Dateline, Wasilla: HS Principal Bans Song Because Gay Man Wrote It//UPDATE: Will they ban the movie in Wasilla, too?///UPDATE 1.1: Which One Is Gay?
WASILLA HS STUDENTS REHEARSING “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY”
The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reports today that the principal of Wasilla High School told members of the school’s symphonic jazz choir that they would not be allowed to perform the 1975 Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” because Freddy Mercury, who wrote it, was gay.
In the face of student protests, and fearing ACLU involvement, the principal backed down–to a point.
The choir will be allowed to perform the song, but only in a censored version, without lyrics the principal deems objectionable.
Three points about this:
1) Bravo to Wasilla High seniors for fighting back.
2) Wasilla High has a symphonic jazz choir? Humph. They never had that sort of thing in Sarah Palin’s day.
3) In Wasilla, in the Year of Our Lord 2011, there can be controversy about a song simply because the songwriter was gay. Sarah Palin is, in every way, a daughter of Wasilla. If this is what it’s like in 2011, imagine the ethos in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, when she grew up there.
Actually, you won’t have to imagine, because I describe the atmosphere in detail in THE ROGUE.
Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) will portray Freddy Mercury in a new movie being written by Peter Morgan, who wrote “The Queen” and “The Last King of Scotland.” Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions is producing it.
I’m sure my friend Verne Rupright, current mayor of Wasilla, will take no action to prevent its showing in Wasilla theaters, but it might have been a different story back in the days of Sarah Palin’s mayoral regime.
Even so, the question remains: will Wasilla High students be permitted to attend?
Two further notes about Mercury: he was actually bisexual, not homosexual, and (here’s where it gets truly sinister) his real name was Farrokh Bulsara, and he was a Parsi Zoroastrian born in Zanzibar. That alone should be enough to ban his music from Wasilla High playlists forevermore. Can’t those kids sing songs written by Americans? I wonder if Chuck Heath will weigh in on this.
The estimable Alaskan blogger, composer, musician and music teacher, Phil Munger, posts this photo of Wasilla High School principal Dwight Probasco, who banned Freddie Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and another non-hetero British singer and songwriter, Elton John, and poses the question: Separated at Birth?
Phil also writes:
“My feathers are ruffled. If Wasillians are going to be consistent, they’ll need to ban the following composers and their work:
Samuel Barber – No more Adagio for Strings, Dwight
Leonard Bernstein – Don’t you dare play anything from West Side Story, my friend
Aaron Copland – Watch out for those hidden messages in Fanfare for the Common Man
Noël Coward – no more Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Charles Tomlinson Griffes – careful, Dwight, a piece for flute or piano might sneak into a solo and ensemble contest
Elton John – empty the sky, Dwight. Right now!
Dave Koz – he was a hit in Anchorage, but don’t play his version ofWhite Christmas at WHS
k.d. lang – put her in Shadowland forever, Dwight
Gian Carlo Menotti – those little operas have been done at thousands of high schools, but keep away from Dwight
Cole Porter – there go about 500 really good songs, Dwight
Stephen Sondheim – Gypsy, West Side Story, A Little Night Music orCompany. Oh – wait! West Side Story’s already banned because of Lenny
Billy Strayhorn – Can’t Take the A Train if you’re a WHS Warrior
Peter Tchaikovsky – What was the secret message in The Nutcracker, Dwight?”
Oh, and by the way, Principal Probasco, Phil Munger isn’t gay, so maybe you’ll let him attend the graduation performance of the censored version of “Bohemian Rhapsody?”