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How far can a choreographer go in expressing ideas?


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#136 papeetepatrick

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 02:07 PM

Those are a few examples off the top of my head. Shall we now censor and ban Shakespeare, Marlow, Pasolini, Euripides, MacMillan, Ibsen? At the very least let's keep our children away from these dangerous, sick so-called artists. But there's no fear of that, they'd rather be watching Hannah Montana & High School Musical.


This one point is, I think, still seriously off. Because many of the adults who take their children to Disney World continue to go there afterward BY THEMSELVES, because they LOVE it. Most of the people I know who watch American Idol and the other TV trash are adults, even though I know the teens watch them. But it's a whole culture of people of all ages who are now consuming the same silly stuff. I do not think you have a point that 'they'd rather be watching Hannah Montana & High School Personal', because it's just most people are all doing that. Maybe more young people, it seems to me that everybody is going for these bimbo things, not just the kids. So there are going to be some Enquiring Minds among the kids too.

I guess what I am saying is that you just have to be pro-censorship or anti-censorship, but people have usually made up their minds hard on these matters and are not going to change just because one is 'rational' (I mean I think you are being, but so what.) So the fact is that children either have to be at risk for these things or not. One decides which is the greater risk, that children might find their way to the 'naughty things' (I did) and these 'ruined their lives' (some would say mine was, others would say the contribution had been invaluable), or whether censorship is the greater risk. I certainly agree that the latter is far worse, but then I'm talking of my own interests. And they're talking about theirs; so it really becomes more ideological and political than intellectual/rational at a certain point. What I'm saying is it's, ultimately, not a matter of the rational always being the most powerful, although it is, as with everything else, to a certain degree 'the reason of the stronger is always right' (not morally, but just de facto, as long as something prevails, it can be virtuous or wicked). It is like trying to argue rationally for legalization of drugs or differences of opinion on abortion, religion, etc., it's not only not possible to fully succeed in it, it's also true that the more reactionary side does have at least some points. The only one that seems to me to be valid is that, yes, there will be some young people who find their ways to literally anything, including challenging difficult works. So that what seems 'rational' to us (and probably is, at least we are quite convinced it is) doesn't matter to those who oppose it, there are limits on how convincing the rational argument can be.

Another point to make from the other side while not supporting them, is that while I think it entirely wrong to censor and block the de Frutos piece because of its lewdness or whatever, I also don't think it's that serious. Naturally, there would be some backlash from the radio personality (Ross?) you told us about; but that is natural given that things are already so unleashed the bared, and this nakedness itself (however much the backlash), already proved that 'anything really does go', not the other way around. And it's the very prevalence of all the filth you've cited that proves that: With all that there, it's not really very likely that serious censorship of old regimes will ever take hold again. As for 'perverts' in Victorian times and 'hypocrisy', oh well, sure, but there are all sorts of periods in which the emphasis goes back and forth. But we're not now in an Age of Censorship in any serious way.

#137 leonid17

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 03:21 PM


I read psychology at university and have subsequently been involved in supporting, guiding and directing young teenagers into education, skills, The Prince's Trust and work.

I would not dare to make any of your statements regarding children that have the semblance of claims. But I defend your right to make them.

I have of course not read any case papers, but one in ten children in this country have mental health problems which mean childhood experiences and influences
are likely to be of significant importance.

You say, "I still maintain that the absolute stranglehold that vacuous mass media has is far more damaging to the psyches and development of children's intellect than being confronted with challenging material." What is the evidence for this?



Leonid,

I challenge you to watch an entire afternoon of entertainment geared at kids/tweens/teens that includes, American Idol, X Factor, Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Hollyoaks, Best of Friends, Kyle XY, The Season, T4, Camp Rock, Trouble on Deck, The Jonas Bros, Aaron Stone, Beauty and the Geek, Search for a Pussycat Doll, Sonny With a Chance, Nicktropolis - there's a few to be getting on with. Then let's talk about the current mass media geared at youth.

Yes, childhood trauma is the leading cause of psychotic disorder and disturbance in children. Incest, sexual abuse, PTSD, violence, bullying, underage sex, drinking drugs, negelct, no one refutes that. What is beneficial is keeping channels of communication open, you don't have to hit a kid with all the evils of the world and every sordid detail, but keeping discourse, debate open and answering questions in age appropriate manner is completely different.

The point about the Victorians isn't that a return to the superficial morality they followed is the answer, rather that they were the biggest bunch of perverts going. If anyone has ever seen pornography produced in that era, they'll know, it's hardcore and far more centered around the taboo sexuality and morality they tried so very hard to divorce themselves from.

But okay, here's a few things to think of:

Two men rape a young woman, they cut off her hands and rip out her tongue in order that she can't name her accusers.

A man kills two men in revenge, turns them into pies and tricks their mother into eating them.

A man marries and has sex with his mother, unwittingly, when he finds out he pokes out his eyes.

A young girl is raped in an Edwardian garden by a much older man, as his wife seduces a young boy.

Sixteen youths are brutally tortured to death in war time Italy in the state of Salo by a priest, a minister, a politician and a doctor.

A king's gay lover is murdered and that king killed by forcing a red hot poker up his rectum.

A young mother finds her life is a sham and commits the ultimate sin in 19th century Norway, the monster abandons her husband and children forever.

Those are a few examples off the top of my head. Shall we now censor and ban Shakespeare, Marlow, Pasolini, Euripides, MacMillan, Ibsen? At the very least let's keep our children away from these dangerous, sick so-called artists. But there's no fear of that, they'd rather be watching Hannah Montana & High School Musical.


I never mentioned censorship of any kind.

#138 leonid17

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 03:26 PM

Those are a few examples off the top of my head. Shall we now censor and ban Shakespeare, Marlow, Pasolini, Euripides, MacMillan, Ibsen? At the very least let's keep our children away from these dangerous, sick so-called artists. But there's no fear of that, they'd rather be watching Hannah Montana & High School Musical.


This one point is, I think, still seriously off. Because many of the adults who take their children to Disney World continue to go there afterward BY THEMSELVES, because they LOVE it. Most of the people I know who watch American Idol and the other TV trash are adults, even though I know the teens watch them. But it's a whole culture of people of all ages who are now consuming the same silly stuff. I do not think you have a point that 'they'd rather be watching Hannah Montana & High School Personal', because it's just most people are all doing that. Maybe more young people, it seems to me that everybody is going for these bimbo things, not just the kids. So there are going to be some Enquiring Minds among the kids too.

I guess what I am saying is that you just have to be pro-censorship or anti-censorship, but people have usually made up their minds hard on these matters and are not going to change just because one is 'rational' (I mean I think you are being, but so what.) So the fact is that children either have to be at risk for these things or not. One decides which is the greater risk, that children might find their way to the 'naughty things' (I did) and these 'ruined their lives' (some would say mine was, others would say the contribution had been invaluable), or whether censorship is the greater risk. I certainly agree that the latter is far worse, but then I'm talking of my own interests. And they're talking about theirs; so it really becomes more ideological and political than intellectual/rational at a certain point. What I'm saying is it's, ultimately, not a matter of the rational always being the most powerful, although it is, as with everything else, to a certain degree 'the reason of the stronger is always right' (not morally, but just de facto, as long as something prevails, it can be virtuous or wicked). It is like trying to argue rationally for legalization of drugs or differences of opinion on abortion, religion, etc., it's not only not possible to fully succeed in it, it's also true that the more reactionary side does have at least some points. The only one that seems to me to be valid is that, yes, there will be some young people who find their ways to literally anything, including challenging difficult works. So that what seems 'rational' to us (and probably is, at least we are quite convinced it is) doesn't matter to those who oppose it, there are limits on how convincing the rational argument can be.

Another point to make from the other side while not supporting them, is that while I think it entirely wrong to censor and block the de Frutos piece because of its lewdness or whatever, I also don't think it's that serious. Naturally, there would be some backlash from the radio personality (Ross?) you told us about; but that is natural given that things are already so unleashed the bared, and this nakedness itself (however much the backlash), already proved that 'anything really does go', not the other way around. And it's the very prevalence of all the filth you've cited that proves that: With all that there, it's not really very likely that serious censorship of old regimes will ever take hold again. As for 'perverts' in Victorian times and 'hypocrisy', oh well, sure, but there are all sorts of periods in which the emphasis goes back and forth. But we're not now in an Age of Censorship in any serious way.


I enjoyed reading your post.

#139 kfw

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 06:07 PM

I still maintain that the absolute stranglehold that vacuous mass media has is far more damaging to the psyches and development of children's intellect than being confronted with challenging material. And that there's zero chance a kid would sit through 40 minutes of niche market dance-based physical theatre when there's a whole world of drivel at his or her fingertips.

I don't know how we'd measure which is worse, lowest common denominator pablum or obscenity, since they harm in different ways, but my objection as I've said is not to challenging material, but to material meant merely to Úpater la bourgeoisie, or in this case Catholics.

But, how about we approach this from a different angle? The De Frutos wouldn't even register with children of a certain age, so let's say a child who is inquisitive, intelligent should happen upon a piece such as the De Frutos and ask about the symbolism religious etc within the piece. How would you honour that child's intelligence and perfectly reasonable questions by initiating a conversation with him or her? It would take some research on your behalf for starters, you'd need to know about De Frutos, his background dance, cultural and religious - there was an intellectual point and purpose as well as emotional one and indeed a commissioned one (it was made for the Spirit of Diaghilev evening after all). Then you'd have to research the transgressions of the Papacy historically, of the Roman Catholic church and specifically De Frutos' relationship with his religion. You wouldn't have to go into all the sordid details - but you could start an interesting and healthy discourse rather than censoring and rendering subjects taboo - most unhealthy approaches.

Ultimately though, the upshot would be you'd have an arsenal of facts and issues which could be spoken about and discussed with the child. That for me is a far more grown up and rational approach not only to this whole issue, but also to raising children who are open, aware and intellectually inquisitive.

Simon, has it occurred to you that most parents would prefer not to discuss with their "inquisitive, intelligent" children the sexual abuse of other children? That they might prefer not to explain to the child who's been channel-surfing, or the child who's been sitting next to them as they watch the dance, why a Pope figure is penetrating boys and pregnant women? My concern is for children who accidentally run across those disturbing images, and the fact that more explicit ones are available on the Internet is neither here nor there. Many teens and most younger kids don't troll the Web for obscenity. Parents are quite capable, without de frutos' aid, of a "rational approach" to whether and when to discuss these issues with their kids.

#140 papeetepatrick

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 06:33 PM

my objection as I've said is not to challenging material, but to material meant merely to Úpater la bourgeoisie, or in this case Catholics.


Maybe so, and yet that is definitely a legitimate artistic purpose, to make anti-bourgeois, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, anti-Protestant statements, anti-Buddhist too, which I add because a lot of libertarians won't think that one applies quite so easily, but it does. But, just sticking to 'epater la bourgeoisie', that's even a staple, and 'la bourgeoisie' is not sacred, even if you are one (I am). Frankly, I don't think there's much bourgeoisie in the developed nations that is all that easily offended. This kind of artistic political protest (and if it's religious, it's political) has been going on throughout the 20th century and before, the list of artists in this realm is endless. You can say that the Catholic Church is sacred (as any religious person can say about his religion), but not 'the bourgeoisie'. And maybe you weren't saying that, but it certainly isn't. And since most high art, since the decline of noble and aristocratic power, is meant to soothe the bourgeoisie, it should hardly come as any surprise that non-bourgeois will do it--whether out of legitimate protest at injustice, our ot self-righteousness, or envy. Though bourgeois myself, but I'm just fine with letting some angry artist insult me for it, as long as I can remain so. Being bourgeois is its own reward. :wacko: I mean, unless and until you can get even further up (and bourgeois usually do climb when they can.)

#141 Simon G

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 06:45 PM

Simon, has it occurred to you that most parents would prefer not to discuss with their "inquisitive, intelligent" children the sexual abuse of other children? That they might prefer not to explain to the child who's been channel-surfing, or the child who's been sitting next to them as they watch the dance, why a Pope figure is penetrating boys and pregnant women? My concern is for children who accidentally run across those disturbing images, and the fact that more explicit ones are available on the Internet is neither here nor there. Many teens and most younger kids don't troll the Web for obscenity. Parents are quite capable, without de frutos' aid, of a "rational approach" to whether and when to discuss these issues with their kids.



kfw,

I do appreciate that, and I promise I'm not being obtuse. However, what then is the answer? That's why we have watershed's, warnings before programmes with certain content and depressingly few specialised channels on TV where challenging work is actually shown.

Of course it's a parent's right to avoid the issue entirely, just as that same parent is responsible for switching off or over should a programme become offensive to their personal morals or adult in content.

I maintain that the De Frutos was NOT that bad, and that the few seconds of outre material was compensated with thirty minutes of rather turgid dance theatre.

When we get to a point where we're no longer able or trusted to police ourselves and deemed incapable and unable to deal with the fallout should children view adult material, or answer questions and parent their own children - we're in trouble.

This thread has been troubling - the very question which instigated the thread questioned the right to ideas and the right to express them, and the subsequent call from certain parties for what it would seem to be mandatory censorship is regressive and depressing.

I wouldn't show a young child the De Frutos work, but then I would be concerned about showing a young child much of De Frutos' work, especially his wonderful pieces - once the child has reached 10 or so, I wouldn't have a problem. If the work came on TV again, same rules apply, if I didn't know the content and it started to tip into the adult realm, I'd turn off. If the child were on their own and watched then asked me later, I would talk about it, maybe watch it on the internet, talk to them about it and then stop TV privileges if they'd been watching on the sly.

And this is why this thread is turning a bit schizoid. The right of the artist to express themselves how they wish & the way a parent parents their child are two different matters entirely - because it's the adults moral code using the child to impress their morals on not just the artist but society at large.

#142 Simon G

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 06:49 PM

Simon, has it occurred to you that most parents would prefer not to discuss with their "inquisitive, intelligent" children the sexual abuse of other children?



Actually Kfw, on this point sadly in our world warning children against predators and sexual abuse by adults isn't something you can avoid, it's part and parcel of protecting children full stop; that they know as early as possible the dangers out there.

#143 kfw

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 06:53 PM

sadly in our world warning children against predators and sexual abuse by adults isn't something you can avoid, it's part and parcel of protecting children full stop; that they know as early as possible the dangers out there.

Of course kids need to be protected; they don't need graphic depictions. The warning is for parents to give, not de frutos.

#144 Simon G

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 07:01 PM

sadly in our world warning children against predators and sexual abuse by adults isn't something you can avoid, it's part and parcel of protecting children full stop; that they know as early as possible the dangers out there.

Of course. I'd just leave that to parents, not to de frutos.



But De Frutos has no desire or intention on instructing children in the dangers of sexual predators. The Eternal Damnation to Sancho and Sanchez was never intended for children, nor was it intended as instruction.

It was on late at a theatre with a warning. The show when televised has omitted the De Frutos piece because it's being broadcast pre watershed, had it been broadcast post watershed it would have come with an "adult content" warning.

What else can be done then? Must we have a total moratorium on all or any content deemed immoral or obscene in every piece intended for public viewing in all medium?

Who then is going to police this body, decide the moral code and conduct, what can and can't be seen, what is and isn't moral and what floodgates of hypocrisy will be opened by this governing body?

It's exactly that kind of institution of moral superiority and the machinations and potential for evil behind it that caused De Frutos to create Eternal Damnation to Sancho and Sanchez in the first place.

#145 canbelto

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 07:36 PM

I'd argue that there's a difference between showing such a work at a theatre that's renowned for modern dance works, and showing the work on TV. In the first instance, the audience is likely to be adult, and can appreciate the artistic content (if any) of the work. In the second instance, it's Christmas time, traditionally a time for very kid-friendly fare to be shown on any TV station, and also a public television network, where standards of taste are supposed to be higher than commercial television. I'd say the BBC was within their rights and probably smart to pull the programming.
Another issue I think is the steady loss of interest in these kinds of modern dance works.

#146 carbro

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 07:59 PM

After passage of the 1996 Communications Act (overall a disaster for consumers, IMHO), all tv sets with 13" screens or larger were required to have a v chip, by which the adults could program the level of violent or sexual content of each set in the home. (Apparently, the bill's authors failed to foresee the unbiquity of iPhones, small laptops, etc.). Canada started including the technology in the 1990s; I can't believe controls of that sort don't also exist in the UK. And for older sets, the technology is available through a (Wikipedia's page on V Chip is actually pretty interesting.)

Not having seen the piece, I can't comment about specifics, but how explicit was the depiction of papal penetration? (Rhetorical question, but if moved to answer, please simply place it on a scale of 1-10 without graphic description. :wacko: :blush: )

There is also the issue, although perhaps not really apt here, since an announced program was withdrawn by the broadcaster, but I've often heard charges of censorship against actions that were more likely only run-of-the-mill editorial choices.

#147 kfw

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 04:46 AM

But De Frutos has no desire or intention on instructing children in the dangers of sexual predators. The Eternal Damnation to Sancho and Sanchez was never intended for children, nor was it intended as instruction.

It was on late at a theatre with a warning. The show when televised has omitted the De Frutos piece because it's being broadcast pre watershed, had it been broadcast post watershed it would have come with an "adult content" warning.

That's good. But you have cited the work as potentially instructive, or as a jumping off place for instruction. That's what I took issue with above.

What else can be done then? Must we have a total moratorium on all or any content deemed immoral or obscene in every piece intended for public viewing in all medium?

Who then is going to police this body, decide the moral code and conduct, what can and can't be seen, what is and isn't moral and what floodgates of hypocrisy will be opened by this governing body?

It's exactly that kind of institution of moral superiority and the machinations and potential for evil behind it that caused De Frutos to create Eternal Damnation to Sancho and Sanchez in the first place.

I'm opposed to a total moratorium. That said, if there is such a thing as morality, there is such a thing as moral superiority. Every society decides to tolerate this but not that, and those decisions are necessary and good. I'm going to leave it at that.

#148 Simon G

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 06:10 AM

Carbro,

On a scale of 1-10? I'd give it a 3, bad pantomime, the only thing that raised it into "scandalous" level (if someone actively wanted to be scandalised) is that the main protagonist was supposed to be "a" not "the" pope.

Canbelto,

The thing I have to stress again is that the broadcast destination for this programming was BBC4, not a public channel, a very very specialised niche cable channel with an average viewing audience of about 6 people if they're lucky. And in truth if it IS post watershed why can't specialised programming still take place in appropriate formats, channels and times. Because the BBC was broadcasting pre watershed they pulled the De Frutos - a pity about the time slot, the De Frutos was the most interesting thing on the quadruple bill.



That's good. But you have cited the work as potentially instructive, or as a jumping off place for instruction. That's what I took issue with above.



No I did not cite this work as a potentially instructive piece, and I really wish my words weren't continually twisted to fill an agenda which was never mine in the first place.

I said that in the case that a child may watch or inadvertantly come across a troubling or provocative piece of work, one could use it as a jumping off point to start a conversation or discourse about the issues in an age-appropriate manner. I never meant that parents should sit their kids down in front of the De Frutos as a form of anti-Catholic indoctrination.

If a child around the age of five saw the few seconds which constituted the "offending" (to some) material, in all likelihood they wouldn't even register it, it's not that disturbing or interesting enough. A child of around 11/12 or over I'd have no problem with them watching all of it - though chances are they wouldn't actually be that interested. In the grey area between wider awareness and adolescence 5-10, IF the child saw it and wanted to discuss it - and if that child was mine, I would be prepared to open an age-appropriate discussion. That's all I'm saying. And I feel that's healthier than just ignoring that child's questions. I'm not saying that it would be an opportunity to discuss Catholicism from the Crusades to the current situation in Ireland.

I'm opposed to a total moratorium. That said, if there is such a thing as morality, there is such a thing as moral superiority. Every society decides to tolerate this but not that, and those decisions are necessary and good. I'm going to leave it at that, because it's the principle I'm interested in.



Here kfw, I really have to take issue. There's a vast gulf between morals and ethics and morals are personal to the individual, as soon as one begins to insist that one's moral standpoint is superior and that it become an ethical code by which the majority must abide, you are in deeply, deeply dangerous territory.

I assume then that you and the other De Frutos detractors are morally superior to me? Don't worry, I don't take offence at all, but you fill pages of a website arguing the case for blanket censorship and the moral decrepitude of something you haven't seen and argue a case for this unknown work being banned from a domain where a greater audience may choose to view it and make up their own mind, based on their individual morals.

A self-imposed position of moral superiority of a few, is advocating what the majority may or may not view for fear of corrupting their moral code, a moral code you seem to have decided upon.

This is what makes me nervous and why it's not fair on your part to mention moral superiority and then refuse to elaborate further. This is the crux of this thread, and why I wonder if it can find any resolution - as long as anything is argued from the standpoint of unimpeachable moral superiority, anything I or anyone else says is ultimately useless. Our morals and views are inherently inferior.

#149 kfw

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 07:05 AM

No I did not cite this work as a potentially instructive piece, and I really wish my words weren't continually twisted to fill an agenda which was never mine in the first place.

I said that in the case that a child may watch or inadvertantly come across a troubling or provocative piece of work, one could use it as a jumping off point to start a conversation or discourse about the issues in an age-appropriate manner. I never meant that parents should sit their kids down in front of the De Frutos as a form of anti-Catholic indoctrination.


Simon, I'm sorry to misunderstand, but to misunderstand is not necessarily to twist, and the person who misunderstands sometimes has help. :angel_not: I didn't say you meant the work to be the jumping off point for anti-Catholic lectures. As to the first, I don't think it's any defense of de frutos or of showing the work on television, which was the topic, and that was the source of my misunderstanding.

There's a vast gulf between morals and ethics and morals are personal to the individual, as soon as one begins to insist that one's moral standpoint is superior and that it become an ethical code by which the majority must abide, you are in deeply, deeply dangerous territory. [. . .]

No, I don't presume I'm morally superior to someone I've never met because we disagree on one point. And as a Christian I'm enjoined not to presume that superiority would have much real value anyhow. Other than that. I'm familiar with your arguments and I'd be happy to discuss them privately if you want to PM me. But we are so far now from Ballet Talk's mission "to focus attention on ballet as an art form, to alert people to what is happening in ballet today, and to provide a place where people could discuss ballet," that I think I've already said more than enough here.

#150 Nanarina

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 09:49 AM

I still maintain that the absolute stranglehold that vacuous mass media has is far more damaging to the psyches and development of children's intellect than being confronted with challenging material. And that there's zero chance a kid would sit through 40 minutes of niche market dance-based physical theatre when there's a whole world of drivel at his or her fingertips.

I don't know how we'd measure which is worse, lowest common denominator pablum or obscenity, since they harm in different ways, but my objection as I've said is not to challenging material, but to material meant merely to Úpater la bourgeoisie, or in this case Catholics.

But, how about we approach this from a different angle? The De Frutos wouldn't even register with children of a certain age, so let's say a child who is inquisitive, intelligent should happen upon a piece such as the De Frutos and ask about the symbolism religious etc within the piece. How would you honour that child's intelligence and perfectly reasonable questions by initiating a conversation with him or her? It would take some research on your behalf for starters, you'd need to know about De Frutos, his background dance, cultural and religious - there was an intellectual point and purpose as well as emotional one and indeed a commissioned one (it was made for the Spirit of Diaghilev evening after all). Then you'd have to research the transgressions of the Papacy historically, of the Roman Catholic church and specifically De Frutos' relationship with his religion. You wouldn't have to go into all the sordid details - but you could start an interesting and healthy discourse rather than censoring and rendering subjects taboo - most unhealthy approaches.

Ultimately though, the upshot would be you'd have an arsenal of facts and issues which could be spoken about and discussed with the child. That for me is a far more grown up and rational approach not only to this whole issue, but also to raising children who are open, aware and intellectually inquisitive.

Simon, has it occurred to you that most parents would prefer not to discuss with their "inquisitive, intelligent" children the sexual abuse of other children? That they might prefer not to explain to the child who's been channel-surfing, or the child who's been sitting next to them as they watch the dance, why a Pope figure is penetrating boys and pregnant women? My concern is for children who accidentally run across those disturbing images, and the fact that more explicit ones are available on the Internet is neither here nor there. Many teens and most younger kids don't troll the Web for obscenity. Parents are quite capable, without de frutos' aid, of a "rational approach" to whether and when to discuss these issues with their kids.




"Here Here" my sentiments too kfw.


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