Did you ever, in your 20s, sneak a peak at a forbidden flick?
Did you dare spy cinema a little lamb your age wasn’t adult enough to endure?
I’m referring, of course, to G-Rated iterations of classic literature.
Such was the recent case at the University of Michigan, though youngsters didn’t mean to adulterate their eyes.
Indeed, a professor metaphorically boiled himself by showing woke students a movie from 1965.
The culture has certainly changed, and perhaps nowhere is that more evident than entertainment.
For an otherworldly glimpse, take a walk through some 1980s fare.
If you’re game for a greater jolt, rewind two decades more.
Consider, for example, the filmed National Theatre Company version of Othello.
On camera, Laurence appeared to have taken some sun:
Hence, a bold classroom choice, courtesy of 65-year-old UM music Professor Bright Sheng.
On September 10th — perhaps a day to live in infamy for traumatized youth — the academic showcased Olivier’s heavily-made-up Moorish general.
Speaking to The Michigan Daily, freshman Olivia Cook conveyed consternation:
“I was stunned. In such a school that preaches diversity and making sure that they understand the history of POC (People Of Color) in America, I was shocked that [Bright] would show something like this in something that’s supposed to be a safe space.”
University spokesperson Kim Broekhuizen confirmed catastrophe to the New York Post:
“Music history offers lessons that remain significant today, including how blackface minstrelsy as a part of U.S. popular music was both a product of and a way to support racist stereotypes. However, charged lessons such as these must include proper context and should always be presented with care and sensitivity.”
Either way, Bright’s colleague — composition Professor Evan Chambers — puréed his peer.
From an email sent to the school paper:
“To show the film now, especially without substantial framing, content advisory and a focus on its inherent racism is in itself a racist act, regardless of the professor’s intentions. We need to acknowledge that as a community.”
But not everyone cast shade upon Bright.
“Bright Sheng survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution but he might not survive a couple of whiny Michigan students being shown a film version of Othello.”
Japanese social media editor Oliver Jia also looked on the Bright side.
He posted to Twitter, “Bright Sheng did nothing wrong. His students should suck it up and stop acting like petulant children.”
Others have flocked to the educator’s court as well:
When Bright Sheng was a child in Mao's China, the Red Guard took away his piano. Nevertheless, he became a celebrated and award winning composer.
What the University of Michigan has done to this great man is contemptible. Please read and share.https://t.co/rBxBoMzeMm
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) October 8, 2021
On September 16th, Bright issued a formal letter of apology to the school’s music department.
For now, he’s been replaced as instructor of the class.
But first things first — the aftermath of a 56-year-old movie must be unpacked.
Moreover, Bright’s mea culpa may not have helped: The man took time to point out he’d worked with nonwhites.
Freshman Olivia wasn’t impressed:
“He could have taken responsibility for his actions and realized that this was harmful to some of his students that are within his class. Instead, he tried to make excuses. Instead of just apologizing for it, he tried to downplay the fact that the entire situation happened in the first place.”
From now on, he’ll likely tread lightly — America’s future find it difficult to deal with the past.
Irrespective of his fate at the school, I believe Professor Sheng will find continued success.
As for the aforementioned G-Rating, Othello wasn’t actually given such; the rating system didn’t begin until 1968.
Even so, the film was surely seen as family-friendly.
I predict the relabeling of a hard “R.”
Disney+ Removes 'Peter Pan,' 'Dumbo,' 'The Aristocats' and 'Swiss Family Robinson' From Kids' Viewing, Adds Warning Labels for Adults https://t.co/ExfafmZDrP
— RedState (@RedState) March 10, 2021
Othello, you’re cruising for a cancellation.
These days, appropriation is an absolutely egregious offense.
We’re more enlightened and evolved.
1965…is not 2021:
Good afternoon! pic.twitter.com/7b6RvkMa2f
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) October 10, 2021
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