Theatre Matters

Contemplations on the dramatic arts from a national perspective

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Steven Oxman has contributed to such publications as the Los Angeles Times, American Theatre, Stagebill, and, most frequently, Variety, for which he has written over 300 television and theatre reviews.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Ugliness

The protests over the BBC airing of "Jerry Springer, the Opera" are getting ugly. First, see my previous posting on the irony of these protests to begin with. Then check out this news story. Key quote:

"'BBC staff and their families have received a significant number of abusive and threatening telephone calls, some of which have been reported to the police as criminal matters,' the spokesman said.

Christian protestors had demonstrated peacefully outside the BBC's London offices before and during the broadcast on Saturday night, condemning the show's profane language and portrayal of Jesus as a fat man wearing a diaper.

But the campaign of abusive phone calls, many answered in daytime by the executives' young children, had taken the protest to an unacceptable level, a BBC source told Reuters.

'These staff have been harassed and bullied way beyond what is acceptable in a free and democratic society,' the source said."

(By the way, as I recall, Jesus is not portrayed as a fat man in a diaper. He's played by the same actor who also, in Act I, portrays a different character who's in a diaper. Is it, therefore, because Jesus is portrayed as fat?)

Perhaps these protesters were inspired by the successful protests of some Sikhs, whose threats of violence managed to stop production of a play by a Sikh writer because the black comedy portrayed sex in a mosque. Read about it here.

Of course, there's no way such censorship could happen in America. We're not afraid of free expression, even if we find it offensive.

Are we?