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Pennsylvania Ballet on "20/20" Friday, Sep. 15


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#16 dirac

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:43 PM

It isn't so much a question of 20/20; 'having an agenda' -- I'm sure they have the best of intentions -- but as mentioned earlier the perceived need for such a program is a bit disheartening.

Parenthetically, in my experience not all the young folks are as broadminded as one might expect. :)

#17 bart

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 04:56 PM

It isn't so much a question of 20/20; 'having an agenda' -- I'm sure they have the best of intentions

Agendas can be well-meant and even admirable. In a sense, I suppose, all feature stories have agendas.

#18 kfw

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 07:35 PM

Parenthetically, in my experience not all the young folks are as broadminded as one might expect. :)

In my experience, broadminded people, given their different backgrounds, different ideological baselines/principles, and different experiences, don't all agree. What I look for is not agreement, but the willingness to respect in spite of disagreement. To my mind, that's true broadmindedness.

#19 bart

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 06:16 AM

Broadmindedness may indeed be selective, and on an individual basis there is much difference of opinion. But in two areas there have been measurable changes over the past couple of decades:

1) public opinion surveys show that under-30s are now much more willing than older populations to allow the individual to make his or her own choices in this area.

2) this group (when compared to older Americans) is less supportive of legal and other discrimination based on sexual preference.

#20 Farrell Fan

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 08:07 AM

I watched this program because I'd read about it here. The ostensible subject was "stereotypes." The opinion was that though stereotypes were bad, there was a lot of truth to them, but
"we're not supposed to talk about it." The program was all over the lot -- from hate crimes to a pointless classroom experiment in which little kids were told that their blue-eyed classmates were "better" than the brown-eyed ones. The next day they were told it was a mistake -- the brown-eyed ones were better. Some of the children were in tears. I wasn't feeling so good myself. As for whether male dancers are effeminate, I'm not sure the program had an opinion, but the role of the Pennsylvania Ballet in this unnecessary mess was neglible to the point of invisibility.

#21 Helene

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 08:15 AM

Philadelphia citypaper.net made fun of the PA Ballet press release:

Quoth the press release:
"Of course Pennsylvania Ballet jumped at the chance to participate! Only 26% of our male dancers are gay, and the remaining men are dating or married to fellow Company Members!"

Yes, that's an impressively high hetero quotient. But the exclamation points are a little much.


http://www.citypaper...is-only-26-gay/

#22 sandik

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 08:58 AM

I watched this program because I'd read about it here. The ostensible subject was "stereotypes." ... pointless classroom experiment in which little kids were told that their blue-eyed classmates were "better" than the brown-eyed ones. The next day they were told it was a mistake -- the brown-eyed ones were better. Some of the children were in tears. I wasn't feeling so good myself.


I watched part of this program as well, though I missed the reference to the blue/brown experiment. It was, as far as I know, first done in the 1960's, when our public understanding of prejudice was considerably less extensive, and I think was a groundbreaking and legitimate project for the teacher and her students. That it still seems to be a 'new' idea today says something about the glacial pace of some kinds of social change.

As for whether male dancers are effeminate, I'm not sure the program had an opinion, but the role of the Pennsylvania Ballet in this unnecessary mess was neglible to the point of invisibility.


I agree, the inclusion of the Pennsylvania Ballet seemed rather perfunctory, the inevitable nod to "well, aren't they all gay?"

I don't really expect 20/20 to break much ground in social commentary, but I do think they are a reasonable reflection of current middle-of-the-road attitudes.

#23 carbro

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 09:18 AM

I watched part of this program as well, though I missed the reference to the blue/brown experiment. It was, as far as I know, first done in the 1960's, when our public understanding of prejudice was considerably less extensive, and I think was a groundbreaking and legitimate project for the teacher and her students. That it still seems to be a 'new' idea today says something about the glacial pace of some kinds of social change.

It wasn't presented as new, but the sight of a girl (in 1960s vintage footage) crying over the unjust treatment of her classmates was very affecting and tv-worthy.

The value of this program, IMO, was pointing out that while we have all absorbed stereotypes and carry biases, we should be aware that they are generalizations and not allow them to define people based on their race, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. For most of us, this is old stuff, but it's just possible that some people found enlightenment here. The conclusion of the program, where we meet the victim of a gay bashing and the reformed white supremacist who was one of his attackers -- two men who were brought together by LA's Museum of Tolerance and built a friendship -- shows that there is hope.

A large part of the program was devoted to the athletic "superiority" of African origin. There were citations of the greater drive of Africans and African-Americans who may see fewer options for success, one black amateur basketball player referred to the (fallacious) myth that slave owners bred slaves for size and strength, and therefore African Americans were endowed with innate advantages. The only comment in this section that made sense to me came from Carl Lewis, the sprinter, who noted that his genes gave him long femurs, which result in a longer stride than most people.

When all was said and done, I regretted not watching the Law & Order rerun instead :( , except to the extent that watching 20/20 enabled me to post this. :)

#24 dirac

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:20 AM

Broadmindedness may indeed be selective, and on an individual basis there is much difference of opinion. But in two areas there have been measurable changes over the past couple of decades:

1) public opinion surveys show that under-30s are now much more willing than older populations to allow the individual to make his or her own choices in this area.

2) this group (when compared to older Americans) is less supportive of legal and other discrimination based on sexual preference.


I'm sure you're right about the stats. My remark was based on strictly personal anecdotal experience.

Farrell Fan writes:

The program was all over the lot -- from hate crimes to a pointless classroom experiment in which little kids were told that their blue-eyed classmates were "better" than the brown-eyed ones. The next day they were told it was a mistake -- the brown-eyed ones were better. Some of the children were in tears. I wasn't feeling so good myself. As for whether male dancers are effeminate, I'm not sure the program had an opinion, but the role of the Pennsylvania Ballet in this unnecessary mess was neglible to the point of invisibility.


I was able to watch only the last twenty minutes or so of the program and missed out on the ballet company entirely, but that was my assessment, too. In the segments I saw, a couple of highly dubious assertions were made by one fellow asked to comment that went by unquestioned.


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