Stop The Music! But Not With a Heckler's Veto at a College Fer Chrissakes!


I hate musicals in real life that way Marlow hated lies in Heart of Darkness; there's a taint of death in both (except death doesn't have dancing too!). So when I see a story about a musical being shut down, part of me wants to break out into…song?!?!

But here's a video put out by the good folks at The Foundation For Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which is fighting for free speech on campuses all around the country. The case involves a consciously offensive play staged at Washington State University in 2005 that managed to rile up Mormons, Catholics, feminist groups, the local police, and the university itself, which already makes it better than, say, Once Upon a Mattress, Bells Are Ringing, or Grease.

The video, which features FIRE's honcho, Greg Lukianoff, is part of a promotion for the just-out collection New Threats to Freedom, edited and introduced by Adam Bellow and featuring essays by Reasoners Katherine Mangu-Ward and Michael Moynihan. Check it out here (and watch this space for news of a Monday DC bash in honor of the book).

And now, on with the show:

NEXT: Crises and Leviathans

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  1. I’m offended!

    Go fuck yourself!

  2. They protested a play written by a black man?

    That’s racist, and I’m offended!

  3. Can’t review the video — what was so offensive that it got all these groups so riled up?

    1. The only thing I could tell from the video is that it featured Jesus (or somebody who looked like the classical depiction of Jesus, though it could have been Mohammed in a Jesus suit, I suppose).

    2. Someone writes a crappy musical with the intention of insulting just about every ethnic group or interest group imagineable.

      The university buys 40 tickets for “observers” to watch the musical so the observers can declare after the fact that the play was in fact offensive — tickets purchased with university funds.

      The “observers” disrupt the musical starting with the first song — the police are called.

      An officer of the law tells the organizer that the he (the officer) has seen the play, and the police will not stop the observers if they choose to attach the stage.

      Actors unwilling to die for their art (or maybe that wasn’t the actual point of the video).

  4. The musical looks perfectly dreadful, but we’ve tolerated “Cats” for nearly 30 years, so I think we can survive this.

    Wanna protest? Go outside, idiots.

  5. Anything that offends such a diverse group of people has got to be good!

    1. Mormons, Catholics, feminist groups, the local police, and the university itself

      I was thinking the same thing.

  6. Nick has a problem with Grease? I think he may be becoming one of them Islams, or a commie, or maybe even a commie Islam.

    1. I thought the Jacket was an homage.

      1. Please. We all know the jacket chose Gillespie, not the other way around.

    2. he is Italian….the Greeks and Italians have hated each other for nearly as long and as viciously as the Scotts have hated the Scotts.

    3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oWeaujOWXc

      …as apple pie man. Homo-erotic as it may be…

  7. I hate musicals


  8. Musicals are truly horrible things.

    I’ve oft wondered why gays put up with the stereotype that they have such great taste in fashion, grooming, and decor, but such shitty taste in music.

  9. It takes a singular genius to project classic works of literature and drama through the prism of smaltzy music and faux emotionalism.

  10. Does this mean that Nick doesn’t like The Blues Brothers?

  11. Frank N. Furter doesn’t like your work either, Gillespie.

  12. I’m so glad Reason redid the ads for reason tshirts and sweatshirts – it seems to be the same chick, but in the new pictures she looks way hotter.

    1. I think it is Magu’s younger hotter sister.

  13. South Park and Team America were musicals, and if Gillespie doesn’t like those, well…

    Did Postrel like them? Bet she did.

  14. A couple of ironic ads on this page: The Catherine Zeta-Jones/Angela Lansbury musical and the NBA Draft being hosted by the Nets.

  15. Musical theater is an abomination. Wagner set out to prove that, but instead, he would up being taken seriously. This despite the fact that there are about 30 seconds of good music for every 6 hours or so he wrote. If ELP had written Love Beach as a musical (and why not, it was a massive crock of shit anyway), they still would have a better ratio than that.

  16. BP: Wow. You don’t see many Love Beach references in modern discourse.
    I, however, try to work J. Geils Monkey Island into a conversation at least once a month…

  17. But wait, I thought it was only muslims who reacted by suppressing speech when they got offended. Do we need immigration restrictions on Mormons too?

    1. No, you got confused. Liberals and Christians call on the government to suppress speech when they get offended, with varying degrees of success. Muslims cut out the middleman and just straight up murder your ass.

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