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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A very moral play

This is not meant to be a review. It is a record of my impressions after watching Jerry Springer:The Opera last night.

My first reaction was that this is a very moral play. It is a parody of the Jerry Springer style of television, but it also makes the serious point that for many people this sort of public confession and confrontation gives them some purpose in life. It is almost as if achieving their 15 minutes of infamy justifies their existence. The central thrust is that television has taken the place of God in providing meaning to people's lives.

In making that point JS:TO uses language and imagery that might offend a lot of people. It is also very funny. I loved the Ku Klux Klan chorus line for example. The singing was excellent as well. And yes, it does not show the reverence to the Jesus Christ figure that some think is his due, but it adopts this tone to make a point, not about religion but about society itself. The second half TV show set in hell parodies how Jerry Springer's audience might view the classic battle between good and evil. It even has a little homily from Jerry himself at the end in which he tells us that there are no moral absolutes, only shades of grey.

My view is that those people who are demonstrating against this opera should go and see it. The language and some of the characterisations may not be to their liking but they will be able to find in it a message that resonates, that we need something substantial to anchor our lives.
A very moral play. I thought much the same when I saw it on television. So why the outrage?

Is it worse for a moral play to mock Christianity, than for an immoral one to do the same?
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