Monday, May 14, 2007

Ruining it for Everyone Else

The ongoing joke of an article this week is that a family in Chicago is suing the Chicago Public Schools for the psychological distress caused to a twelve-year old after seeing the homosexuality-laden Ang Lee-directed drama Brokeback Mountain. The family suing in this case is also one that complained to the school about the literature containing curse words.

Actually, I'm not going to pile on a lot here actually. I'll give them the beef with Brokeback. Seeing as these are middle schoolers and not say juniors or seniors in high school, I'll side with the family in saying that showing it is slightly inappropriate. 500K inappropriate? No fucking chance. It's maybe an ice cream cone and an after school special chat about homosexuality inappropriate. This doesn't need to go to court at all.

But, I won't stand for this family dictating what I read, which is what they essentially did by complaining about curse words in texts. The most important works of literature are offensive to some group of people. For example, I love Huck Finn, but it burned me up inside to read Twain to throw around the word nigger so flippantly. Huck eventually learned his lesson, but that's not the point. The point is that good literature will, indubitably, offend someone.

This family's quickness to pull the lawsuit and go litigious is hurting all of us. This lawsuit stifles creativity, experimenting, and the liberties given to teachers to do the best job that they can do. If she is so distraught about watching Brokeback Mountain, why doesn't this family sue the makers of Will and Grace? That show's about gay people and it's unwatchable.