Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Agatha Christie Banned in Ohio

WTOL-TV Toledo, OH: School cancels play that had racist slur as original title: "WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) - A widely performed school play has been canceled by officials at a suburban Cincinnati high school after complaints from a local NAACP official.

Agatha Christie's 'Ten Little Indians' was to be performed by students at Lakota East High School this weekend.

The play is based on Christie's 1939 mystery novel.

But local NAACP president Gary Hines says the play is inappropriate for a school production because the original title for Christie's novel used a racial slur."

23 comments:

Gerard said...

Huh?

Todd Mason, part Injun said...

Well, the still unfortunate title (I do prefer AND THEN THERE WERE NONE) is a US update of the original nursery rhyme in England, the original title of the novel the play adapts, which was TEN LITTLE NIGGERS. Why exactly that would be a good reason to cancel the play is Very Questionable.

TM said...

from the CINCI ENQUIRER original:

Keith Kline, Lakota East principal, said: "Certainly, it was a tough decision but one that needed to be made.

"Doing the play now is not a way to promote the respectfulness we are trying to promote."

--Or even respect... of which this typically idiotic show of force on the part of a school administrator deserves none. (See the ENQUIRER story on my hotlinked initials.)

TM said...

And I do enjoy the name of the school and its district in re: all this.

Bill Crider said...

Yes, I loved the names.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Sigh, I'm totally for NOT offending anyone, but at the rate we're going, we won't be able to say anything without offending someone. Then what?

Lonnie

jj solari said...

I am totally outraged that anyone would even type "Ten Little Niggers," as has been done right here. In fact now twice. But I was forced to. In order to reference the previous totally offensive typing incident. So that doesn't count. Ok, ten minutes have passed and I am still totally outraged: I notice that nothing in my immediate neighborhood has changed even one whit, despite my total outrage.. I can only assume that my total outrage accounts for nothing. Now what do I do.

Benjie said...

Not familiar with the stage version, I taught not only And Then There Were None in the classroom, but The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at another time. No one took issue with me when I taught The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Would this man be offended at any of these others?

TM said...

Read the ENQUIRER version. The complainant has a business teaching Diversity Classes, and a history of complaining with possibly the hope that his complaints might lead to his employment. But it was the adminsitrators of the school who pulled the plug, as such tools are prone to do, the cowards/bullies.

gomer said...

I have some familiarity with the Ohio school system. I think the real objection is that the actors and audience would be required to count to ten.

Benjie said...

Actually it's counting backward (10-1). Sure they could do this; Letterman does it on an (almost) nightly basis.

gomer said...

Did Letterman go to school in Ohio?

Little Tommy said...

Oh, yeah, that's right. Completely gloss over the fact that the title's sizest.

child of zippy said...

I actually got little tommy's remark. after about five minutes of total puzzlement. good luck to the rest of you! contemplating it while in a front loading dryer on "cottons" helps!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Ironic that the author of such tepid fare comes under PC scrutiny.

Onesie said...

To say nothing of the numerism...

TM said...

Patti--Christie had a few sharp observations in her work I've read, but this isn't about her or her work, just typical opportunism on the parts of various bureaucrats, whether the opportunism of employment or the opportunism of job security.

taint tancredo said...

Damned plays and novels streaming over our borders from abroad!

TM said...

I guess actually, the complainant is more properly an Entrepreneur, despite his institutional credential.

Juri said...

Why didn't they just the alternate title (And Then There Were None) and get on with it? There are racial slurs in the text.

TM said...

Because the principal (and his related principal Deciders) in the school district decided that it was easier to truckle to a ridiculous complaint than to explain why the complaint, in this instance, was ridiculous...which would've meant explaining why the original title of the novel the play's based on is irrelevant to the nature of the play. I particularly enjoy the notion that somehow the complainant is to blame...he's an opportunist, but he should've been immediately dismissed in this instance. But he was not. Because the way to bet it, with public school administrators, to repeat myself, is to assume they are cowardly bullies. Or bullying cowards, if one prefers. (And, I suspect, Juri, that you meant to type that there are no slurs in the novel or the play, which as far as I know is true.)

Anonymous said...

Bill, the article might have run in Toledo, but sadly it's my current residence of Cincinnati that is responsible for the latest debacle.

outraged ally said...

As an educator I am appalled at the decision to proceed with the play under any name. The title, the previous title, the new title, and the lyrics to the song or 'nursery rhyme' from which they were derived are racist, and it is very clear that faculty, administrators, parents and students at Lakota East are aware of that. Continuing in arrogance despite the pleas of aggrieved groups is reprehensible. Supporters of the play may think that now 'there are none' to stand up and respond, but this too is a sign of deep and abiding ignorance- the same ignorance that allows them to unabashedly use the name 'Lakota' and stick 'tomahawks' in the helmets of their team. These symbols are not funny and they do no honor to Native Americans. They are offensive, and the continued use of those symbols dishonors the school district. Listen to the national outcry, and consider how respectable institutes of higher learning will respond to Lakota east graduates with this abominable behavior the symbol of their school. How can this play represent a 'teachable moment' when the entire school district consistently endorses racism? Who there is qualified to teach about 'diversity'? The play is the tip of the iceberg. The call to stop the play is NOT about censorship. It is about more free speech - it is about hearing at long last the voices of people Lakota East PRETENDS to emulate but continues to ignore. Shame on all of you who support the censorship of indigenous people!