I had a letter printed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal this morning. In response to local citizens’ and the media’s universal lambasting of parents who are protesting a high school’s performances of Rent and The Laramie Project, I wrote:
As soon as news broke of a parental protest to Green Valley High School’s productions of two socially progressive plays, a chorus of indignation started singing the praises of the brave teachers and actors and decrying the “obvious” hatred and ignorance of the parents. What actually bothers me far more than the political agenda at work in the play selections or the reflexive mob sanctimony of the aggrieved is the monolithic, vitriolic reaction of the community — including the Review-Journal — to the parents’ opposition.
What lessons will the children who likewise oppose the performances learn from this controversy? If your opinion is different from the majority, be quiet. If you question the assumptions of the majority, they will have free rein to slander you. If you think something is deeply wrong but it’s popular, you have no right to oppose it.
If these aren’t the true lessons to take from this matter, then we have to ask why the media isn’t also sympathetically profiling the students who oppose the biased selection of plays, or why local commentators aren’t applauding the courage of a handful of people for standing up to a smug establishment.
This treatment appears to be just another example of the mainstream’s one-way tolerance.
UPDATE: The comments section at the end of the page on the newspaper’s web site where my letter was printed has some very interesting debate, which largely illustrates my point–only those with officially sanctioned views should participate in cultural discussions. All others should stay home, and will be stigmatized as knuckle-draggers if they dare speak up. The democratic process is moot–the decisions about culture have been made for us.
Also, apparently, someone in those comments thought to “expose” me by googling my name and listing the results. How strange and sad.