Friday, February 03, 2006
You can't make things like this up
Thirty-three years ago, some well-meaning folks made a video series called "Who's Afraid of Opera", starring Dame Joan Sutherland and a trio of puppets explaining and acting out scenes from various operas. This series has since made its way into general video sales, and is sold at Amazon.com under "Styles > Children's Music > General" and under "VHS > Genres > Kids & Family > Teaching & School > Teaching Aids". The very few reviews about these videos are glowing. So why on earth is OmegaMom writing about this video series? It seems that some poor hapless first-year music teacher in a small town in Colorado made the dreadful mistake of showing excerpts from Volume I to her second- and third-grade students. Sooooo??? Um. Well. One of the operas featured in Volume I is Gounod's "Faust". It's "not appropriate for a high school student" (emphasis OmegaMom's). "Common sense" should tell you this. It "glorifies Satan in some way". It's a "Satanic video". (Picture OmegaMom rolling her eyes.) "Faust", for those not familiar with the story, is all about a guy selling his soul to Mephistopheles (aka "The Devil"). The whole point of the story is that Faust thinks he's such a smartass hotshot that he can outsmart the Devil, and (gasp!) it doesn't work, he gets taken down to Hell at the end, and it's a tragedy all around. Whadda surprise. Oh, yeah...the snippets of the opera also had someone being killed with a sword and "allusions" to suicide. Lemme tell you, as someone who was hauled off by both OmegaGranny and Aunt Anne to various operas as a yute, if anyone can actually hear and understand the "allusion" to suicide in an opera, they've got an amazing career ahead of them as someone who can translate foreign languages. As for the "someone being killed with a sword" aspect--hello? Has anyone watched any Saturday morning cartoons lately? What about, say, The Incredibles? Or just about anything on TV or in movies these days? Sometimes, OmegaMom just wants to give up. The poor first-year teacher is planning to leave the town. She's not being forced out, she simply has the common sense to realize that a place full of bozos like that ain't gonna make her feel fulfilled in her teaching career. Read more.