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Powerful

posted by awelborn

A Notre Dame alumna writes:

I graduated from Notre Dame in 2004. At that time "The Vagina Monologues" was just beginning to reach its zenith on our campus. I particularly remember a day in LaFortune when I was studying for an exam. I was on my way out and as I was walking toward the back entrance, I was accosted by a young woman wearing only some flimsy crime tape around her in the shape of a bikini, telling me that as a woman I should be one of the first in line to attend this year’s rendition of "The Vagina Monologues." I looked down at her "bikini" – the words wrapping around her said "Date Rape Free Zone." I looked up again into her eyes and asked, "Have you ever been raped?" Almost puzzled by the directness of my question, she cocked her head to the side before answering "no." I asked all the girls there – not one of them had actually been raped. I turned and walked away, feeling rather violated all over again because two years prior to graduation, I had been the victim of rape.



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Ian

posted April 26, 2006 at 1:48 pm


Wow. And that’s directed to/at Father Jenkins!



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Jacob

posted April 26, 2006 at 2:24 pm


Wow!
When is Father Jenkins and those like him going to wake up and realize that while they pander to the increasingly non-Catholic faculties of their universities, they can’t coast along forever on reputation alone and expect to attract serious Catholic students like that alum?
But I forgot… ‘Catholic’ universities are quaint institutions of the past that are obsolete in today’s modern world…



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Will Barrett

posted April 26, 2006 at 2:31 pm


Powerful and beautiful. I pray for her healing and that she continue to be a source of light and life for others.
The steady drumbeat against Father Jenkins’ decision indicates that for more than just the Catholicity of Notre Dame, Father Jenkins needs to reconsider his decision on the VM. That of course is the most important reason but his decision has left in a position where he seems to no longer have an friends or supporters. If he thinks that folks like Dean Mark Roche, who is rumored to have written his closing statement, are really his friends, he is hopelessly naive. And yet people who have been his supporters like Father Miscamble, David Solomon, Father Coughlin, and Cavidini have publicly written against him. It is quite sad. A friend of mine who has a good handle on the situation has bluntly stated that Father Jenkins is a lame duck now, keeping the seat warm for the next president (perhaps Father Scully will reascend?). It is quite sad. He has squandered the goodwill of the people who want Notre Dame to fulfill her destiny. By trying to be relevant or not lose support from his faculty, he has squandered his own relevancy and his support. But, hey, at least those who don’t care about the Catholic mission of the school, “like” you (while they snicker behind your back and say, “We knew he’d come around.”).



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Hunk Hondo

posted April 26, 2006 at 2:31 pm


Bravissima! As long as there are people like this at ND, I cannot despair of it.
Oh, and just to make it a hat trick–wow.



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 26, 2006 at 2:49 pm


This is perhaps the most powerful voice resonating against the Vagina Monologues that I have read. Furthermore, it is one that is perhaps the least politically polemical, which makes it all the more powerful.
I wonder how many of you here will read her whole piece and will consider her concluding paragraph, which I think merits presentation here:

Am I saying that “The Vagina Monologues” should be banned from the campus in any form? No, I would never place such a restriction on academic freedom, and I believe that any book or media with academic interest and merit should be available for study at Notre Dame. What I am saying is that I am shocked and very sad to hear that you, a Catholic priest and philosopher, choose to keep a spotlight on t”The Vagina Monologues” and claim that “The Vagina Monologues” is not, “overt and insistent in its contempt for the values and sensibilities of this University, or of any of the diverse groups that form part of our community.” I refrained from writing earlier because I believed given your initial statement on academic freedom that I would really have nothing to worry about. Your recent statement on “The Vagina Monologues” shocked and, quite frankly, depressed me. To say that “The Vagina Monologues” does not violate our Christian identity or show contempt for part of our community is to cross over onto very thin ice. As Catholics we are not allowed to do even a small amount of evil so that good may be obtained. I believe that “The Vagina Monologues” does more than a little evil by further confusing the dignity of women and obtains only an infinitesimal amount of good through its efforts to raise awareness of violence against women. There are much better ways to accomplish this goal while still preserving an open, academic environment.

She makes a very important point, which is not whether the Vagina Monologues should be allowed to be performed or studied on campus, but on whether Jenkins, in his capacity, should even dignify it with undue attention. Seems to me that her argument is that Jenkins should have simply either ignored it or condemned it, and certainly not defended it, and then left it at that.
I would venture to say that, had he the option, Jenkins might have done just that. But the fact seems to be that he was forced to “keep the spotlight” on the Vagina Monologues, and not just leave it at the level of a commentary on academic freedom, because the anti-Vagina Monologue crowd would not simply be content with that.
From my point of view, it is a shame that Jenkins went as far as he did in his verbal defense of the “dignity” of the play, given his role as a Priest with the duty to reflect the Church’s stance on the issue; but I also believe (as do I think this writer believes) it is not a shame, in and of itself, that the Vagina Monologues was not banned from production on the campus.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 26, 2006 at 3:44 pm


“… but I also believe (as do I think this writer believes) it is not a shame, in and of itself, that the Vagina Monologues was not banned from production on the campus.”
Jimmy, on this I think we actually agree. Although I think the writer also would say that it is an even larger and more profound shame that the VM was ever witten and produced, let alone shown at ND. These sentiments are, of course, perfectly compatable, but perspective and proportion are important. To ban the play outright would probably have been counter-productive and difficult to square with the value of academic freedom; accordingly to do so would have been a mistake. But the play’s production on the campus of Our Lady was a vile travesty. The shame, and it is ideed shame, should be assigned to “the faculty endorsing it and the small group of students dedicated to seeing the production through.” They deserve our contempt. On that, Jimmy, I suspect we disagree.



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Will Barrett

posted April 26, 2006 at 3:46 pm


Jimmy,
I had read the whole piece. She said “study” not performance. And it seems to me that is the big problem here. To suggest that it is the fault of those questioning its performance for forcing Jenkins had isn’t really fair in my mind. We could say that those who insisted on performing this on a Catholic campus, pushing the envelope, were in fact the ones who forced the issue.



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Glenn Juday

posted April 26, 2006 at 3:51 pm


As I have stated a couple of times before:
As an academic institution with ambitions (or pretensions – take your pick) to Catholic intellectual leadership, the real issue for Notre Dame is that its top executive showed himself, clearly and unequivocally, to be unqualified to provide EITHER intellectual or Catholic leadership.
Fr. Jenkins’ statement in defense of his decision revealed the basis for his decision. First, he made it clear that he was more influenced by vague factors of social prestige, that is eagerness for Catholic institutions to retain credibility with the opinion elite of dominant culture and how they view and do things, than by bold embrace of the Church’s countercultural message. Fair enough. He made his priorities clear – no defense of Catholic sensibilities and distinctive approaches on this issue if it involves criticisms from opinion elites. He also made it clear that he felt free to act without concern that there even exists an orthodox Catholic side of the equation that posed a significant threat in purely power-maneuver terms. As Talleyrand said – “This is worse than a crime, it’s a blunder.”
Second, his strained use of logic, offered on a matter that he obviously focused on carefully for some time, can fairly be taken as the upper limits of his intellectual abilities. And those limits are below the level that an institution with the stated ambitions of Notre Dame can afford to have in its top leadership position.
So the issue is, which does Notre Dame jettison – its (often stated) goal of Catholic intellectual leadership, or a current incumbent in its executive leadership post?
If the former goes, then please adjust the rhetoric about this institution accordingly.
If the latter goes, it is hard to imagine the gain that is achieved by delay, and easy to imaging the harm.



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Mary Kay

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:49 pm


Good for the alumna. She will do far more good than the silly ones parading around.



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A Domer

posted April 26, 2006 at 5:02 pm


I try to avoid emotive posts that don’t add anything to the discussion, but this is an exception.
Wow. Powerful!
I believe she now works in Campus Ministry at either Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross College.



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A Holy Fool

posted April 26, 2006 at 5:51 pm


Whoa!
Her eloquence is matched only by her passion and desire to speak the truth. I salute her inspiring effort!
Thanks for sharing this with us, Amy!



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:00 pm


“They deserve our contempt. On that, Jimmy, I suspect we disagree.”
You would be right, because I would say that they deserve our forgiveness, rather than our contempt.



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Art Deco

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:13 pm


To ban the play outright would probably have been counter-productive and difficult to square with the value of academic freedom; accordingly to do so would have been a mistake.
I think Lino Graglia has remarked that ‘academic freedom’ is something a professor possesses as a function of fulfilling his obligations to his employer. So, how does the production of the play in question further an architectonic educational mission that the trustees or Fr. Jenkins would be willing to defend explicitly and publicly, and how would students’ participation therein further it?



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Mike Petrik

posted April 26, 2006 at 7:21 pm


Jimmy,
If they sinned against me I would forgive them. Of course, asking for forgiveness would seem to be a fair predicate as well.



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Scherza

posted April 26, 2006 at 7:30 pm


Oh, I hope she’s at Saint Mary’s, and not just because it’s my alma mater — what a beautiful example for young women.
I too attended Katie Koestner’s talk at ND and was deeply moved. That experience made it possible for me to talk, for the first time to anybody, about being sexually assaulted by a one-time boyfriend when I was a junior in high school.
Yelling vulgarities doesn’t unlock the deep chambers of the heart; hearing the story of a person who went through a terrible experience and came out of it without becoming bitter or hateful does.



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Mom in the Midwest

posted April 26, 2006 at 7:39 pm


My v***** doesn’t do a monologue. It does dialogue, which is pretty evident since I am in love with my husband and we have a bunch of kids. This is God’s plan, last I checked, for married men and women. It is a happy dialogue, not at all littered with anger, accusation or surmising to speak for every other person of my gender. It is rooted in love and trust. Who speaks for me? Who wants to hear about a happy and faithful dialogue?
I have suspected that women who have been violated prefer that they not be portrayed the way they have in The V***** Monologues. It seems to further degrade an already painful past experience. After reading this letter by the alumna, now I know it is true. This play hurts the very women it purports to help.
Bravo to this brave young woman for stating what is true, but not seen obviously by all. She has courage we can all emulate. God bless her!



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Richard

posted April 26, 2006 at 7:46 pm


Hello Jimmy,
I would venture to say that, had he the option, Jenkins might have done just that. But the fact seems to be that he was forced to “keep the spotlight” on the Vagina Monologues, and not just leave it at the level of a commentary on academic freedom, because the anti-Vagina Monologue crowd would not simply be content with that.
The only difficulties here are 1) that you venture to assume that factional pressure on Fr. Jenkins was a one-way street – that is to say, only from those like the Cardinal Newman Society who have been agitating against the VM at Notre Dame and other Catholic universities, and 2) that even if you concede that there might be pressure coming from the other direction – in this case from the very sizable faculty contingent and the student advocates of the play – it’s largely irrelevant because that must be outweighed by the agitation of the anti-VM crowd, who just don’t know when to keep their mouths shut.
All of this seems to betray an ignorance about how either Notre or Dame in particular or academia today really works. When the faculty speak, presidents, chancellors and provosts sit up and take notice. And in most universities, when faculty speak up like this, it’s invariably in regards to promoting certain progressive orthodoxies. Larry Summers’ fate at Harvard is a case in point. See also Sloan down at Baylor.
Given all that, the pressure of the Cardinal Newman society and whatever outside e-mails they’ve managed to generate, Bishop d’Arcy and a few reasonably orthodox faculty malcontents like Cavadini and Coughlin really are going to have an uphill battle to make their impact felt if the president is a political weathervane.
All of which is why I can’t help but chuckle when I hear the “academic freedom” bromide tossed around in the collegiate context. Because the fact is that this freedom is never absolute. You would be hard pressed to find a grad student who never felt some pressure or temptation to shade his/her work in some degree, however small, to run the gauntlet up to and including the final dissertation defense, most especially in the humanities and social sciences. Or to take another more pertinent example, I’m still left at a loss to understand what principle it is that Fr. Jenkins is employing which permits the performance of VM but not the Oberamergau passion play (which he made a special point to single out in the same context) on campus. Apparently the latter offends, or rather in some degree promotes hate against a certain group – which, I think, it does, BTW. But apparently groups offended by VM, including, seemingly the religious institution with which Notre Dame is affiliated, don’t count on this score. Passing strange, I say. Passing strange.
Either way as I read this alumna’s letter, her main focus in regards to academic freedom is the study of the play, not its performance on campus. Certainly that makes sense, in the same way that studying Triumph of the Will in a history seminar might. But as for the larger question of undue attention given to VM by Fr. Jenkins, one might also consider that undue attention is not always a bad thing if it’s treated as teaching moment. Instead, Fr. Jenkins chose to lower the immediate environmental temperature a little by tossing two major bones to the very sizable non-Catholic or barely Catholic faculty contingent at Notre Dame and their vast cloud of moral support among much of American academia possessed of passion for certain progressive orthodoxies, especially those of the sexual kind.



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HC Way Cool Guy

posted April 26, 2006 at 8:55 pm


To those who were asking…
She is the assistant to our Director of Campus Ministry at Holy Cross and is also an alum.



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Scherza

posted April 26, 2006 at 8:58 pm


Yet again I’m impressed by the quality of someone from the Holy Cross College community — HCC really is the undiscovered treasure in South Bend!



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Mom in the Midwest

posted April 26, 2006 at 9:31 pm


“HCC really is the undiscovered treasure in South Bend”
Yes–my three teens went to the Holy Cross high school youth conference last year and loved it–I loved its orthodoxy. they said Eucharistic Adoration was the highlight.



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hcc fan

posted April 26, 2006 at 9:36 pm


I went to the summer conference last year as well. It was just the right mix of orthodoxy and youthful vitality! It’s faith come alive! I would definitely recommend it!



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Just Wondering

posted April 26, 2006 at 10:17 pm


Have any of the posters here actually seen the Vagina Monologues? I don’t need to be told that you don’t need to see flith to recognize it etc. etc. I just want to know if anyone here who is commenting on the play has actually seen it performed.



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Shawn

posted April 26, 2006 at 10:27 pm


I confess I’m out of the loop here. Considering all the fuss surrounding the VM, few people bother to explain what the play is all about. What, exactly, are its putative merits? Is its intent merely to be provocative, or does it pretend to convey some important social message? I just don’t get it.
A link directing me to a description of the play’s intended aims, along with a careful commentary or critique, would be greatly appreciated.



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A Domer

posted April 26, 2006 at 10:37 pm


I bought the DVD but after about a half hour I just stopped watching – just too ridiculous, vulgar and venomous. There was no need to continue. You can get it used for cheap on Amazon.com.
By the way, the actual live interviews with women has some merit but is greatly overshadowed by the play itself.
But I don’t agree that one always needs to see or read a work to judge it. The old “Faces of Death” film which shows real people dying violently is one example. I watched part of it, but didn’t need to watch it to object it.



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V-watcher

posted April 26, 2006 at 10:56 pm


Yes, I have seen the DVD version. The interviews are intimate and wonderful but their translation into the Monologues performed by Ensler is quite a ridiculous stretch.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 26, 2006 at 11:06 pm


“Have any of the posters here actually seen the Vagina Monologues? I don’t need to be told that you don’t need to see flith to recognize it etc. etc. I just want to know if anyone here who is commenting on the play has actually seen it performed.”
Yes, at Emory University. Vile crap with absurd pretensions of profundity.



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Pierre Angulaire

posted April 26, 2006 at 11:16 pm


I think the people who criticize John Jenkins as some form of spineless whimp who could not stand up to liberal pressure groups do not know what they’re talking about.
I for one believe that Fr. Jenkins really experienced a change of heart during this winter when he listened to women at Notre Dame who have been subject to sexual aggression, assault, and even rape, and decided that these issues, as uncomfortable as they may be to hear, have a legitimate place at Notre Dame.
Look at the people whom Fr. Jenkins thanked at the end of the statement; several are women students. They – not some faceless group of liberal professors – are the ones who really influenced Fr. Jenkins. And this is not just about the one play, the Vagina Monologues. Women at Notre Dame will be producing their own plays dealing with issues of sexual assault. I give credit to Fr. Jenkins for being willing to acknowledge the reality of sexual aggression against women and allowing these women’s voices to be heard.
And I think Our Lady herself would approve.



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 26, 2006 at 11:19 pm


Hi, Richard – Thanks for your thoughtful comments. If the intention of the promoters of the Vagina Monologues was really to be an “in your face” sleight against the Catholic sensibilities of the institution, I will agree wholeheartedly with you and others who think the pressure on Jenkins to highlight the production is a two way street. But is it this? Would the anti-VM forces have been satisfied with a ruling in which Jenkins would have expressed moral disapproval of the play, called it inconsistent with Church teaching and the University’s Catholic identity, actively discouraged people from attending the performance, and supported peaceful protests of the performance, but nevertheless did not prevent the performance from taking place out of deference to academic freedom? I would guess not. However, I would imagine that the pro-VM forces would have accepted this, if not exactly happy with it.
As to the debate over the “study” of a play versus the “performance” of it, I think this parsing is problematic on two fronts. First, what is the “study” of drama if not also the “study” of its performance. A play is not written just to be read, it is written to be played. It would be like limiting the study of music to the notes on sheets of paper, and never actually hearing the music performed. How can one “study” music only in this way and really be considered a “student” of music? Ditto on plays. Take Triumph of the Will as another example. How can anyone expect to “study” the movie only by reading the screenplay, and not actually seeing the film? Second, if the performance of the play is offensive, how is the “study” of it not somehow infused with the offensive elements so as to make it more acceptable? I just don’t see how reading an offensive play and discussing how it offends afterwards is really any different than seeing an offensive play and discussing how it offends afterwards. In fact, the only difference is that one way involves a couple more sensory perceptions in digesting and processing the content than the other way.
As for the “teaching moment” that Jenkins squandered, he did indeed miss an opportunity to challenge those enamored of progressive orthodoxies; but for those enamored of other kinds of orthodoxies, there was not even the possibility of a “teaching moment” for them in this controversy. For them, the “class” was over before it even began.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted April 26, 2006 at 11:20 pm


“Vile crap with absurd pretensions of profundity.”
When a history of what passes for “cause” entertainment in the past few decades, VM, TDC, Angels in America, Million Dollar Baby, etc., is written in a more enlightened time Mike, that line would make a very good summation!



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Donald R. McClarey

posted April 26, 2006 at 11:21 pm


“And I think Our Lady herself would approve.”
And I think Our Lady would vomit.



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Lucy

posted April 26, 2006 at 11:22 pm


Yes, I saw the Monologues performed here at ND my freshman year. To claim that it breaks the cycle of violence against women is a farce.



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Lucy

posted April 26, 2006 at 11:26 pm


Oh- there was a quick string of posts in there since my last post.
While I am sure Our Lady is strongly opposed to violence against women, I would be extremely surprised if she is proud to see her daughters involved with a pornographic, profane play that objectifies women and glorifies lesbian sex, the rape of a minor, and views free love as the marker of women’s liberation. Donald got it right.



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The Dragon and the Phoenix

posted April 27, 2006 at 8:50 am


A Powerful Challenge to Notre Dame

A Notre Dame grad writes regarding the “Vagina Monologues”:



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Dave

posted April 27, 2006 at 9:32 am


This weekend the Tom Cruise film Top Gun will be shown on a big screen outside on the North Quad of Notre Dame as part of the Spring festival. The idea behind the festival is to provide the students with stress-relieving distractions during the hectic build-up to exams. If my memort serves, this film glorifies heterosexual sex out of wed-lock. Should this film be banned from campus?



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Alfredo

posted April 27, 2006 at 9:58 am


Dave,
Should this film be banned from campus?
I’ll give you an answer to your question after you give us your reaction to Amelia Marcum’s letter, especially in light of your previous support for Fr. Jenkins’ decision. Just interested….



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Dave

posted April 27, 2006 at 10:16 am


Amelia’s letter is undoubtedly powerful. I agree with her that hearing a woman speak earnestly on the issue sexual abuse and how she dealt with it is more powerful than Ensler’s project. I particularly liked that she pointed out how underattended the lecture was. This is the sad truth. Rarely do students attend the most enlightening and powerful lectures to be had because they seem too serious or boring. I also very much appreciated and identified with her search for ways to deal with what happened to her. She scores a direct hit on the shallow involvement and blatant ignorance of some student-activists.
But what shocked me and impressed me the most is that after all she has been through she still said that she did not think banning the VM from campus was necessarily the right decision.



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John M

posted April 27, 2006 at 11:05 am


Dave – What she said is the following: ‘Am I saying that “The Vagina Monologues” should be banned from the campus in any form? No, I would never place such a restriction on academic freedom, and I believe that any book or media with academic interest and merit should be available for study at Notre Dame.’
She did not say that it should be performed for the public along with attendant publicity, implied administration approval, and open university funding. That is one question.
A wholly different question is whether or not this play could be read, studied and discussed within a classroom. And this is where the notion of “academic freedom” is much more honestly addressed, as she implies with her statement.
One other thing she did say about Fr. Jenkins decision: ‘Your recent statement on “The Vagina Monologues” shocked and, quite frankly, depressed me.’



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Mom in the Midwest

posted April 27, 2006 at 11:21 am


Tonight at Notre Dame, Barbara Nicolosi of ACT ONE is speaking to the topic “Why Does God Care About Hollywood?” Some of her writings indicate she believes that Hollywood can be changed from the inside out and good things can come from there–all is necessary is for Christians to start creating **quality** (this is critical) material that speaks to the truth.
In light of considering this view in a general way, perhaps this question should be asked: Why doesn’t somebody create a well-done play (monologue or other) that speaks to women’s issues without the crudity, vulgarity, etc. that is evident in the V**** Monologues? In other words, what about producing something so good and clear and beautiful that nobody pays attention to the V***** Monologues anymore? Instead of trying to chase it away, what about making it irrelevant or unneccesary because there is a better, more moving alternative? Just a thought ;)



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Dave

posted April 27, 2006 at 11:38 am


John,
You’re right that’s what she says, and in saying this she leaves open the right for profs and/or students to read it and/or perform it given that it is looked at in the proper context. This is what Jenkins’ decision effectively does.



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Emily of the Holy Whapping

posted April 27, 2006 at 11:43 am


I think the people who criticize John Jenkins as some form of spineless whimp[sic] who could not stand up to liberal pressure groups do not know what they’re talking about.
I, on the other hand, have heard people who very much know what they’re talking about–people close to him, countless faculty members–say just that. But don’t just take their word for it; compare his opening and closing statements. The first is thoughtful and compelling; the second, trite and condescending, and stinks of a PR piece. Either he didn’t personally write it or it was forced. The manner of delivery, too: all of his other statements were made as public addresses, this one just showed up in our email. Something is rotten in the state of Indiana.



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Alfredo

posted April 27, 2006 at 11:45 am


Dave,
Thanks for the reply. As noted by John M., her position about out-of-class performances of the VM was a bit ambiguous. But there was no ambiguity about her contention that the VM satisfy the very conditions that Fr. Jenkins laid out for what he himself would not allow on campus.
As for the Tom Cruise movie that helped make Meg Ryan a star with her famous line, “Take me to bed or lose me forever”:
I take it we agree that since this movie is not being sponsored by any academic unit on campus, its being shown does not raise the same issues concerning intellectual discourse and academic freedom that are raised by the VM. Rather, it raises questions about what sorts of entertainment are appropriate on campus. I’ll just say that Top Gun isn’t a movie I would have chosen, in part because it’s not that good a movie, and in part because there’s enough glorification of extra-marital sex in our student culture already.



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Ken

posted April 27, 2006 at 12:10 pm


In light of considering this view in a general way, perhaps this question should be asked: Why doesn’t somebody create a well-done play (monologue or other) that speaks to women’s issues without the crudity, vulgarity, etc. that is evident in the V**** Monologues? In other words, what about producing something so good and clear and beautiful that nobody pays attention to the V***** Monologues anymore?
Midwest Mom: I agree, with two caveats:
1) I doubt very much that “something so good and clear and beautiful” would be able to find a publisher or audience. “Good and clear and beautiful” doesn’t attract the size of audience that sleaze does.
2) “Good and clear and beautiful” doesn’t get translated as “SAFE G-rated Family Entertainment”. One of Barbara Nicolosi’s interviews stated that with all the crap going on in the outside world, the churches are dominated by Baby Boomers and their money, and they only want “more family entertainment”. The big local Christian (TM) Music station where I am actually has the slogan “We’re Safe For The Whole Family” (while they air DVC Mary Mag’s love songs to her Boyfriend). Safe and G-rated Christian Family Entertainment will just give you cotton-candy fluff, and cotton-candy fluff won’t be able to take on Coochie Snorcher & Co. (no matter how many Bible verses you spray-paint on it).



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Dave

posted April 27, 2006 at 12:13 pm


Alfredo,
I’m still thinking and praying hard about all of this, so I appreciate the correctives and clarifications, but I still can’t help but feel very intuitively and instinctually from deep down in my core that what Jenkins has wrought is NOT evil, as so many have alleged. Perhaps its the fact that I am a writer who loves the Church and loves being Catholic, but who also regularly disagrees with the moral hand-wringing by Christians over everything from Harry Potter to Eve Ensler while issues like Abu Ghraib and Gitmo go uncommented upon. I guess this speaks to my own world view, my sense of vocation and my own view of what it is to be Catholic in 2006. My sense of the VM is starting to change in subtle ways as a result of this and other forums, but I still feel that a knee-jerk responses asking for Fr. Jenkins’ resignation (as some have suggested) and saying that the Notre Dame is headed for the same fate as Georgetown is way premature.



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Jeff

posted April 27, 2006 at 3:23 pm


“stinks of a PR piece”
No kidding. I can smell it all the way over here in Jersey.
Oops I guess I forgot I’m supposed to channel the energy awakened by this debate, this serious, thoughtful, reasoned exchange about matters that affect our future, to continue the deep reflection on our ideals and actions inspired by this discussion.



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Alfredo

posted April 27, 2006 at 5:21 pm


Dave,
Sorry not to have responded sooner. I’ve been meeting with students all afternoon and will be tied up tonight as well with other matters.
Look, I appreciate what you’re saying and indeed value your perspective. That’s the great thing about being Catholic. Doctrine underdetermines many, many important matters. This allows for the possibility of a multitude of interestingly diverse (I use this word purposely) manifestations of the Christian life. By the same token, we need each other to check our wayward tendencies. I try to recognize such tendencies in myself (the hard part) as well as in others (the easy part).
Just so you won’t think too ill of me, I should add that I’ve read and enjoyed all the Harry Potter books and am disturbed when well-intentioned Catholics fail to see all the rich Catholic medieval imagery and ambience embedded in those books. And, I agree, there are many issues with respect to which we need to be careful about not subjugating our Faith to our political predilections.



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Alfredo

posted April 27, 2006 at 5:45 pm


Hey Midwest Mom,
What about producing something so good and clear and beautiful that nobody pays attention to the V***** Monologues anymore?
Along the lines of one of your previous posts, maybe you should think about authoring the V***** Dialogues! I hear you’re a pretty good writer, and the idea sounds like a fertile one, so to speak. :)



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Nicole

posted April 28, 2006 at 2:25 pm


I have a question: How, by the mere use of the word study, can one completely determine that she does not want the play performed but only studied? I believe that the whole letter should be looked at in its context, and not word by word which is what seems to me brings that conclusion.
I have to admit that when I read the letter I got the sense that whether the play was only studied or not was not the bigger picture, but that this single play is one of such controversy because it must be played every single year.
In my own opinion, only allowing this play to be played every year places more strain on academic freedom, than not allowing that. I believe that at a Catholic university students should be able to debate and learn about things such as the VM, but shouldn’t they be able to see other perspectives and study other plays of similar controversial nature? This bothers me more than whether or not the plays can be performed or not.



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Mom in the Midwest

posted April 28, 2006 at 4:28 pm


“Along the lines of one of your previous posts, maybe you should think about authoring the V***** Dialogues! I hear you’re a pretty good writer, and the idea sounds like a fertile one, so to speak. :)”
Yikes! That sounds like a project that would take more time than I currently have in the bathroom. (which is where I hide when I need to write something–it’s the only semi-quiet place in the house) ….When I write, like Greta Garbo, “I (just) vant to be alone!” )
Anyway, at least I need to get a few more munchkins graduated and in college. It also probably wouldn’t work because I am actually **blushing** through these discussions and my body parts don’t talk.;) Thanks for the confidence in me, though.
BTW, love your posts but I keep thinking of Chicken Alfredo every time I read something of yours. Actually, I love Chicken Alfredo



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Mom in the Midwest

posted April 28, 2006 at 4:30 pm


Dear Ken,
you wrote:
” I doubt very much that “something so good and clear and beautiful” would be able to find a publisher or audience. “Good and clear and beautiful” doesn’t attract the size of audience that sleaze does.”
Well, ‘The Passion’ did. ;)
Ever the optimist–the Mom in the Midwest



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Mom in the Midwest

posted April 28, 2006 at 5:18 pm


PS Ken,
By the way, what I meant to say was “good and TRUE and beautiful”. I was thinking of a certain saint philosopher but my knowledge is a bit rusty as well as inferior to a few *real* philosophers here…
At any rate, if you don’t mind me answering the other quote:
“Good and clear and beautiful” doesn’t get translated as “SAFE G-rated Family Entertainment”.
True. I never said it did. ;)
“One of Barbara Nicolosi’s interviews stated that with all the crap going on in the outside world, the churches are dominated by Baby Boomers and their money, and they only want “more family entertainment”.
I never said suggested that we create an alternative that is “family entertainment.” The very nature of the subject matter negates that possibility.
Barbara also said that if we want better entertainment (she was speaking in the cinema sense and I am taking the liberty of extending that to a play or monologue) that we must have superior craftsmanship. We must create things so good and of such excellence that people are compelled to notice them and appreciate them (think of great Christian art–the Pieta, for example. Christians, Jews, atheists, pagans all appreciate it being a work of beauty that transcends the Christian message it sends.)
THAT is what I am suggesting we create. Something written better, performed better, more true, more beautiful than what the V***** Monologues offer.
I think that ‘The Passion’ fits a lot of the criteria that makes an objectively excellent movie. Further, ‘The Passion’ is not family entertainment, nor is it ‘cotton candy fluff’.
We have a new generation of talented writers and artists and performers. I have great confidence that we will easily be able to top the V***** Monologues in quality.
Not trying to give her more work, but …..Amy???????



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Alfredo

posted April 28, 2006 at 11:41 pm


BTW, love your posts but I keep thinking of Chicken Alfredo every time I read something of yours.
Oooh! You are nasty….
Ok, I give. I’m not messin’ with you anymore. :)
Actually, I love Chicken Alfredo
Nice try, but too late. The damage has already been done. :-(
Now I need a new name. How does Fetuccini sound?



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Airdyne exercise bike

posted May 22, 2006 at 8:57 am


Airdyne exercise bike

Times college ranking Spanish community college University of washington experimental college Universi…



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