is hard to trust (and promote) a man who is obviously gay but denies that he is. His direct superior is openly gay, so there is no shame in that at his office.

                • Yes, personal baggage is something that must be dealt with on an individual basis. I was expressing a desire that people leave behind baggage that they associate with their identity, that they developed out of habit rather than any real reinforcement by their environment. It’s a bit less difficult to get rid of than baggage that comes directly from people’s experiences.

                  The work situation you describe irks me on several levels. I appreciate that you may not know the answers, but if you’ll indulge me, I feel the questions should be put out there for the record.

                  A) Why does everyone think all those personality traits must mean he’s lying about his sexual orientation? This isn’t blatant self-denial at the level of that one guy from The IT Crowd yet. Camp Straight and Straight Gay are tropes with a firm basis in real life.
                  B) Do you think he has a legal case for a discrimination suit, on the basis that his coworkers are discriminating against someone whom they think is a (badly) closeted gay because they think he’s in the closet? Private life is private (absolutely so when it doesn’t reflect on his character, as here), and whether or not someone is in the closet is just as much not his boss’s business as him being gay or not.
                  C) I’m assuming that someone raised the subject of whether he was gay or not (which was uncalled for in a professional environment), and failed to let it go like the trivia it is when he gave an answer they didn’t expect. Maybe he mentioned his wife and someone couldn’t take the cognitive dissonance. The point is, even leaving aside their stereotype-based reasoning, pressing him on it at all is extremely disrespectful in a work environment.

                  • Spartan

                    A. I acknowledged that he might be the most feminine man in the world, so it is possible that he isn’t lying.
                    B. No. But wow, what an interesting case that would be, and certainly one that would result in a bad precedent either way — because these facts are so specific and hard to prove.
                    C. I don’t think he has been pressed on it, in my experience with him people just have the look of utter disbelief on their faces when he starts talking about his wife.

                    • When I said “Why does everyone think…” I assumed that “present company excepted” was implicit, because you already made it clear you weren’t assuming certainty that he was gay. You used the phrase “100% of the people that know him” so I followed suit by using “everyone” casually.

                      It just disturbs me that so many people have trouble accepting that some people aren’t stereotypical, and that traits that are negatively correlated may still coincide.

                    • Spartan

                      I have a whole one semester of psych under my belt (and from a different century to boot), so I am no expert. But, in my experience, people need to label everything around them — more out of a sense of comfort than anything. I think we have evolved to the point where a lot of people are comfortable with straight, gay, and even trans people (although less so with trans) in their communities. Smack a label on it and it’s okay. But then there are people who don’t fit any of these categories, or describe themselves as bi, or those who discuss gender and orientation as meaningless constructs. It’s hard for a lot of people to interact with them because they don’t know where they are coming from.

                    • I have labels for aspects of people’s character and consciousness. Those might help. They’re the only labels that I apply to people for making decisions about them; I’ll use labels other people apply to themselves, but that’s just out of respect.

        • Chris

          Thank you for your polite and honest response, Mrs. Q.

          I can understand the first reason you give. I’m a little stuck on the second one:

          The other reason is that the terms used by the LGBT etc. lobby/propaganda doesn’t describe us or our relationship. We don’t have a “lesbian” lifestyle, whatever that means. We just exist & happen to love each other & believe we are meant to be together.

          I guess I’m unclear on what exactly you think a “lesbian lifestyle” is. I would define it as exactly that: two women just existing, loving each other, and believing they are meant to be together. That’s how I think most lesbians would define it.

          If you don’t mind engaging this topic further, what do you think a “lesbian lifestyle” is?

  10. Spartan

    I bet you’re missing our exchange of what the definition of a pig is right about now, huh Jack?

  11. In response to the ongoing argument about applying identity-selection to group inclusion rules, I did some serious thinking.

    It does seem like a decent idea to have private organizations dedicated to getting exposure for minorities of various flavors, not on the basis that there’s anything inherently special about a person being or identifying as a minority, but on the basis that they can have interesting and non-mainstream experiences and perspectives (i.e. actual diversity) that, when shared, will enrich the future experiences and perspectives of the audience. The identity criterion, properly defined, could legitimately be used to counteract any subconscious discrimination or other self-perpetuating residual, historical, or statistical disadvantages or any other problems that can’t be blamed on the ill-will or deliberate intent of anyone living but still call for resolution.

    That sounds like it would benefit society. It would be fun and enlightening.

    What makes me, personally, edgy about many identity-defined institutions is the implications often accompany them. When people try to ascribe guilt to nice, ordinary people for problems that were caused in the past, that is a fine way to alienate potential allies.

    Furthermore, when people try to claim that I can’t understand them or their feelings, instead of just letting me listen and learn, that is an ill-qualified statement that is incorrect enough to be counterproductive, and makes me angry because it makes incorrect assumptions about my abilities.

    I understand that some people (e.g. support groups), may want to work through experiences to heal emotionally, and in this vulnerable state they feel less comfortable with someone who doesn’t share the same context, and that makes sense. As an existentialist, I tend to start outside most emotional contexts by default, and explaining things to me can be awkward when another person might understand intuitively (though sometimes having to explain yourself is good). It pains me that people don’t trust me to listen and not make hasty judgments, but to be fair, they don’t know me.

    I understand that by the same token as support groups, having outsiders who don’t have cultural context can cramp the style of a social gathering by bringing awkward ignorance where people weren’t planning to have to teach people.

    Regarding both support groups and parties, instead of having rules to keep people out, it would be nice to prompt people to use good judgment. For support groups, we want people to think, “If I haven’t experienced this particular type of emotional distress, I can’t immediately pick up on context clues even if I can learn them, and people want to be sure those observing them have the right context. Therefore, I’ll pass on this one.” For parties, “I don’t have fluency in this cultural paradigm, so I’d better sit this one out and enter the social circle more gradually, through other means.” The rules are probably there to keep out people who don’t take a hint, but there are other ways of dealing with those, and even people in the included demographic sometimes need to be asked to leave.

    Beyond support groups and parties, though, where preserving a positive emotional environment is justifiably prioritized, it is self-defeating to create an institution for sharing a minority perspective and then disqualifying outsiders from judging it. Humans often rely on sacred cow status to make up for the fact that they don’t know how to convince people they have something of value to offer, but even though others may pay lip service to them, they don’t really respect them. Actual respect isn’t something you can mandate. Gradually, the sacred cow becomes too weak to venture outside the sacred space defined for it. The soft bigotry of low expectations makes for a gilded cage.

    To sum up:

    If you want to create an emotional ambiance, feel free to make it clear that a certain reference frame is necessary to attend, but explain why, because otherwise it does sound like plain bigotry.

    If you want to help people stop being marginalized, you need to use empathy to earn people’s esteem, rather than making them immune from judgment. After all, if people can’t judge you, they will ignore you (because there’s nothing to say). However, if you make it so they can’t ignore you, they will resent you for being unaccountable. Allowing people to have negative opinions of you and addressing them head on is the only path out of marginalization and hate.

    As an afterthought, you also have to have a halfway-defined collection of values or experiences that give your your distinct perspective, because otherwise you’re drawing arbitrary distinctions. Most groups don’t know how to articulate what gives them their identity or why it’s important, and that leads to a great many arguments.

    That’s my new nuanced take on identity-specific organizations or policies in general. Does that help?

    • Chris

      Very much so. Comment of the Day.

    • deery

      If you want to help people stop being marginalized, you need to use empathy to earn people’s esteem, rather than making them immune from judgment. After all, if people can’t judge you, they will ignore you (because there’s nothing to say). However, if you make it so they can’t ignore you, they will resent you for being unaccountable. Allowing people to have negative opinions of you and addressing them head on is the only path out of marginalization and hate.

      I am a little unclear on what this part means. Do you mind expanding? Because from my perspectives, most marginalized groups are marginalized precisely because the majority identity already has a negative opinion of the group.

      I understand that some people (e.g. support groups), may want to work through experiences to heal emotionally, and in this vulnerable state they feel less comfortable with someone who doesn’t share the same context, and that makes sense. As an existentialist, I tend to start outside most emotional contexts by default, and explaining things to me can be awkward when another person might understand intuitively (though sometimes having to explain yourself is good). It pains me that people don’t trust me to listen and not make hasty judgments, but to be fair, they don’t know me.

      I think most marginalized groups are wary of the inquisitive outsider. Pretty invariably, they have been the victims of the “just asking questions”/sea-lioning troll, which are legion both in real life and the internet. It does negatively impact the comparatively rare sincere questioner, but I don’t think there is much help for that.

      • Just realized I switched between second and third person in that paragraph. Gah.

        Anyway, empathy is the often-overlooked skill of individualizing interactions.
        It is useful for shifting into people’s paradigms and working with those paradigms to understand and influence them. (Most of the time this is done without a full understanding of the paradigm, but my style is to combine empathy with analysis to create deconstruction. It has advantages and disadvantages over other empathy-related mindsets.) For instance, let’s say a person belongs to a marginalized group. There are several specialized flavors of empathy they can use to change how others think of them.

        1. They can use background mindset (semantics in service of empathy) to select clothing, word choice, tone, posture, et cetera, to seem more familiar to members of the group they want to earn the esteem of.
        2. They can use surprise mindset (empathy combined with tactics) to do something that dramatically challenges people’s preconceptions of them and makes them take notice.
        3. They can use reputation mindset (empathy combined with strategy) to identify things they could associate themselves with that would create cognitive dissonance with the stereotype others apply to them, and avoid activities that resonate with the stereotype.
        4. They can use inspiration mindset (empathy combined with synthesis) to pique people’s interest in them as a person.
        5. They can use rapport mindset (empathy combined with operation) to become quite good sensing and projecting emotions, which can help with being taken seriously or putting people at ease.
        6. They can use politics mindset (empathy combined with organization) to influence the decisions of groups of people by paying attention to how their feelings interact and identifying an efficient path. With politics mindset, they can make things go their way even if people still don’t like them all that much.
        7. They can use deconstruction mindset (analysis combined with empathy) to help a person work through their biases and realize they were wrong.
        Not pictured: translation mindset (empathy in the service of semantics), which deals with what is communicated more than how it is communicated.

        All of the above are aspects of empathy, which at its core is about interacting with systems (usually people) in such a way that they feel and behave differently than they would otherwise. It is very different from logically proving something to someone, which can have the opposite effect, since feelings are heuristics and have a life of their own beyond the arguments people make in their defense. Does that answer your question?

        Regarding your second point, I didn’t realize you could sealion a person about their culture. I thought that only arguments and opinions were susceptible to that. Technically a culture could be said to be made up of opinions, but it’s still a difficult format to sealion. Do you have an example of sealions being a problem for minorities? I guess it could come up for gender minorities… My preliminary answer is that you can refer the sealion to an expert on the subject who can answer their questions, or at least a website. Everyone should be able to do that much for a part of their identity.

        • deery

          All of the above are aspects of empathy, which at its core is about interacting with systems (usually people) in such a way that they feel and behave differently than they would otherwise. It is very different from logically proving something to someone, which can have the opposite effect, since feelings are heuristics and have a life of their own beyond the arguments people make in their defense. Does that answer your question?

          Yes, it did clear up some things for me, thank you.

          Regarding your second point, I didn’t realize you could sealion a person about their culture. I thought that only arguments and opinions were susceptible to that. Technically a culture could be said to be made up of opinions, but it’s still a difficult format to sealion. Do you have an example of sealions being a problem for minorities?

          I saw this one while randomly scrolling through my fb timeline, as a blatant, obvious example: quick question from Puerto Rico to my Dominican brothers, why do you hate Haitians so much? Is there’s any difference between how much rednecks hate Mexicans to what ya doing? Ya need to get your shit together. Not cool. People aren’t really asking questions about someone else’s culture with any degree of sincerity or curiosity. Rather, they do the “just asking questions” or sealion bit already with the approach that the culture in question is inferior, and that it is the questioner who must show the people from that culture that their culture is inferior and/or wrong in some way. I’ve seen other permutations that question whether the marginalized group has a culture at all, and wants a person from that culture to provide evidence (never satisfactory, natch) that their culture even exists.

          .My preliminary answer is that you can refer the sealion to an expert on the subject who can answer their questions, or at least a website. Everyone should be able to do that much for a part of their identity.

          Sea lions are never satisfied with such things That is the nature of the sealion. Nor is everyone an academic expert on their own culture, well-versed in experts that they can refer someone else to. Nor should they have to be. And sometimes people are just tired of someone coming in and demanding (or even just politely requesting) for them to explain themselves. While a person from a dominant group may only personally do this on occasion, it still translates to a person from a marginalized community being constantly asked to educate people (most of whom are not well-meaning). I think it would be exhausting, and not a burden that we should assign to already marginalized groups. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/12/the_black_person_s_burden_of_managing_white_emotions_in_the_age_of_trump.html

          • The obvious replies to such a sealion are that their questions have false premises, they are trying to derive an ought from an is, and they aren’t listening to the actual answers.

            Everyone should be able to recognize such questions, at which point they can dismiss the questioner. People don’t need to be experts in their own culture, but I assert that they should have some basic resources to point people to, if they claim a culture as part of their identity. The caveat is that they are not obligated to abide by or even read those expert descriptions, since a member of a culture is also an individual with their own choices.

            However, there is an onus on the sincere questioner to do research beforehand. There’s no excuse for not using the Internet, if it’s available, to ask intelligent questions that don’t waste people’s time. It’s usually easy to recognize intelligent questions because they leave open the possibility of being wrong, are descriptive rather than prescriptive, and include information that takes research to find.

            Does that sound reasonable?

            • deery

              I do agree that the onus is on the questioner to do their own research, rather than laying the responsibility at the feet of random members of a marginalized group to educate them or answer their questions.

              But this: … People don’t need to be experts in their own culture, but I assert that they should have some basic resources to point people to, if they claim a culture as part of their identity. The caveat is that they are not obligated to abide by or even read those expert descriptions, since a member of a culture is also an individual with their own choices.

              I do not agree with. You are born into your culture, and I would assert that the vast majority of people spend very little time critically examining their own culture, and the cultural groups that they belong to. How many randomly-picked white people can name an expert on white culture? Men, an expert on male culture? Heterosexuals, experts on hetero culture? Most people that live in this country claim an American identity, but could not name an expert on American culture if asked.

              I think most people live their culture, rather than thinking about their culture. And even if they do have some expertise, they are under no obligation to share it to any random person who demands it, no matter how nicely the person has asked. It is time, and it is work. I don’t feel as if this is a responsibility we should put upon people, especially those who are already burdened. The questioner will have to do their own research, or present their questions to those who have made it clear that they want to educate people. If other people want to educate, that is great. But they have no duty to do so.

  12. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    This is getting ridiculous, and frankly, more divisive than Hillary and her ilk.

    So much for the melting pot: No matter than the great majority of Americans are white and from European heritage, anything dubbed “white” is bad, while anything “black,” “of color,” “Latino,” “LGBT,” or any other (really) minority community is ipso facto good and defensible. Does this make sense? Really?

    I am not insensitive to the biases that have plagued various groups in our society. But when it comes down to the admonition that the majority should just shut up and “pay” for the sins of their fathers, I remain unconvinced.

    There is an untold amount of literature, art, thought and science that emanated from the now-deemed horrible white culture. Shall we simply dismiss them because — even if the thinkers/writers/artists were products of their time — they were created or taught by those who by today’s standards are bigots?

    Honestly, this is the ‘bias makes you stupid’ example we’ve seen over past months re Trump vs. Hillary supporters. That and our educational system means only that, if we survive it, we’ll end up in a new witch hunt society — you know, the one that killed Galileo, e.g. The entire Renaissance, as another example, will be tossed out the window, not taught because of its racist progenitors, and any appreciation of those who have contributed to our culture will simply be erased. Great idea.

    • Chris

      So much for the melting pot: No matter than the great majority of Americans are white and from European heritage, anything dubbed “white” is bad, while anything “black,” “of color,” “Latino,” “LGBT,” or any other (really) minority community is ipso facto good and defensible. Does this make sense? Really?

      It doesn’t, but most strawman arguments don’t.

      Honestly, this is the ‘bias makes you stupid’ example we’ve seen over past months re Trump vs. Hillary supporters. That and our educational system means only that, if we survive it, we’ll end up in a new witch hunt society — you know, the one that killed Galileo, e.g. The entire Renaissance, as another example, will be tossed out the window, not taught because of its racist progenitors, and any appreciation of those who have contributed to our culture will simply be erased. Great idea.

      I really don’t know how you made the journey from “gay theater club” to “kill heretics and burn art,” but it sounds like a tiring one.

    • deery

      So much for the melting pot: No matter than the great majority of Americans are white and from European heritage, anything dubbed “white” is bad, while anything “black,” “of color,” “Latino,” “LGBT,” or any other (really) minority community is ipso facto good and defensible. Does this make sense? Really?

      ?

      The controversial play in question was written by a white guy (*whispers “intersectionality”, and leaves*). Just from looking at Broadway and my local theater scene, I don’t think white people are in any danger of being left out of anything anytime soon. I know it might be threatening for some people, used to having 100%, being forced to have only 90%, but it can some upsides, like fresh perspectives and innovations.

      But your comment was rather random, as no one here has stated that white people should shut up and pay for the sins of their fathers, feel guilty, or that we should refrain from teaching things from bigoted people.

      I’ve noticed this happens fairly frequent on comment threads in general. It’s as if any discussion at all of any minority issue causes an avalanche of comments decrying the elimination/witch-hunt against white people, whether it is germane or not. Almost as if it were a trigger for some people…

      • Chris

        Well said, deery.

      • “I know it might be threatening for some people, used to having 100%, being forced to have only 90%, but it can some upsides, like fresh perspectives and innovations.”

        The free market isn’t a zero-sum game. Anyone being *forced* to settle for less than what they earn SHOULD be threatening. To EVERYBODY. If 10% are beat out by competition, that’s fine. But that isn’t force. Of course, why on earth if we are arguing via percentages, doesn’t the 100% still stay in the population while the new guys work their way in…

        Your world-view is terrifying and bleak.

        • deery

          The free market isn’t a zero-sum game. Anyone being *forced* to settle for less than what they earn SHOULD be threatening. To EVERYBODY. If 10% are beat out by competition, that’s fine. But that isn’t force. Of course, why on earth if we are arguing via percentages, doesn’t the 100% still stay in the population while the new guys work their way in…

          Your world-view is terrifying and bleak.

          It is terrifying and bleak to have different people and voices represented?

          If the free market doesn’t support new audiences and productions, that would soon become very obvious. But the “free market” is not always rational, nor particularly free. And yes, to a person who is used to seeing themselves and their culture reflected back at them 100% of the time, they may be “forced” to see it reflected back at them only 90% of the time (or whatever percentage you choose.) And apparently, for some, it is off-putting and disorientating. Triggering, even. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ociMBfkDG1w

          • “It is terrifying and bleak to have different people and voices represented?”

            No, it’s terrifying that you think segments of the market should be forced out to make room for others. Which is what you said when you said “I know it might be threatening for some people, used to having 100%, being forced to have only 90%, but it can some upsides, like fresh perspectives and innovations.” (whether you realize it or not).

            But nice try with the diversion.

            “If the free market doesn’t support new audiences and productions, that would soon become very obvious.”

            You do realize, that if the *free* market doesn’t support new productions, it means it doesn’t want those productions. Why on earth would you want to force something people don’t want on to those people.

            Bleak and terrifying. But keep pushing that worldview.

            The assertion that a free market won’t support a new audience is logically insane. If a new audience wants a particular product in a *free* market, people WILL step up to provide that value. To deny this is an absolutely ignorant claim to make.

            “But the “free market” is not always rational, nor particularly free.”

            But it mostly is. And that’s better than the rest of the economic systems we’ve tried.

            And yes, it is particularly free, except where adherents of your world-view have screwed it up.

            “And yes, to a person who is used to seeing themselves and their culture reflected back at them 100% of the time, they may be “forced” to see it reflected back at them only 90% of the time (or whatever percentage you choose.)”

            This is incoherent.

            • deery

              The assertion that a free market won’t support a new audience is logically insane. If a new audience wants a particular product in a *free* market, people WILL step up to provide that value. To deny this is an absolutely ignorant claim to make.

              Think about Jim Crow and de facto racism. Even though logically, a free market should not support cutting off access to a significant portion to its customer base, people’s racism was enough to thwart natural market forces. There was a customer base, but few people willing to step up and provide value to those customers. It took court rulings and legislation to literally force people to take disfavored customer’s money.

              <And yes, to a person who is used to seeing themselves and their culture reflected back at them 100% of the time, they may be “forced” to see it reflected back at them only 90% of the time (or whatever percentage you choose.)”

              This is incoherent.

              I think this is where the disconnect arises. My original use of the word “forced” meant that they could not prevent it from happening, it was mostly out of their control. They are “forced” to see themselves reflected in the broader culture only 90% of the time, instead of the 100% of time they were used to seeing themselves. But no one is literally frog-marching them, or strong-arming some segments out to make room for others. However, as an example, even if there were 10 spots before that were all white, and now there are 15, but 5 of those are non-white, apparently many still see that as a loss for whiteness.

              • Erm… Jim Crow wasn’t a market response. Jim Crow was a government imposition because the “new audience” was getting serviced by people willing to serve them, and those people became a threat to the power elites who had to pass a law to stifle them.

                So, yeah, I think that bolsters my argument.

                • Deery

                  Jim Crow was more than just formal laws, it was an entire racial caste system. Even if the law did not formally require discrimination and denial of services, many businesses nonetheless still discriminated.

                  And I notice you did not address the de facto discrimination? How did the free market overcome that?

                  • Erm, I don’t think you read… the fact that blacks were making in the free market and enough whites were interacting with them on the free market caused a reactionary set of elite whites playing to fears of enoigh other whites to *force* Jim Crow via law.

                    The free market was working to level the playing field. The free market is slow, but that’s fine. But it works.

                    • Deery

                      I did read. The same thing happened in the North, without any formal laws, under the “free market”, via private covenants and private actors. A free market failure which had to be corrected via laws.

                    • Chris

                      When Jim Crow laws were repealed, did all business owners who previously refused to serve blacks immediately start doing so without complaint?

                  • This is such a strange arguement to make… Jim Crow laws were more than laws? So what? The laws were more problematic than anything else, because they actively preculded people from not discriminating, on pain of law. I mean, really… What reasonable path to equality could exist while the laws were on the book?

                    And more importantly…. If the discussion focuses on the market vs. government… Tex’s point is more than valid: The market was moving towards integration, because money was more important to hate, and Jim Crow proponents used the laws to erect barriers to integration. If nothing else, this proves that it is at least possible that the market does address discrimination, and the government is not always the answer to it.

                    • deery

                      I do think that it is possible that the market can address discrimination, in theory, it’s just the examples we have so far have not borne that out. Sometimes people are not rational actors. Whether the discrimination has manifested de jure or de facto, the free market alone has failed to correct discrimination when it manifested. Simply dismantling Jim Crow laws in the South did not lead to businesses rushing in to serve black customers, they needed laws to proactively force them to stop discriminating against black customers, in much the same way such laws were needed in the North, which did not have formal Jim Crow laws.

                    • I agree that we cannot count on the market to incentivize people behaving ethically towards each other. However, we also cannot count on government, because the same forces govern both. Rather than relying on resources or rules to remedy wrongs, empathy is the effective tool for transforming people and paradigms.

                      True, empathy can be used for evil as well as good, but it’s much easier for empathy to foil formidable forces arrayed against the user, compared to resources (organization) or rules (semantics).

            • Chris

              I took this quote:

              “And yes, to a person who is used to seeing themselves and their culture reflected back at them 100% of the time, they may be “forced” to see it reflected back at them only 90% of the time (or whatever percentage you choose.)”

              To refer to things like media representation. One need only look at the reactions to some minority-and-female-driven movies in some segments to see that deery’s statement is true. There were people who said the last two Star Wars movies were “anti-white” because they had more people of color than usual.

  13. I, a terribly lousy Catholic, am generally not offended by plays or movies that mock or poke fun at Catholicism or religion. There is a lot fun to be poked. “The Life of Brian” is one of my favorite Monty Python movies. “The Last Temptation of Christ” was an interesting thought exercise – according the Bible, Satan tempted Christ with riches, wealth, power and fame; how would an offer of not suffering crucifixion, death, and resurrection to reconcile humanity with God by living a normal, mortal life have been received? However, if you are going to attempt something like this play is doing, it had damn well better be funny and respectful. Otherwise, it is nothing more than a slap in the face of peoples’ deeply held religious beliefs, which I think is unethical.

    Full Disclosure: I have not seen this play and I don’t have any interest in reading it or watching it, and not because I am some kind of close-minded nail-dragging bigot. It is because I am simply not interested in the theme. Just like I have no interest in the latest installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. However, humor that merely ridicules another person’s deeply held beliefs is, in my opinion, wrong and unethical. Simply rewriting the Bible to ridicule Judaism or Christianity is not interesting or thought-provoking. It is just dumb. There is no real imagination or cleverness in simply changing the Biblical stories to include gay characters or themes. Do they have a right to do it? Sure. I also have a right to ignore it or watch something else.

    I am also not offended that America Needs Fatima has called for peaceful demonstrations against this play. Frankly, it is their right to do so. If this group finds the play offensive its faith, then why should it keep quiet? It has every right to protest the play’s theme.

    It should be no surprise to anyone who checked out America Needs Fatima that it would object to this play. America Needs Fatima (“ANF”) defines itself as a “campaign to capture the heart and soul of America with the Message of Our Lady of Fatima. In 1917.” ANF further believes that “Our Lady’s message is timelier than ever in light of the many sins of men and the turning away from the Faith. The America Needs Fatima campaign is dedicated to bringing this urgent message into people’s homes and to the public square.” ANF is a Catholic advocacy group that “calls on Catholics to stand up against public blasphemy and defend Our Lord Jesus, Our Blessed Mother, the Pope and the Church from the vile attacks of those who seek to persecute Christianity.” Agree or disagree with the group’s message or its mission. However, there is nothing unethical about that mission.

    ANF believes that substituting gays for Biblical characters is blasphemy. Is it? I don’t know. Is there a justification for their protest because some gay theater group decided to perform a play that “reinterprets” the Old and New Testaments? I don’t know. What I think is irrelevant. Yet, ANF, along with other Christian churches and groups, feels that its core beliefs are constantly under attack by an ever-increasing secularized culture that dismisses four thousand years of Judeo-Christian history, as well as values, ethics, and religious observance, as antiquated because it represents a (mostly) European patriarchy and worships (what did EC call it?) a “magical energy being”. If ANF objects to the subject matter of this play, then it has a right to voice its opposition, regardless of the abuse that will be heaped on it by the social justice warriors and those enlightened souls who look for wisdom in other places because, by golly, those books are so old. There are over a billion observant Catholics on the planet; why shouldn’t they be offended that some theater troupe thinks it is edgy and controversial to rewrite sacred texts? ANF is not calling for violence against the troupe, the theater, or those attending the shows. ANF is calling on people to conversion, and it is not bludgeoning those not responding or blowing up pizza stands or marathons, newspaper offices, or driving trucks through crowded streets. I think ANF’s call to demonstrate (peaceably and peacefully) are quite ethical.

    As for the theater group, if its mission is to touch on gay themes, then its mission is probably ethical; however, if the director’s statement is the practical application of the mission, contrary to all of the points here, then its application of its mission statement is unethical. There is no difference to producing only gay or orientationalphabetsoup plays and some racist group only producing plays that denigrate other races.

    As an aside, I think Alizia touched on an interesting point when she wrote, “I think what really happens, within the heart of hearts of people for whom these things still have importance, is a sense of sadness. More, a sense of the loss of something really understood to be of core value.” I think of it more in terms of the Portuguese word, “saudade”, which is loosely translated as ‘longing” or “loss”. I see it in the younger generations whose worlds are not moored to prior generations’ faith. There is a hole, an emptiness that gets filled by other things that religious observances once met. I remember Father John Robbins, Pastor at St. Anne Catholic Church in Houston, asked during one of his sermons at Mass, “If you truly believe in the Catholic faith, and try to live it fully, why aren’t you flying?” Powerful.

    jvb

    • Chris

      There is no difference to producing only gay or orientationalphabetsoup plays and some racist group only producing plays that denigrate other races.

      Of course there is: producing only gay or LGBT+ plays doesn’t necessarily denigrate anybody.

      A better analogy would be a group only producing plays featuring one race.

      • I think his analogy is apt.

        Group X pushes plays about the way Group X feels.

        BGLT+ pushes plays about BGLT life, which consists of such and such

        KKK pushes plays about KKK life, which consists of denigrating other races.

        The statement “there is no difference” is an error not in the analogy but in the fact that there is a distinct quality between what the plays produce…one is expository (in theory), the other is meant to offend.

  14. Glenn Logan

    “I fear God’s wrath will fall upon us if reparation is not made,” the hysterical screed concludes. Over 40,000 hysterics have signed it. Yes, I’m sure that God has nothing better to do than to punish humanity for a theatrical production of a 20 year-old comedy in Atlanta.

    Does it not also seem passing strange that God, who created man in His image, included a sense of humor in his creation that he lacks himself? Unlikely.

    Gay artists embracing tribalism and anti-gay bias is self-destructive, and will only harden the biases of others against them. If the Times description is accurate (it is the Times, so that’s a real “if”), the Out Front Theater Company’s policy also violates the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act and federal law.

    It seems that tribalism is okay as long as you are on the left. Otherwise, it is racisim/sexism/anti-gay, etc. That may not actually be true, but it certainly seems that way.

    As an aside, how is it that we keep adding letters to the end of the LGBTQ designation? I remember when it was LGBT, and it just keeps growing longer and longer. It’s making my head hurt.

    • It’s easier to say “gender, sexual, and romantic minorities”. That covers all the letters.

    • Chris

      It seems that tribalism is okay as long as you are on the left. Otherwise, it is racisim/sexism/anti-gay, etc. That may not actually be true, but it certainly seems that way.

      I think it’s more that tribalism is seen as OK as long as the tribes in question are minorities, or marginalized in some way. I’m not saying either is OK, but whites practicing tribalism is seen by many as worse than blacks doing it because in our society, whites have more social capital, and when we practice tribalism we are more likely to shut minorities out of power.

      Most minority issues are embraced primarily by the left rather then the right.

      As an aside, how is it that we keep adding letters to the end of the LGBTQ designation? I remember when it was LGBT, and it just keeps growing longer and longer. It’s making my head hurt.

      Our understanding of gender and sexuality keeps evolving. Many are just getting used to the fact that gay and transgender people are real, and not suffering from a mental illness; meanwhile, science is demonstrating that there are people with no gender at all, people with no romantic feelings at all, people with no sexual feelings at all, and people who are fluid in and of themselves. It makes perfect sense to me that a group that prides itself on being inclusive would try and include all those different categories of people under one umbrella; the clumsiness of the abbreviations can be a turn-off to some people, but it’s really not hard to understand.

  15. luckyesteeyoreman

    Of all the comment threads I have read in Jack’s blog, I think this one has been the most thought-provoking. Thanks to many commenters; thanks to all other commenters.

    I so empathize with Glenn Logan, who wrote: “[H]ow is it that we keep adding letters to the end of the LGBTQ designation? I remember when it was LGBT, and it just keeps growing longer and longer. It’s making my head hurt.”

    The identity-alphabetology of the “gender, sexual and romantic” minority-tribalists has nearly driven me to change my blog name to “Green Stamp.” That’s a vague allusion to, and borrowing from, “S&H,” the green stamps which used to be a familiar part of commerce in the U.S., in the mid-20th century – which I’ll explain shortly. My temptation to “go Green Stamp” has included the temptation to sign-off my every comment in a peculiar way – picking my own favorite combination of letters of the alphabet (plus a bit of punctuation and alphanumeric code) to own for MY identity, victimhood, historically oppressed and bigotedly disadvantaged (by politically deserving-of-marginalization others) status, and minority community membership:

    [the sign-off follows]
    Green Stamp: married to the S&H* community
    *(S&HACTPA-LFN-WC-RVOD**)

    **S&HACTPA-LFN-WC-RVOD = Straight & Homophobic, Allied, Christian, TEA Party, Anti-Leftism, Fox News-Watching, Constitution-Reformist, Voter Opposing Democrats
    _ _ _
    I might yet change my little clover avatar to an S&H green stamp…if I do, I might yet use that “Green Stamp” sign-off.

    • Ok, I should confess: when I wrote the post, I initially wrote the initials as LGBTQIALMNOP, and LGBTQIAWXYZ, to make the point that this was getting ridiculous. Then I thought this might be taken as ridiculing the people rather than the designation, so I edited it out.

      • luckyesteeyoreman

        I appreciate your confessing. I’ll say it – “This [LG(etc., etc.) alphabetology] is ridiculous” – and if that’s taken as ridiculing the people rather than the designation, then toughen-up, snowflakes – it IS ridiculous. There comes a point where doing something ridiculous IS self-ridiculing; “acronym-growth creep” for the sake of “inclusiveness” is THAT ridiculous, NOW. Commenter Cephalopod has the best idea: namely, to use plain(-er) English instead of an acronym. I reject a “sensitivity ethic” that, in effect, mandates so much self-censorship that a person is behaving unethically whenever calling something that’s ridiculous, “ridiculous.” If certain snowflakes can’t take the heat of the hellfire they have raised, then they need to start behaving after better angels, for their own inclusiveness’ sake. I do wonder if I have offended a member or ally of the Out Front Theatre Company. (I just lied.)

        • Chris

          Wise choice, Jack.

          I guess I don’t see the problem. No one is forcing anyone to use the abbreviations. It’s changing and growing longer because our understanding of sexuality and gender keeps changing. I know any social change often seems inherently ridiculous to some people, but this is a pretty silly thing to complain about. It reminds me of people who gripe that they have to “press 1 for English.” That’s seriously a substantial burden? More than, say, the burden faced by non-English speakers in America?

          • “No one is forcing anyone to use the abbreviations. It’s changing and growing longer because our understanding of sexuality and gender keeps changing.”

            Oh really? “A for Ally” is the result of changing “understanding of sexuality”? I have a bridge to sell you.

            The alphabet soup changes because the label wants to be more inclusive, and enough people started using a label. If there comes a time (and there won’t be, but whetorically) when the “more than two genders” crowd actually settles on and identifies the number of genders, and the number is 32, then the acronym will grow by 30 letters, and not because our understanding will have increased, but because this is a designation used by people who to the point of phobia absolutely cannot possibly tolerate the idea that they might be dis-including someone.

  16. Who’d have thought THIS topic would take off like this?

    • None of the topics I think will take off do, and posts like this…I’ve given up trying to predict.

      • This one would be expected…the slightest possibility that a progressive protected class might be behaving unethically or even merely being discussed in relation to unethical conduct will ALWAYS flush the progressives to a knee jerk defense.

        Always.

        • Chris

          How many of the progressives here defended the unethical conduct described by Jack? Deery pointed out that the article may be in error, based on the fact that the company’s website says they do allow straight allies to work with them; I agreed that he may be right. That’s barely a defense, let alone a “knee jerk” one. I think we all agreed that it’s unethical for them to refuse to work with straight people, we were just reasonably skeptical if that claim was true.

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