Thursday, March 8, 2007

Censoring the Vagina...Anatomy or Blasphemy

...the genital canal in the female, extending from the uterus to the vulva.
-Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary

"In the latest jaw-dropping educational idiocy, three honors students at a suburban New York City high school have been suspended for saying "vagina" during an in-school performance of The Vagina Monologues. The trio of 11th-grade girls from John Jay High were warned prior to the open-mic session that it would be inappropriate to utter that word while performing Eve Ensler's feminist play. But, rather than infringe upon Ensler's creative work, they decided as a team to disobey, reciting the naughty three syllables of anatomy in unison.

Thus far, Principal Richard Leprine has denied any censorship, instead claiming that the girls were punished not because of what they said but because they disobeyed orders not to say it. School Board President Peter Breslin abetted, stating that the decision to suspend was not about censorship but rather about insubordination.

Fine, I'm willing to except that cop-out on face value, but if saying "vagina" wasn't a problem, then why issue an order forbidding it in the first place? Was the school's objective to teach them that no matter how repressively backwards a rule is, it must be followed blindly? Or maybe its goal was to demonstrate how irony works by calling the event an "open mic" and then punishing those with the gall to speak into the mic openly?

Either way, it seems the only thing the school achieved through this fiasco was to educate students and remind parents that bureaucracies care more about protecting their authority than accommodating the public they were designed to serve."

Full article (written by Emil Steiner) about the the suspension can be found in the Washington Post


scalpel said...

Look. I don't think it ought to be blasphemy, just saying 'Jehovah'.
Oooh! He said it again! Oooh!...
You're only making it worse for yourself!
Making it worse?! How could it be worse?! Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

Anonymous said...

Our society of freedom worship has begun to glamorize insubordination, spite and misbehavior. People acting because they "feel like it, no matter what they say" is at the root of may societal problems which irritate the hell out of you at your public service job. So consider that those students learning a bit of a lesson is a good thing. Sometime it's best to keep your mouth shut and people who don't learn that learn painful lessons when they are older.

Jason said...

"People acting because they "feel like it, no matter what they say" is at the root of may societal problems which irritate the hell out of you at your public service job."

I agree with the statement - in a narrow sense - however, the "insubordination" you describe was for citing the word vagina; moreover, in the context of expression. The problem is not with the "insubordinators", but with those who use their authority in pathetic ways.

The Platypus said...

Why would the school even consider staging a play whose title could not be said aloud if it was going to put them in such a tizzy? They could have avoided making the adults look like the hypocrites that they are by choosing a less controversial performance in the first place. I suggest "The Teddy Bear's Picnic".