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Monday, January 9, 2023

The only thing Indecent about the play Indecent is DCPS canceling it (draft)

When I went to high school, we had an annual event called Mr. Ugly, a beauty pageant of sorts where high school boys dressed up as women. I wonder if this decades-old event is going to be allowed to continue or not.  

I ask because last week, inexplicably DCPS made Douglass Anderson school for the performing arts cancel their spring play Indecent. The reason they gave was it had adult themes.  

From the Jax Today newsletter 

A high school production of “Indecent,” a play about censorship featuring a prostitute and gay Jewish characters, has been canceled due to what Duval County Public Schools describes as “inappropriate” content. 

Hmm, a story about a Jew and prostitute, does that sound familiar to anyone? Maybe from a little book called the bible? 

DCPS has sure embraced Governor DeSantis’s don’t say gay mantra, and they are doing so with the flimsiest of excuses.   

Douglas Anderson has put on plays with adult themes before.  

A look at the Boosters site shows stills from Brighton Beach memoirs which are described as, A comedy built around the Jerome family during the Depression and focusing on fifteen-year-old Eugene, preoccupied with sex and the Yankees. 

Sex seems like a pretty adult theme to me, but I guess since it is hetero, not homo sex, then it's okay.  

I bet if we looked back at DA’s past, we would find plenty of productions with adult themes, but suddenly they are no longer permissible, or rather some adult themes, that is. 

Greene has said over and over that she supports the LGBTQ community but over and over, her actions tell a different story, a story that wants to send them back to the closet, a story that is okay with bigotry and segregation.  

Then friends does it matter if Greene is a homophobe something I believe or if she is just a coward unwilling to stand up to a small vocal group hell-bent on changing education to fit their narrow views because the result is the same? No it doesn’t.  

Then think about this, maybe its not just the LGBTQ that is facing this bigotry from DCPS, maybe it’s the Jewish community as well.    

The story of DCPC canceling the play made the Jewish Telegraphic Times. 

“The 100-year anniversary of Sholem Asch’s ‘God of Vengeance’ being shut down on Broadway is the same week that our production of ‘Indecent’ would have opened,” said Madeline Scotti, the student who first drew attention on Instagram to the censorship by her local school board of the “queer Jewish love story” in which Scotti had been cast. “One hundred years — 100 years — and we are still fighting the same injustices that Sholem Asch and his company did.” 

Scotti is a student at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida, where students had been planning to perform Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” this spring — until officials told them on Thursday, the first day of rehearsals, that their show could not go on. Scotti attributed the censorship to Florida’s new law limiting classroom instruction and discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity — what opponents call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. 

Vogel said she, too, was first concerned about homophobia — then added other worries as she heard from people in Jacksonville. 

“Parents who live in the community have written to me and said, ‘There is rising antisemitism in our community,’” Vogel told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Sunday. “I very much think that what the school board may not be able to express is their concern about presenting a play that shows how censorship is the first step to the Holocaust.” 

This is on the heels of DCPS banning books, including ones from Jewish Authors 

From the Jerusalem Post 

Mara Rockliff’s “Chik Chak Shabbat” has become a standard for Jewish children since its 2014 publication. The picture book intended for young readers tells a whimsical story about a group of diverse neighbors who help an observant Jewish woman make her cholent — a stew traditionally served on the Sabbath — when they realize she doesn’t feel well enough to cook it herself. 


So why did a school district in Jacksonville, Florida, purchase copies of the book only to keep it from students for 15 months? 


That’s what happened at Duval County Public Schools. The district initially ordered Rockliff’s book for its students in July 2021 as part of a larger diversity-themed collection of books called “Essential Voices,” which is offered to educators by Iowa-based educational company Perfection Learning. 

Once again, does it matter if Greene and DCPS are antisemitic or just cowards looking out for themselves? The outcome, Jewish voices being banned, is the same. 

There is no doubt the district is in a hard place, DeSantis is anti-public education as much as he is anti-LGBTQ; the thing is DCPS saying they are just following orders will not be forgiven by history.  

Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and Greene is consistently wrong, and at this point, after years of her being so, the reasons don’t matter.   

1 comment:

  1. DA recently put on a production of Chicago. They've also done Rent in the not too distant past. How are these musicals less offensive than Indecent. Is it just the title or is dcps more concerned about the proud boys showing up?