03 February 2006

- Opera is Evil -

Well, the Christian wackos are at it again. This time they are up in arms over Gounod's Faust. Apparently, because Faust bargains with Mephistopheles, the opera celebrates Satan. I'm not making this up:

Tresa Waggoner showed approximately 250 first-, second- and third-graders at Bennett Elementary portions of a 33-year-old series titled "Who's Afraid of Opera" a few weeks ago.

The video features the soprano Dame Joan Sutherland and three puppet friends discussing Gounod's "Faust." Waggoner thought it would be a good introduction to opera.

I guess not.

"Any adult with common sense would not think that video was appropriate for a young person to see. I'm not sure it's appropriate for a high school student," Robby Warner said after two of her children saw the video.

Another parent, Casey Goodwin, said, "I think it glorifies Satan in some way."

Which, for anyone who knows Faust, only goes to show that Christians make weird literary critics. Remember all that stuff about Barney and Tinky-Winky. Clearly, we should also ban the book of Genesis, not to mention the various temptations of Christ. Anyways, it was nice to see that the superintendent gave her his full support.

School Superintendent George Sauter said the teacher should not have shown the video to children below the fourth grade but will not lose her job. She has sent letter of apology to all elementary school parents in Bennett, population 2,400 and about 25 miles east of Denver on Colorado's eastern plains.

Well, at least he didn't fire her. That's something.

"I was definitely not sensitive to the conservative nature of the community, and I've learned that," Waggoner said in Sunday's editions of The Denver Post. "However, from what has been said about me, that I'm a Satan worshipper, my character, I can't believe all of this. My intention was just to expose the kids to opera."

Just expose kids to opera??!!!! Heavens, didn't she recognize that she was playing with the souls of kids?!!!! At least Faust only bargained with his own soul...

ok, I'm not one to say that culture doesn't matter, that we shouldn't take it seriously, that it's just entertainment. No doubt there is a place for didactic children's literature. And it's probably best not to expose children to violence indiscriminately. But violence in opera has nothing on the Bible. Ring up another reason to keep religion out of the schools...

So, yes, our ever-loving Christians are ever so tolerant.

Waggoner, who is in her first year teaching vocal music in Bennett, said she doesn't expect to stay in town.

"I know I'm not accepted here, that I'm not welcome here by the parents," she said. "It's a very uncomfortable position."

For the wacko community everything is black and white, good and evil. You're for me or against me. Good must remain innocent, an ontological commitment unmoved by knowledge.

Yet wacko feigned innocence may recognize what it would not know. Faust proceeds on the assumption that one who has eaten from the tree of knowledge cannot dwell in paradise. For Faust, the world is not black and white, but gray. And for the wacko community speaking that insight, the awakening of the critical spirit, is the gravest sin.

We may well ask, however, whose interpretation—Faust's or the wackos'—is closer to the spirit and letter of the story of Eden.