Sunday, 9 March 2008

Angels in America Controversy

LifeSiteNews (a pro life and seemingly right of centre North American website) is running a story about Angels in America been offered as a text in one Illinois school. The site seems rather worked up about the text which my students should be familiar with from my human rights class. According to the site: 'The books contain graphic descriptions of sodomy heretofore only heard of in hardcore homosexual pornography. With numerous uses of the 'f' word and vulgar sexual references to Mother Teresa, the Mother of Jesus, and God.'

The site goes on to say: 'The State's Attorney's office of Lake County, Illinois, deemed the books "obscene" according to Illinois obscenity laws, violating the "distributing harmful materials to minors" statute. However, state and federal obscenity laws exempt schools and libraries under "affirmative defense," giving the school and teachers involved near immunity.'

Finally they invite people tow rite to the Principal to express concerns. I would urge readers to write to the principal giving him their support in what seems to me a worthwhile project. How on earth the play - which is regularly performed by schools, toured last year as part of the National Theatre, has been a TV series/HBO film and is widely available in bookshops - can be be found to be obscene is a mystery to me. It is a moving and wonderful play that is both insightful and thought provoking. The contact details are:

Deerfield High School

Principal Sue Hebson

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Law & Sexuality said...

Take a look at this other comment: "It takes a lot to shock me," said Matt Barber, CWA's Policy Director for Cultural Issues. "My jaw hit the ground when I read what's in this book. This isn't a First Amendment issue; this is about school officials betraying the community trust. Heads need to roll here. Assigning this racist, pornographic smut to high school kids is nothing short of child abuse. Don't forget, this was required reading until parents complained." It's from:

A lot to shock him? Please! How on earth these plays are racist or pornographic is a mystery to me. It seems ironic that a play set in the 1980s - examining issues of prejudice and discriminationa gaisnt the backdrop of Reagonite Republicanism and the AIDS crisis gets this response. Read the plays Mr Barber!

BlackTsunami said...

And ALL of these right wing sites are omitting the fact that parents were well aware that their children were reading the book.

Parents had to sign a permission slip to that effect.

Miranda said...

does it not occur to the politicians that causing such debates around such a text, is contrary to their intentions of banning and discouraging the use of the text. Creating such drama around the reading of a text which as stated is widely available, encourages students to trace the book and read it. being part of twenty first century society are we not about embracing new concepts and introducing new ideas. applying that this is pornographic smut is debateable, considering the smut the media and the internet portray which children have easy access too.

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