Sometimes, history is unpleasant. It is for that very reason that we need to remember and learn for, to to share an overused (but very true) quote ‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
If the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (you know, the “Fame” school) has their way, history will be scrubbed of unpleasantness and, probably, repeated. The students are staging a performance of The Sound of Music which, you probably know, tells the true story of the VonTrapp family and their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria on the eve of World War II. It’s an important story, and a cherished musical. It seems odd that a school would choose to stage this particular musical and then ban all Nazi symbols from the stage during the production, but that’s what they’ve done.
You read that correctly. No Nazi flags, no swastikas, no other nazi symbols. In a play about Nazi occupation. That’s a fairly large omission. In this case, it’s not the students who were complaining, but Principal Lisa Mars who ordered their removal. The students, by and large, seemed to think it was ridiculous.
One sophomore in the production told the New York Daily News:
This is a very liberal school, we’re all against NaziBut to take out the symbol is to try to erase history…Obviously the symbols are offensive but in context, they are supposed to be.
A senior working on the production told them:
It’s still going to be a great show. I’m not going to say it was going to be a bad night because this happened. But it would have been better to explain the symbolism than to just take it away…The goal was supposed to be equal representation between the arts and education, but it hasn’t turned out that way.
Exactly. They are the bad guys. The entire point of the production is that the family needs to escape from this hideous regime. Show and shame the symbols affiliated with them. A portion of the money raised from the production will even be donated to Holocaust Organizations such as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC.
The New York City Department of Education did say symbols would still appear in two scenes, however. City education spokeswoman Miranda Barbot defended the action, saying:
The use of this historical symbol of hatred … serves both an artistic and pedagogical purpose, and the decision to include it was made in collaboration with school staff, students and families.
A junior working for the production told the New York Daily News that Mars hasn’t been the greatest leader for the school. “Ever since she came into the school, the arts have been less and less,” the student said. Apparently, she isn’t much for traditional education, either.
Way to stand up to the Nazis through censorship, Ms. Mars. You sure showed them.