Sunday, February 17, 2008

High School Maturity: Only in Amherst

February 17, 2008 5:47 PM
I respectfully would like to ask you to consider everything with an open mind and keep sharing your ideas, but not shoving them down the throats of all the members of our community. I am glad you have opinions you can stand behind, but they are yours and not mine. If I don't want to live under your rules, regulations and values than I shouldn't have to. I have been told (though I cannot confirm this to be a truth, which is why I ask you) that you are responsible for the restrictions on all the students wishing to attend the performance of the Vagina Monologues. If this is indeed true you have done precisely this, then I am afraid that your cause is even more forlorn than I thought.

I hope you will consider my words,
The Student Liberator

P.S. I understand that you have a daughter that will possibly be attending ARHS in the next few years. I hope for her sake that you have disbanded this blog or in the very least become more composed in your opposition of the majority of people who are residents of Amherst and its surrounding towns. I say this because if you do not, your widespread unpopularity will be passed directly to your daughter (which I could only hope, but not guarantee will remain non-violent and strictly be limited to complete abhorrence). Even if your daughter shares no common ground with you, the name you have made for your self will surely trickle down to her.

February 17, 2008 7:23 PM

Well, since you sound like a 17-year-old pimple faced twit I'm not worried about your implied threat to my daughter. Because even now at age 6--about to test for her Yellow Belt--she could probably kick your sorry, scrawny ass.

Amherst is the ONLY public school in Massachusetts (probably the nation) to perform ‘The Vagina Monologues’ ostensibly because it reduces “violence against women” and yet you—obviously an insider—threaten my young daughter? Hmmm.

Just for the record: (and blogs are Public Records) if you EVER--even remotely--threaten my daughter again, I WILL hunt you down. Promise!


(For his entire rambling manifesto see comments 2/15 "and so it begins" upload)

10 comments:

StudentLiberator said...

Sir, i have absolutely no intention of hurting any one in any way shape or form, but i was simply telling you that your outspokenness will reflect badly upon your daughter who will soon find herself experiencing the social rigors of highschool life. I DEARLY hope that NO harm should ever come upon your daughter for any reason whatsoever and was not suggesting in the slightest that anyone should or has any right to do anything violent to your daughter.

I am a pacifist, and i apologize for giving any other feeling to you. I believe no one deserves to have their child hurt as a result of their actions, and must reiterate that I have absolutely no intentions of doing so.

O'Reilly said...

Larry, what are the chances StudentLiberator’s parents wouldn’t let him/her go to see the Vagina Monologue and (s)he’s decided to blame you for it?

I have been told (though I cannot confirm this to be a truth, which is why I ask you) that you are responsible for the restrictions on all the students wishing to attend the performance of the Vagina Monologues. If this is indeed true you have done precisely this, then I am afraid that your cause is even more forlorn than I thought.

In fairness StudentLiberator, Larry doesn’t work at the high school. But yours is a good question and one you ought to take up with Mark Jackson, “Why were there rules for attending the Vagina Monologues?”

I think Principal Jackson would give you an answer and I’m pretty sure your parents already did. Sometimes adults who are not your parents will spend more time explaining things. Educators are especially good at it or ought to be. It’s what they do for a living. I think it’s worth understanding why there were rules instituted. I also think it’s the question that motivated you to post your comment.

If someone says it’s because of Larry Kelley, ask yourself, what formal authority does Larry Kelley have here? The answer is none. So then, there must be some element of Larry’s argument or another argument that instigated the consideration about who should make the judgment if the material is suitable for a particular student. Unfortunately for you, minors do not get to decide these issues for themselves and that is because this material, when distributed as a motion picture on DVD, is rated R. In other words, it’s recognized by the motion picture industry as inappropriate for people under a certain age, 18?

I applaud your intellectual curiosity. At the risk of being subversive, let me suggest you read the script. I bet it’s in the school library or in Jones Library. If you do read it or watch it, talk to your friends who saw the play and the drama teacher at the high school. Ask more questions. The play has some heavy stuff, which you may want to talk over to understand better.

In your awkwardly written postscript, you seem to want to make Larry aware of how his public opinions might affect his teenage daughter in high school, seven years from now. Being in high school, you may have had such an experience yourself. For example, was it a little embarrassing telling your friends your parents would not let you go to the play? If so, that’s small potatoes. Your parents try to make decisions in your best interest. Larry and I were in high school long ago so we understand what you meant but what you meant is not what you said, and what you said boarders on insulting and threatening. I give you credit for what you meant. Larry did not. I’m not going to tell you what to do but if it were me, I’d ask him for a mulligan.

Best wishes to you. Keep asking questions and getting answers.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah o'reilly, I think you nailed it.

StudentLiberator said...

O'reilly,

thank you for actually addressing the crux of my original comment.

Though I know that Kelly has no affiliation with ARHS, I was under the impression that the controversy he had caused in previous years as well as this year had pressured Mark Jackson into making the performance more regulated. I know that they had met to discuss Kelly's concerns with the performance, and I regret if i did in fact jump to the wrong conclusion.

I did however attend the Vagina Monologues this year, as well as last year. I can say that both years, the performance was spectacular. Sure the script does at moments push the comfort level of many of the people who see it, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Our society is in need of a drastic restructuring, and by inducting words and ideas that were once taboo is, in my opinion, a step in the right direction.

I think that no content (including R rated movies) should be censored, and anyone who is a US citizen should use their freedom of choice to the fullest. I have no problem with an announcement of the content of any media that has the potential to offend, but when it boils down to it the choice should always be made by the viewer (or where appropriate, the parent).

I honestly think that the content of The Vagina Monologues is suitable for the majority of high school students, and I also believe that anyone who plans to attend should know what they are going to see before hand so they can handle it maturely and with an open mind.

Everyone needs perspective, because seeing only one side of the issue isn't seeing the whole issue. No matter what the situation, I always try to view the issue from all sides. I think that Kelly and his supporters need to take a good look at the students performing the Vagina Monologues, and consider their motives and why they are so passionate about this performance. The people putting on the production also need to consider the concerns of some parents who don't feel their children are mature enough to see the performance. If a parent feels so strongly that their child will be marred or unable to handle The Vagina Monologues, then by all means they can use their parental power to stop them. This doesn't need to be implemented with a blanket permission slip for all students, who are then asked to have their parents call to verify their signature, as well as having their tickets signed prior to arriving.

Thank you again O'reilly, for not immediately dismissing my words because you don't agree with them.
Consideration is the key to progression.

LarryK4 said...

Funny you should use the term "crux". You may be too young to remember, but five years ago Max Karson was suspended for distributing his newsletter ‘The Crux’ where he wrote about masturbation.

This from Wikipedia: The administrators had argued the graphic material in the magazine violated the school's handbook's definition of obscenity as it described "nudity or sexual conduct in a way that most members of the community think clearly offensive".

I am sure most women (even in Amherst) find the C-word offensive; and most adults disapprove of 24-year-olds having sex with 16 or 13-year-olds (with or without plying them with vodka).

And why did the ARHS administration suspend Max for discussing masturbation but allow, promote and encourage a play where a teen actually mimics it on stage?

Perhaps because he was a white male? (And if memory serves, Max did have acne.)

StudentLiberator said...

Although Max was long gone by the time I began attending ARHS, I do know about The Crux and surrounding issues. This is a valid comparison, but I believe the reason that he was suspended pertained to the fact that he was directly attacking specific students and administrators. It is not out of line for anyone to discuss masturbation in a mature manner, and i am sure no student would be suspended for doing so.
Also from same Wikipedia article:

"Teachers were offended by the newspaper when Karson wrote satirical articles about racism, homosexuality, masturbation, and sex acts between students and administrators."

Though some of the monologues are intended to make the audience laugh, the performance could hardly be considered satire

O'Reilly said...



"I think that no content (including R rated movies) should be censored, and anyone who is a US citizen should use their freedom of choice to the fullest."



Our first amendment rights protect us from censorship BY THE GOVERMENT, they do not protect us from, nor were they meant to protect us, from the kind of dialogue Larry has initiated about the Vagina Monologues performance at the high school. What Larry is doing is not censorship, even if his argument convinced Jackson to not produce the play at the high school because Larry is not the government.

Principal Mark Jackson and ultimately the school board are responsible for the decision about what can be performed. This is perfectly acceptable in our country. Public schools are taxpayer funded and minors attend them. These minors have parents who make decision on their behalf notwithstanding the minor's first amendment rights. The school also makes decisions on the minor's behalf, notwithstanding the minor’s first amendment rights. When you are no longer a minor, when you grow up, that's when you get to make those decisions without someone else's authority changing your choices.

In this case, censorship - a violation of first amendment rights - would be if the government would not allow Ensler’s play to be published or performed.

The decision about whether the play is suitable for an ARHS audience has always rested with ARHS and the question as to whether a student's parents or the school decides if a student can attend is an administrative decision not Larry Kelley's.



"I honestly think that the content of The Vagina Monologues is suitable for the majority of high school students, and I also believe that anyone who plans to attend should know what they are going to see before hand so they can handle it maturely and with an open mind."



You seem like you've given it some thought. How though, did students come to "know what they are going to see" before the performance?



"This doesn't need to be implemented with a blanket permission slip for all students, who are then asked to have their parents call to verify their signature, as well as having their tickets signed prior to arriving."


Again, if this is a burdensome procedure, take it up with Mark Jackson. Larry did not fashion the solution. If it were me, that is, if I were Mark Jackson, I would want every student who was younger than 18, to show verifiable parent permission.



About Max Karson
, I’m surprised you do not defend his right to free speech and the right of everyone to decide whether they want to examine his content. If Eve Ensler, why not Max Karson?

In fact you seem to indicate that Max Karson crossed a line. So where is the line? At what point is it acceptable to forbid the publication and distribution of material in your high school? You would have us believe there is no decency standard and that Karson’s mistake was satire that others found offensive. What is the standard and how do you reconcile your take on Karson with this




I think that no content (including R rated movies) should be censored, and anyone who is a US citizen should use their freedom of choice to the fullest…

"Though some of the monologues are intended to make the audience laugh, the performance could hardly be considered satire"

LarryK4 said...

NO content should be censored? So it’s okay for 'The Vagina Monologues' to play at the Middle School, how about Wildwood Elementary, or my daughter's old alma mater Crocker Farm Pre-School?

StudentLiberator said...

I know that Kelly did not censor The Vagina Monologues, I simply wished to voice my opinions regarding censorship, because he has been a strong advocate for it.

You are correct, we are only protected from censorship from the government under the constitution, that does not make censorship any more justified in all the other places it is found.

To Larry:You are talking about WHERE it would be performed, not who is viewing it. I personally wouldn't see the play having relevance for my (hypothetical) elementary school child, but that should be my choice as a parent. Am I suggesting presenting The Vagina Monologues at the local elementary schools? Absolutely not, I am simply saying that all forms of the media should be available, so the masses are able to empower and educate themselves.

Back to The Crux, I would like to make it clear that it is a judgment call on what is acceptable and that is just my opinion. I think profane words(e.g. C**t which i refrain from saying to respect your opinions) are nothing without cruel intentions behind them. that is not to say that any profanity should be thrown around with disregard though. I think Max Karson stepped over that line, where he no longer used the words in a positive way, but with disregard for the power they possess. This is however my opinion, and I respect the fact that you may disagree with that (or may just be trying to make my views sound shaky).

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