Friday, April 13, 2012

No ’Bully’ for You :: EDGE on the Net:

In 2007, a handful of chaperones brought a group of pubic school kids visiting from California to the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to attend a monologue by Mike Daisey, who works semi-improvisationally from a set of notes and twines together diverse narrative, historical, and philosophical threads into a braided whole that informs and illuminates. Because of Daisey’s style, his shows are a little different at each performance. Most people would call that art and understand that there’s a higher intention at work when Daisey is on stage. But when Daisey used the f-word, the kids’ chaperones (who described themselves as coming from "a Christian community") promptly gathered up their youthful flock and stampeded out of the auditorium. One of them paused along the way to trespass on the stage and pour his bottle of water over Daisey’s notes, an act of vandalism that destroyed the artist’s carefully prepared source material.

The incident made the news, of course, and the statement from the group that had taken such offense was that they had felt a need to get the kids to "safety" once the word "fuck" cropped up in Daisey’s performance. Exactly how, and why, the kids were in danger (Physical? Mental? Were they going to go blind?) from hearing a vulgar, but commonplace, word was a topic not touched up in the official explanation. Nor was any clarification forthcoming as to why the sight of one of these offended guardians of the youth vandalizing Daisey’s property constituted an increase in anyone’s "safety."