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Parents accuse school of porn for showing ‘Oklahoma’

November 6, 2017 by norman lebrecht

36 comments.


Only in America.

Specifically, in Utah:

An email was sent to the parents of each participating student Oct. 11 from Payson Junior High drama teacher Carol Gregory and Principal Carl Swenson.

“This movie was not previewed or approved and some inappropriate material was viewed by the students,” the email stated. “As parents, you may want to visit with your student about this.”

Read on here.


Comments (36)

  1. Brian says:

    Yup, that’s Utah. Not a good week for the state between this and losing BYU’s classical radio station.

    They do still have the Piano Guys, though.

  2. Elizabeth Owen says:

    God there’s some daft people around and we ARE living in the 21st century not the 11th!

  3. Alex Davies says:

    “visit with” in this context presumably means “talk to”.

    1. Nik says:

      No. In merka when they say “talk to” they mean “talk about”.

  4. Bruce says:

    Apparently it was the 1999 remake with Hugh Jackman, not the 1955 version — according to the article, it showed some of the actual images that are only hinted at in the original.

    Then again, in Utah, pictures of women without bonnets pretty much qualifies as “porn” 😉

    1. Mikey says:

      I’d be surprised if the Hugh Jackman version included anything that could remotely be called “pornographic”. It was a made-for-television event, and played in prime-time. Television censors in the US have very strict guidelines.

      1. DAVID says:

        You would be surprised that some parents would find nude photos in junior high school class inappropriate, despite the fact that TV broadcasters believe otherwise?

  5. ElizaX says:

    There’s a school of porn, now? Amazing!

    Still, I can’t understand why they would want to show Oklahoma to their students. There’s not much sex in that, as far as I remember.

  6. Tod Brody says:

    Nakedness notwithstanding, this is the show that has that catchy number “I Cain’t Say No” about a girl who, wait for it, “cain’t say no.” Pretty racy stuff for a 1940s musical.

  7. DAVID says:

    What is daft about parents wishing to raise their children with values different from those of Hollywood and from the author and commentators on this blog?

    1. Elizabeth Owen says:

      Ignorance that’s what is daft. Trying to inflict their narrow
      mindedness on everyone and seeing evil where there isn’t any.

      1. DAVID says:

        Pot, meet kettle.

    2. Anmarie says:

      Yes, we’re a real wild bunch here!

      1. DAVID says:

        That’s not my point.
        Only that some parents have different values and there is no reason to mock them for it.

      2. Sue says:

        It’s the 24 hour news cycle; EVERYTHING is news – which is mostly activism these days anyway. “Crazy pink fox crosses road wearing hat”; oh, sorry, that’s the Twitter-sphere.

  8. DAVID says:

    According to this story the objection was to one scene that included nude images.

    If it’s “only in America” that some parents (religious Moromons, likely) would not want their junior high school to show this, why is that a criticism of America or of those parents?

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2017/11/01/payson-jr-high-accused-of-exposing-children-to-pornography-by-showing-the-musical-oklahoma/

  9. Ruben Greenberg says:

    They have mixed up “porn” with “corn”.

  10. Robert Holmén says:

    “As parents, you may want to visit with your student about this.”

    The problem is… ” sex” or “nudity” are the things the parents least wanted to ever admit to their children that they knew anything about.

  11. Augustine says:

    My 6th grade Catholic elementary school put on a performance of the highlights of Oklahoma circa 1960. The nuns couldn’t or wouldn’t find a boy and a girl to sing the song “People will say we’re in Love”, so they cast two boys to sing it.

    What an innocent time that was.

  12. Cyril Blair says:

    And yet many of these teenagers probably play Grand Theft Auto at home and own firearms.

    1. David says:

      Umm .. probably not.

      They’re Mormons.

      Why the need to sniff out and assume hypocrisy?

      BTW, traditionally Orthodox Jewish schools would also not show a movie that had nude images and their students would also not have guns or be playing violent video games.

      Shocking isn’t it, to find out that such people exist in the 21st Century?

      1. Cyril Blair says:

        You think Mormons don’t own guns? They do. They’re not especially different from regular American Christians in terms of gun ownership.

  13. Gordon Davies says:

    Would the kids be allowed to watch ‘Oklahoma’ in Oklahoma?

  14. William Safford says:

    For those who have not read the article, there are several different issues.

    One understandable one, from the article: “The movie was shown to students in violation of Nebo School District’s media policy, according to spokeswoman Lana Hiskey. Films shown in their entirety must be approved by a school’s principal, Hiskey said, and reviewed by the teacher. ‘None of those things happened,’ Hiskey said.”

    So, protocol was not followed.

    OTOH, what about the following assertion by one parent: ““A pornographic movie was shown in a classroom setting to approximately 125 students … among other things, the movie contained an 8-second close-up of 10 full-frontal images of 10 naked women,” the post read, not naming the movie as “Oklahoma!””

    A pornographic movie? Count me as skeptical. As the article states: “Several images of women in provocative poses can be seen during the film, although most are obscured or appear to be blurred. A content guide on the Internet Movie Database describes the scene as containing ‘no complete nakedness.'”

    1. DAVID says:

      I thought the issue was not the choice of adjective, but whether the school showed a movie that had a scene that violated community standards.

      The newspaper reported that there was in fact such a scene. Whether or not the movie database would call it explicit.

      The movie is on YouTube, I see.
      So, if you know where the scene is, find it and let us know if it’s reasonable to believe that it’s within the standards of parents who normally shelter their children from sexual images.

      1. William Safford says:

        I was not clear.

        Yes, I have looked at the eight seconds in question. (In the video I watched, they are at 1:05:49-58.) You have to freeze-frame and inspect the screen closely to see the outlines of female bodies. I somehow doubt that the movie was shown in the classroom in 4K HDTV on a giant monitor to permit the students to see those images in any significant detail, and I doubt even more that the teacher stopped the movie for all the children to inspect these hazy images.

        To extrapolate from a few intentionally-fuzzy girlie picks in the background of a scene for eight seconds, to claiming that Oklahoma is a “pornographic movie,” is…well, it speaks for itself. I’m skeptical about the judgment of someone who makes such a specious assertion.

        As for sheltering children from “sexual images,” they saw more of a woman’s naked body if they were breast fed.

        1. Bruce says:

          I saw a few seconds (when Jackman first goes over to inspect the pictures) where you can definitely see everything. Not in up-close HD detail, but definitely enough to see that breasts and pubic hair are clearly exposed and on display, and in a pornographic way (as opposed to artistic — these are not Rubens or Titians on the wall).

          I’m not a teacher, but I would definitely have reservations about showing those few seconds to a roomful of hormonal teenagers. Those might well be the only 5 seconds they remember from the entire movie.

  15. Robert Holmén says:

    Here is the apparently 3-hour (!) Hugh Jackman version on YouTube. Can anyone identify where the offending scene is?

    https://youtu.be/yl9dG0F6f9E

    1. William Safford says:

      1:05:49-58

      1. William Safford says:

        Such as it is.

  16. Augustine says:

    OK. I just watched the 10 seconds (1:05:49-58). As a public school science teacher in Wisconsin, I would definitely feel very uncomfortable showing that to High School kids. It’s not just the images, it’s the reaction of the two men and what they say and how they say it.

    This is the kind of thing that teachers with any experience have a sixth sense about. You are asking for trouble if you show a scene like that without following school protocol.

    This has nothing to do with the community, religion, or personal belief system. It’s all about common sense.

    1. William Safford says:

      You make valid points: both that the actors’ reactions to the images are problematic within the context of such a viewing, and the putative failure of the teacher to follow protocol.

      But the men’s reactions were not an issue articulated by those listed in the article who objected to the viewing of the movie. Isn’t it interesting that the objection was to the ability to see (barely — pun intended) images of nude women, but not to the leering at them by the actors (in their roles)? Hmmmm….

      1. Augustine says:

        Parents complain about anything and everything. Sometimes they simply dislike the teacher and purposely look for things to complain about.

        The images become the target because they are an objective fact. One can argue about the leering men but not those images.

        Teaching is a hard profession but it is even harder if you are stupid.

  17. Sue says:

    I wonder if the offending scene in the film is the dream sequence where the prostitutes in the dance hall are trying to lure Laurie into a liaison with Judd Fry:. here from 1:17:00

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mloevRLSg0g

  18. Robert Holmén says:

    I wonder if any parent saw the scene or if the label of “porn” was based on their child’s embroidered description of it.


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