UPDATED: A School Musical and Pushing the Envelope with Your Children

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

The focal story in this week’s Sakonnet Times begins by noting that Tiverton High School’s now-running student musical marks the first time any high school in the entire state has performed Hair in the half century since it was released.  There’s a reason for that, and it’s the same reason the school felt the need to put a disclaimer on its fliers, warning in bolded all caps: “FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.”

Younger brothers and sisters of the performers… sorry, you’re out of luck.  The public high school is apparently no place for children in Tiverton.

Drama director Gloria Crist notes that she modified the nudity scene, replacing the potential child pornography with something involving glow sticks.  She also notes that there won’t be any depictions of drug use actually on the stage.  As for the script’s profanity, Crist says she took some out, but “kept the rest in, with taste of course.”

Those familiar with the musical — and I had the soundtrack memorized at one point — might question the judgment of taste by somebody who would choose this play for a school production involving children as young as 14 or 15.  I’ve requested from the district a song list and the libretto but have not yet received any reply.

According to Crist, Tams-Witmark Music Library, which owns the rights to Hair, refused to let the school cut the nudity scene, but allowed the glow-stick creativity.  One wonders whether the school was permitted to cut some of the songs, like “Sodomy” (“Masturbation can be fun/Join the holy orgy Kama Sutra everyone”); “Initials,” in which LBJ takes the IRT and sees “the youth of America on LSD,” or “The Bed.”  If individual parents want to validate this sort of content for their own children, that’s one thing, but for a public high school to be giving it a seal of approval is wholly inappropriate.

No doubt much of the most objectionable content has been removed or softened, but even so, “clever work-arounds,” as the article puts it, for content that goes too far even for radicals have a tendency to invite curiosity, especially among children with access to the Internet wherever they go, carrying the implied approval of the public school system.

Even edited, there’s simply no way to tease out the glorification of sex and drug culture in Hair.  Rhode Island is the sixth-highest state in the nation for drug overdose deaths, according to the CDC.  Addressing the counterculture of the ’60s in an academic setting is appropriate, to be sure, but Hair revels in it, promotes it.  Indeed, Crist seems to intend the explicit propagandizing of the town’s children: “It has been so powerful to watch them get it. But they do. They understand what freedom of choice is, social justice…”

This sort of decision by the school department certainly affirms the decisions of many parents who choose private schools for their children, but parents who lack the resources are stuck.  Frankly, if public school is now about pushing the envelope in this way, the case is even stronger for allowing parents to use the funds set aside for their children to make better decisions.

UPDATE (5/19/16; 8:11 a.m.)

Given a resurgence of attention to this post, I should note that the school administration did send me a song list, and I have watched the performance (although the video on YouTube has since been switched to private).  Busy days and other priorities combined with indecision about whether it would be appropriate to publicize an unofficial video of the performance led to the delay of this update.

The songs “Sodomy” and “The Bed,” described above, were removed from the script, but “Initials” was kept, as were other inappropriate songs, like “Hashish,” which lists drugs and ends with “s-e-x, y-o-u” and a euphoric “wow.”  Much of the sexual content of the musical remained, the anti-Catholic parts were actually more aggressive than I would have expected.



  • Northern Exposure

    At first my thought was that they are all idiots, but I was wrong. They are all Dangerous idiots. This needs to be sent to Wagner and the Governor. Maybe she can attend the performance with her children! Show them what drama is really like.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Why am I sure that the progenitors of this idea are thinking of themselves as “bold”? I remember that my daughter’s prep school put on a Berthold Brecht play which ended with the cast singing the “Internationale”, I walked out. That same school had a “60’s party” for the students bur refused to “rob the black culture to entertain white people” by permitting songs by black artists.

  • JVeegh

    So the original (licensed) production had an antiwar/anti-religion stance, flag burning, nudity, crude language, drug use, anarchism, nihilism, and sexual themes promoting ‘free love’ and more. Just how does a high school ‘director’ sanitize all of that to effectively end up as a high school performance? Perhaps the better question: why would one bother? All this to promote a few pacifist elements? I’d like my tax dollars back please.

    • Aquarius

      why don’t you come see the show and find out? 7 pm tomorrow night at THS.

  • Russ

    Gasp, an antiwar themed musical at a high school? Call the outrage police! Think no further and definitely don’t actually see the play before passing judgement.

    Somebody check the school library too. We wouldn’t want to “invite curiosity” with any radical books. Isn’t there a sanitized version of “Romeo and Juliet” that Tiverton can use?

  • Norman

    Who are you, or I should ask, who do you think you are, the guardian of the Town of Tiverton’s morals? HAIR is a play that reflected the times- long before you were born. This is a PLAY. This apparently goes over your head, it seems, and over most your reader’s heads. There’s that passage in the bible- sure you’ve read it: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.” I suggest you and your fans stop trying to involve yourselves in moral chastising and believe that you have the moral authority to guard others – grow up- these kids know what’s up- the world has continued to evolve before and since Hair opened on Broadway in April, 1968, and ran for 1,750 performances, not to mention thousands more in high schools, colleges, and public theaters. The school department is not being inappropriate- you are.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      Interesting perspective. A resident speaking his mind in a reasoned way = inappropriate. Using a public school as a forum to have children sing about drug use and sex = just fine.

      • Norman

        Maybe I should let you in on a little secret. In 1968, when I was 18, there was an alleged “silent majority” who believed that everything going on in the United States- the Vietnam “war”, alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, intense bigotry, even lynchings was just fine- just don’t rock the boat. Just ask tricky Dick, he’ll tell you everything was all right. We were, as teenagers, using recreational drugs, having actual sex (!), knew someone who was gay and accepted them, and were not afraid to bare our bodies or our souls. We were being sent off to the “war”- our ‘nam veteran contemporaries were coming back telling us to do anything in our power not to go there- they knew it was a losing battle and a sham.- we knew black folks who were getting beaten, fire-hosed and attacked by dogs at peaceful protests and it was time to speak our minds. The secret? HAIR was SUPPOSED to rattle your cage, get in your face, wake you up to reality- and it worked wonderfully. I witnessed several members of the “older generation” then, who were at the time mostly in their 40’s, walk out of the play 15 minutes into it in “disgust” – to hear people signing about sex, drugs, anti-war sentiment! OMG what are these radicals up to? Well, they were SUPPOSED to walk out, it was planned that way all along! You religious and moral high-toned bigots are supposed to be shocked, bothered, incensed, disgusted, and dismayed. There are things happening all around you know but fail to admit, or your just blind to. Sorry to break the news, but teens are still doing the same thing- they know it and live it, and they can damn well sing about it- and unless your kid is in the play, mind your own business and don’t be minding ours.

        • Justin Katz

          What a perfect comment. Here you are, old guy lecturing me about the way things were a half century ago and exhibiting such clueless entitlement that you think I have no business commenting on a production of my town’s public school, yet no doubt considering it my solemn duty to finance that school and its services.

          Get with it, man. I’ve got a right to express my views, and one of those views is that a misplaced nostalgia from the likes of you is doing real harm to children.

          The Tiverton School Department made this my business. If you want your children (or grandchildren) to glorify your youth, finance a performance. I promise I’ll quietly shake my head and go about my business. But here, you’re simultaneously invoking my responsibility to fund a particular education while denying my right to comment on it.

          • Norman

            “misplaced nostalgia from the likes of you is doing real harm to children” – you are doing what you think you do best- but bating does not work with me, son. Your ilk harms children by trying to keep the truth from them. “nuf said- why not just ask for your tax money back – what, 2 bucks? I’ll send it to you…

          • Justin Katz

            Glorifying drug use and destructive behavior isn’t “truth,” except to the extent that it validates your own youthful ethos. I’m sure you once held similar views about previous generations’ urge to impose their morality. It’s intriguing, by the way, that you want to play the authority with me (“son”) while also reenacting your adolescent rebellion against me as if I were the stodgy elder. Perhaps you should ask yourself, as a grown-up, whether you’re advocating for the kids or for yourself, kids be damned.

          • Norman

            “Here you are, old guy lecturing me… you want to play the authority with me”

            I’m not playing with you- I’m serious. I am advocating for the kids- I have raised some wonderful ones. Young teenagers know more than you, apparently, will ever know about what they’re going through- almost as if you passed from childhood to adulthood without being a teenager- what happened, they put you in military school?.

            You are “reenacting” your “stodgy elder” self- maybe you should re-examine your seemingly endless need to mind everyone else’s business and sit around all night typing?

          • OceanStateCurrent

            It would seem that fealty to the cliches of your generation lead you to perfectly inverted conclusions.

          • OceanStateCurrent

            By the way, I apologize for showing the respect of taking your comments seriously to merit response. I didn’t realize you were throwing them out there with the expectation that nobody would take them seriously enough to respond.

          • Norman

            I knew that you could not end your empty, scripted, asinine right-wing rhetoric with your last response, I was willing to end it there.

            I could just imagine your twitching eyebrows and sweaty fingers waiting and hoping that I would react to your “clueless entitlement”, “misplaced nostalgia”, “fealty of cliches”, “youthful ethos” and “perfectly inverted conclusions” comments- sorry, your ten-dollar words don’t impress me.

            I had better things to do last night before I went to bed- like finish my cribbage game.

            You are transparent- I can see right through you. You can’t stand that.

          • OceanStateCurrent

            I’d be humbled and cowed if you were accurately describing me or my state of mind rather than some vision of a conservative you were probably handed when you were a kid.

          • Norman

            I believe you. Flame out!

  • OceanStateCurrent

    Perhaps not as petty as fake coughing while somebody’s trying to speak at a public meeting.

    • Renee Cwiek Sartini

      Fake coughing?

      • OceanStateCurrent

        Yes. At one of the school committee meetings on all day kindergarten.

        • Renee Cwiek Sartini

          So this is an I’ll get you back kind of thing? Not cool. I gave my opinion. Have a great day.

          • OceanStateCurrent

            “I’ll get you back”? Not at all. I expressed an opinion about the poor judgment of our school department without any reference to or knowledge of your family’s involvement. You responded with a judgment about my character, and I offered another anecdote that illustrates your lack of credibility to make such judgments.

            Producing Hair in a public high school is inappropriate whether or not you have standing to accuse me of being petty.

          • Renee Cwiek Sartini

            I said critiquing something without seeing it seems petty. I don’t really think that attacks your character. I personally wouldn’t critique anything without seeing it myself first. Sorry if you felt insulted. It just seemed like common sense to me.

          • OceanStateCurrent

            I have sufficient information about the songs and the production to offer the critique that I have. That’s not petty. Frankly, the inappropriateness of this play seems like common sense to me.

          • OceanStateCurrent

            And for the record: I would never seek to “get you back.” I don’t believe one should respond to objectionable behavior by repeating it. I DO believe that we should always hope and strive for others to realize and correct their past bad behavior and learn from it.

          • Renee Cwiek Sartini

            I’m just asking that you keep an open mind and see it before you form an opinion. I will even buy you a ticket and sit with you. Not being snarky it’s an invitation.

  • MikeSilvia

    First, I haven’t seen the production yet, so I’ll reserve judgment, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing it this weekend! I’ve been to the past few Tiverton High School drama club productions and they were really great. They also provided a terrific opportunity the students in our community to showcase their talents. I anticipate that this production will do the same.

    To me, “HAIR” represents a part of our history — of a turbulent time that inspired activism that brought about real social change. It wasn’t just about sex, drugs and rock and roll. It was about challenging oppression and repression, and challenging an unwinnable war that resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of young lives.

    As for “inviting curiosity,” the curiosity is already there. Furthermore, I don’t think anyone is encouraging the use of drugs and engaging in homosexual activities. They’re just not denying that such things exist.

    Finally, Tiverton is actually not the first high school to put on a production of “HAIR.” Coventry High School staged the production in 2011. It received rave reviews too.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      There are centuries’ worth of wonderful musical productions and suitable adaptations, many with the very themes you’re lauding. A school production is implicitly a validation of the content, as compared with addressing subject matter in an academic setting.

      Crist is abusing her position, with the lamentable assent of the administration, school committee, and some parents and others in the community, as a social statement. Congrats: radicals have taken over the public education system. That’s a large part of the reason we are where we are, as a country.

      To suggest that Hair, whatever the adaptation, does not encourage experimentation with drugs and other dangerous activities is, in my opinion, to ignore the text and reality.

      And to be clear: What’s going on with this post is that I’m expressing an opinion. Unfortunately, the sorts of people who think it’s a-okay to have kids singing about “hashish, cocaine, marijuana, opium, LSD, DMT, STP, BLT, A and P, IRT, APC, Alcohol” also think it’s a form of ideological oppression to suggest that this particular libretto might not be a great one to have children memorizing.

      More important, to my way of thinking, the whole issue reinforces the point that public schools have taken on such zealotry in pushing a particular worldview that there’s really no excuse for withholding from parents funds to make other decisions for their children when it comes to education.

      • Brian

        Justin please tell us what plays and or musical with a similar theme would be ok to produce in an after school drama program.

  • Cam Taylor

    I strongly disagree with stating it is inappropriate for a high school show. They stated it is for mature audiences only to let the community know whether or not to bring their children. Also, if the parents of the 14 and 15 year olds were against them partaking in the play- they could easily pull them out. I find it distasteful to shield teenagers from history. This was the 60’s and teaching what truly was culturally going on during this time period is vital to education. That is easily comparable to someone stating, “plays about the holocaust are highly inappropriate in a school setting because they are violent and anti-semitism is present.” Teenagers have the Internet, they see way more drug involvement and harsh influences there than in a play about hippies from the 60’s. Maybe your tax dollars should spend more time creating better health classes to actually inform children of the reality of the use of drugs. If you really care about where your tax dollars go, try providing more educational courses- maybe then the drug rate in RI will go down. I know from personal experience from my time at tiverton high school before transferring to Moses Brown, health class is a joke of a class that is uniformative. The better alternative is not hiding the culture of the past but rather understanding it and growing from it as well as understanding that just telling students, “drugs are bad” changes nothing at all. Or is being realistic and historically correct also “pushing the envelope” too?

    • OceanStateCurrent

      Thank you for the comment; I’d make three responses:

      1. It isn’t hiding history to find ways to teach about it or even perform scenes from it that don’t involve glorifying drugs and the rest of the hippy culture, including the belittling of other people’s values.

      2. Even without the Internet, teenagers pick up on threads in the culture. The main problem with this performance is that it’s an implicit endorsement from the education system, which should be neutral or even somewhat countervailing.

      3. Yes, all parents and students had an option to participate, but a high school production is inherently exclusive. In other words, anybody who objected to this play was excluded from participating. Imagine, for example, if a different drama director had picked some explicitly pro-Christian performance. I suspect most of those defending Hair would argue that was indoctrination and excluded anybody who wasn’t Christian. The fact that the content derived from history would be no defense.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      ” This was the 60’s ”
      There used to be a commonplace saying “If you claim you can remember the 60’s, you weren’t there”

  • Wade EverydayCrusader

    After reading your entry and the Comments section, including your replies, I can assuredly say that you are one of my new heroes. You are one of the rare few who are able to articulate an intelligent and valid point, see into the hearts of those who criticize you as to their motivations and respond in a way which not only defeats their weak emotional retorts buts reveals their character. I wish you all the best in the Ocean State, a battle in which the odds are strongly against you.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      Thank you. I try to avoid thinking I see into people’s hearts, though. Most often disagreements result from poor development of people’s good intentions.

  • sullinsea

    “Grooming” a whole generation to “progressively” lower their capacity for moral, cultural and aesthetic discernment. “Grooming” them to gradually “evolve” toward an enlightened acceptance of pedophilia and ephebophilia with their children and grandchildren. This is what it looks like when a civilization circles the drain.

  • ShannonEntropy

    Leaving aside for the moment that HAIR is a completely inappropriate musical for under·age high school students to be performing [[ What’s next ?? The high school version of DEEP THROAT ?? ]] … we have this =►

    In 15, or 20, years will Juggalos be posited as game changing “representatives” of millennials? They will if it suits Hollywood.

    There are plenty of ICP fans amongst us ancient Boomers too
    ya know
    [[ They played here in LaProv last night at Fête
    http://fetemusic.com/events/icp ]]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hyMG3b05u0

  • Amdrew Costa

    The play was great, this article however… cant say the same

  • Mike Rollins

    There is more than just nudity which might prove rather controversial about any performance of that particular play:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0sjn2m47T8

  • Frank

    I went to see this play and I have to say it was magnificent! These high school kids were totally awesome actors and singers! I applaud all their hard work and dedication. I have never seen HAIR before this and watching this play, with the perspective of it taking place in the 1960’s, was a snapshot of a time in our countries history. It was certainly not used as a forum to promote drug use or sex…it was historic…as was the message I got from watching this play in context…a young man, making his way through all that is right and wrong in life…and then finding himself drafted, only to die in a pointless war far away from home. It has a real and huge message! The final touching scene was when all his friends rose up, in honor of his life and take to raising and waving their war protest signs for all to see as a final act of love. Standing ovation Gloria! Great teaching moment for all!

  • Proud Parent

    “…….Frankly, the inappropriateness of this play seems like common sense to me.”

    As far as the “inappropriateness of the play”….Please share what you would consider to be appropriate? Just one. I’m curious.

    I agree with another comment about the books in the school library. Are you going to write an article and slander the librarian as well? There must be books in the library that you find “inappropriate”. Is the librarian promoting pornography or drug use as you accused the director of doing?

    It was history. And, quite frankly, it fits along PERFECTLY, with what these kids are facing now. We all know that there is a huge drug problem. It is nothing new to them, to parents or grandparents of the students. We were all younger at one time.
    Some of these kids will be graduating in a few weeks and perhaps joining the military.
    It is a scary world out there.
    As a parent I used this production and the fact that my child had a part in it as as opening to start many conversations about drugs, etc.., as it should have, and what it is intended to do.

    “The public high school is apparently no place for children in Tiverton.”

    What does that mean???

    Because your tax dollars are spent on public education, are you implying that our children should be raised as ignorant to the world? Sheltered from everything bad out there? Only the children of the privileged, that can afford private education, are offered the opportunity to learn of the world? Only the privileged will be the leaders and not publicly educated?

    Ignorance breeds ignorance.

    As a parent of a child at Tiverton High School, I am proud to send him there. Tiverton High School, along with parents, is teaching children to be leaders, have open minds, think for themselves, be brave and stand your ground in what you believe in.

    I would hope that your readers would want the same for their children.

    As a parent of a student in the production I would like to see you give a formal, public apology to the drama director, Gloria Crist.

  • Frank

    And I find Justin Katz, referencing ‘child pornography’ in this article, to be a total stretch of his own creepy imagination. With your same ideal…that it may ‘invite curiosity, especially among children with access to the Internet’…you should practice what you preach.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      What would you call it if the play had included the nudity scene with underage children? It didn’t, but I never claimed that it did.

      With regard to inviting curiosity, as I note above, all of these kids have access to the Internet. The point is that the school’s production of this particular play gives it a seal of approval in a way that doesn’t exist in children’s finding things on the Internet (even in this brief essay). That is, the message is that their school approves of the musical Hair, and editing out a song or two is scarcely a degree of separation of the students go on to investigate what was excised.

      That raises an interesting complication. By editing it out, one could say that the school department is not endorsing the song “Sodomy,” but does that mean that it is endorsing the song “Hashish”?

      Parents and community groups can and should address these complex issues with young adults, but public schools are supposed to be more broadly representative and neutral with regard to worldview at this level.

  • Maureen

    Mr Katz, I appreciate your right to share your opinion about the play and its merits at a high school. It appears there has already been much discussion on this feed about that on both sides of the issue. (Although please admit, it would have made more sense for someone to critique a play after actually seeing it?)

    What I wanted to speak about is your way of discussing your concerns. I wanted to challenge some of the things you promote in your article about Tiverton High School and the play director, Gloria Crist.

    First, you indicate that by a high school putting on a play they are then promoting any actions in that play. I’m sure we can look at many high school plays and challenge that assumption. Let’s simply look at Wizard of Oz. This play has a girl run away with strangers and ultimately kills 2 people and their deaths are celebrated. When a high school puts on a play are they then promoting those actions? or is it assumed this is simply a play?

    Second, please correct me if I am wrong, but you seem to indicate that Gloria is promoting “the glorification of sex and drug culture” (as you indicate Hair does), by this statement:

    “Addressing the counterculture of the ’60s in an academic setting is appropriate, to be sure, but Hair revels in it, promotes it. Indeed, Crist seems to intend the explicit propagandizing of the town’s children: “It has been so powerful to watch them get it. But they do. They understand what freedom of choice is, social justice…”

    The definition of propagandizing is “promote or publicize a particular cause, organization, or view especially in a biased or misleading way”. Ironically, the quote you used from Gloria actually seems to challenge your own statement. She is actually teaching them to think and chose for themselves which is the opposite of propagandizing. In my mind, those skills are actually helpful in dealing with peer pressure around the behaviors you report being so concerned about.

    From your statements I would also guess you don’t know Gloria Crist personally. If you did know her you would know that she cares deeply for the kids she works with and wants the best for them. For you to challenge the character in this way of someone who has done so much for those kids is disconcerting and sad.

    You say in your comments that you don’t assume to know what is in the hearts of others :“I try to avoid thinking I see into people’s hearts, though. Most often disagreements result from poor development of people’s good intentions.” However, aren’t you making large assumptions insinuating malicious intentions of Gloria and the high schools? Have you asked their intentions and what they are or are not promoting or are you simply assuming their intentions?

    Again, I appreciate you have your opinions and appreciate your openness in sharing your concerns. I value a good debate where all can learn new perspectives. However, would it be possible to share your concerns without assuming the worst of people? or maybe asking questions about their intent?

    I actually am wondering the intent of this article. You seem to indicate that this article is about your concerns for the kids. In your heart of hearts, was that really your primary goal? It would seem from your last sentence that the main intent of your article is to try to take away money from public schools, which by its very nature would not seem to be in the best interest of those kids you are reportedly concerned about. But I don’t know what’s in your heart.

    Please notice, I don’t intent to challenge your character or assume your intentions. I am simply asking you directly about your intentions and admitting how they may seem at first glance. I do, however, challenge your methods in getting your point across in that they can be hurtful to others.

    I wish, in this great Town of Tiverton, that people with different views could have thought provoking and supportive discussions (even if they don’t agree) rather than have a focus on tearing each other down.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      Hello, Maureen.

      Thank you for your considerate comment. To start with a relatively small point, I’ll address your parenthetical about my having not seen the production. The reality is that I was already very familiar with the musical itself, and the greater part of my criticism had to do with that. Hair does promote drug use and attack traditional values. That attribute is so intrinsic to the script that no editing could remove it. Having watched the show, now, I can say that it is inappropriate almost exactly to the degree I would have expected. I’d even go so far as to say that some of the attacks on Catholicism were more aggressive and more inappropriate than I would have expected Crist to leave in.

      As for the manner of my discussing my concerns, as you put it, I’d make two points. First, there’s some history, here, with Crist being among the most aggressive partisans attacking my friends who are locally involved for years and even now spreading libelous lies about me. Second, I’ve found it’s very difficult to make arguments that seem reasonable across ideological divides.

      Your point about Crist’s attempting to get the students to think for themselves seems to me to miss some key contextual points. Gloria clearly has views far to the political left. Her choice of a musical that promotes values far to the political left can hardly be understood as an attempt to have her students consider all views. Let the left-wing drama coach put on an honest production of a culturally conservative play, and I’ll believe she’s not propagandizing.

      As for character, I can only note that Crist has personally attacked people in town whom she did not previously know in vicious ways that left them in tears. I’m sure it’s all just the passion of the righteous artistic progressive, but outside of progressive circles, that’s not much of an excuse.

  • OceanStateCurrent

    Maureen,

    I apologize for the long delay in response. Sometimes thoughtful comments that merit thoughtful responses find reciprocation delayed when other tasks have greater urgency.

    Your questions touch on topics on which I expend a great deal of thought, although — in keeping with our agreed premise that it’s difficult to communicate across divides — the most subtle and well-considered answers tend to be the least satisfactory to those of opposing views. In central expression, I would assert that I believe myself to have devoted more than the ordinary effort to understanding where Crist and others are coming from. Obviously, you do not know what suggested words and actions from my acquaintances I have rebuffed or what statements I’ve considered and then edited out of my commentary.

    I think I have a pretty good idea from whence Gloria finds her motivation, and the reality is that I have a great deal of sympathy for it. In the terms suggested by my point of view, I believe I can see where her worldview has been corrupted, and corrupted by good intentions and a generally laudable approach. Life does that to people’s thought.

    When I refer to our history, I’m not giving myself license for behavior I would otherwise find objectionable; I’m indicating that one can only reasonably tolerate so much before certain conclusions become inevitable. Gloria Crist has treated friends of mine so terribly as to drive one of them to tears. Her latest public act was to lie viciously about me and make offensive allusions on the basis of her lies. At some point one needn’t claim to see into hearts to conclude that a firm response is justified.

    I can agree to disagree with others; given my beliefs and my occupation, that’s a necessity. But it isn’t possible to reach that point when the other party is either incapable of or disinclined toward accurately reading what I have written, always assuming a worse interpretation than the text allows and then compounding that with dishonest fabrications.

    From my very first correspondence with Gloria Crist years ago, she made it very clear that she’d allocated me and those with whom I associate as a certain class of character actors in a play she’d adopted as reality. Just so, I can understand what she and (presumably) the school department intended in choosing a manifestly inappropriate musical for the students to perform, but intentions don’t justify actions.

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