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Views & Voices

School principal bans ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ because a gay man wrote it

Friday, May 13, 2011

My senior year at Marshfield High School was getting rolling and auditions for our drama club’s production of Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour” were scheduled for the afternoon.

We’d had a reading of the script and everyone was excited about it. It was about a private girls’ school where this nasty little girl decides to spread a rumor that two of her teachers are lesbians. Turns out one is and is actually in love with the one that isn’t.

[Spoiler Alert:] Drama ensues, lesbian teacher kills herself over the rumors and unrequited love in the end. That morning, the principal got on the loudspeaker and announced that the auditions were cancelled and that the drama club would be selecting a new play.

We were all confused and some of us marched down to the his office to find out what was up.

It seems the principal had heard from a few freshman parents that the play was all about lesbians and he decided it wasn’t appropriate. We hemmed and hawed, and the principal told us his decision was “final.”

So I marched over to the library (the librarian loved me and let me hang out in her office and use the phone if I wanted), and I called the ACLU.

The next morning, the officers of the drama club were called down to his office -– “I rented the movie last night and my real problem is that there’s a suicide, so just make sure that happens offstage and you can do the play.”

Dwight Probasco

Cuz ya know, we were thinking it might be fun to have someone shoot themselves center stage. Anyway… I was reminded of this story when I read this little morsel of bigotry straight out of Sarah Palin’s hometown.

Wasilla High School’s Symphonic Jazz Choir had been working on Freddie Mercury’s hit anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody” all year in preparation for a performance at the school’s graduation next month.

The song had been played at several school events
including the prom and (as is the case for several decades now), no one seemed to have a problem with it. Until now.

It seems Principal Dwight Probasco received some phone calls from some angry parents who deemed the song “inappropriate” because it was written by a gay man.

So, instead of realizing he was the principal of a high school which more than likely taught about Michelangelo, Alexander the Great, Socrates, Lord Byron, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Proust, Stein, Leonard Bernstein, Tennessee Williams, Andy Warhol, Leonardo Da Vinci, Melville, Tchaikovsky, Eleanor Roosevelt, Julius Caesar, Hans Christian Anderson, Aristotle, Noel Coward and Cole Porter, he decided to ban the song.

The students were naturally up in arms about this, having been practicing for some time. Choir member Casey Hight went so far as to contact a gay and lesbian organization in Anchorage for some help.

On Monday, reportedly due to fear of the ACLU, Probasco lifted the ban and is allowing an edited version of the song to be performed (to leave out the parts about killing).

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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33 more reader comments:

  1. So hard to accept educators who acquiesce in the face of bigotry. Much like politicians who are elected to serve, educators are supposed to have the well-being and intellectual growth of their students front and center. Yielding to the narrow-minded views of a handful of bigoted parents truly sends the wrong message particularly when it comes to embracing the uniqueness and diversity in all of us.

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:15am
  2. IS IT JUST ME R DOES THIS FOOL RESEMBLE ELTON JOHN??

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:18am
  3. lmao… seriously?

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:20am
  4. Does this fool not remember that our community MADE culture?

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:20am
  5. & FASHION @ THAT.

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:21am
  6. are you kidding me?

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:23am
  7. They do not realize that Walt Whitman and Hughes are gay, so does that mean they have to ban too? This is censorship, this will never help, it will in fact only hurt them in the end.

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:23am
  8. Freddy would be turning in his grave at this kind of homophobic bull! And these idiots are teaching future generations! So help me God! Best of luck to the choir. I hope they kick ass (or am I not allowed say that cause it’s a bold word ;)

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:23am
  9. What????!!!

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:25am
  10. …really?!?!?!…

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:25am
  11. WHAT. RU SERIOUS. PEOPLE R TOO HOMOPHOBIC THESE DAYS

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:25am
  12. So much for visiting the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. A “gay” created it. . . Could go on and on and . . .What about Disneyland, World and cartoons. .

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:26am
  13. idiot. he is proally mad cause non of us guys want him.

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:26am
  14. This coming from a guy that looks like a bad 80′s lesbian, lol.
    What an Asshole

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:30am
  15. It’s from Wasilla!!! What did you expect?!?!?

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:35am
  16. Oh for christ sake! These people need to pull their heads out of their asses!!

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:36am
  17. That’s such a good song!!!!

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:37am
  18. …lol Are you for real?

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:44am
  19. this is almost laughable…..almost.

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:50am
  20. And the winner of the Elton John look-alike contest is Principal Figgins…or whatever the Wasilla principal’s name is.

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:51am
  21. Shame Freddie is not around, he would write a fab “back at ya” song about a lonely hidden man with a “sad mad plan” … He has no talents and was just grabbing for his 5 mins of fame… If he taught S. Palin, that might explain a lot… God help the USA!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:52am
  22. WHAT?!! Oh, crap. How do people this small minded earn positions in life so influential to our kids?

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 10:58am
  23. jerk

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:04am
  24. I am so sick and tired of homophobes.. get a life of your own you idiots!!

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:04am
  25. Dude looks like a broke ass Elton John…

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:10am
  26. THIS is a crock!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:22am
  27. I really, really don’t want to engage in stereotypical thinking or off-the-cuff profiling, but looking at Principal Poop’s photo, I was just wondering what kind of self-loathing might have influenced him to make what to anyone of sound mind would have seemed a moronic decision, hmmmm?

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:54am
  28. Thats Bogus! :O Its Just A Song!

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12:34pm
  29. DUDE YES I WAS THINKING THE SAME THING!

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 3:28pm
  30. He does look like John Elton. Why hasn’t someone thrown a brick through this guys window yet?

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 3:28pm
  31. Ha! It’s funny ‘caus it’s true :-)

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 6:51pm
  32. You can tell the man isn’t just a conservative. He’s simply ignorant. Who doesn’t know that the LGBT community has contributed to civilization? How about Alan Turing? Without him, we probably wouldn’t have won WWII.

    How is it possible that he’s working in education? Oh, that’s right. AK/Wasila. They’re not about educating kids. They’re about manufacturing robots who will think, speak and act like fascists or neocons.

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 6:12am
  33. Bonus points for bringing up Turing. By the way, know if the crown has apologized to him yet?

    Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 at 10:11pm