The Playgoer: Bruhaha over Hoohaa

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Bruhaha over Hoohaa

Censorship often poses as anti-"obscenity" law. Rendering certain topics "obscene" controls the publc discourse. Sex, for instance, can't be publicly discusses in a mature, constructive fashion because we are not permitted the vocabulary with which to do so.

I have no special attachment to Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues." Never seen it. And I don't mistake the enthusiasm of millions of college students for a geniune political movement. Still--every time Ensler's work encounters resistance, it's a fight for all of us.

Sometimes quite humorously!

Last week, after a complaint from a passing driver who became upset because her niece had seen "vagina" on the theater marquee, Bryce Pfanenstiel of the Atlantic said, "We decided we would just use child slang for it," reported. Down came "The Vagina Monologues." Up went "The Hoohaa Monologues."

But two days later, on Thursday, in response to a demand from the organizers of the production, the original title was restored. The organizers are a group of Florida Coastal School of Law students who insisted that the original title be displayed because they had rights to the play only if they refused any censorship.

Yes, author's rights might trump community board muzzling in the end, thankfully.

Read more in today's Times.


Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Last I heard, "vagina" was not considered a vulgar word. However, I wonder what those same marquee keepers would do with Suzan-Lori Parks' f-bomb title. I'll bet that the social norms would likely dictate that it be characterized as "F@$&ing A."

Anonymous said...

And who can forget the famous New Haven marquee: "Tis Pity She's A . . ."

Anonymous said... say nothing of "The Best Little [bleep-bleep] in Texas." Actually, IIRC, there was no marquee problem with that (at least not in New York), but they had to censor their TV ads.

By the way, do Broadway shows still advertise on TV? I haven't lived in NY in a long time...