Posts Tagged ‘high school’

Monday Musings

Posted in General on September 29th, 2008 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment


It is now is official: I would be ashamed to seen in public with the Chicago Tribune. In its policy of cutting corners, the Tribune has debuted a new format. Imagine if the National Enquirer were combined with My Weekly Reader. Well, it is now available at Chicago newstands.

The NEW Tribune has big pictures with little stories. So a picture is not only worth a thousand words, it is also much cheaper. Even the truncated stories are in a more elementary prose. What a compliment to my reading comprehension and attention span.

The old Tribune was a repellent reactionary but–like Henry James–it was properly dressed and grammatical. This new Tribune has lost none of its bias but it now is a garish lout. There is a difference between being cheap and sleazy. As a further affront to my intelligence, the Tribune is bellowing how fashionable and up-to-date this format is. Really….imbecile chic. The Tribune’s new format has all the charm and style of truckstop gonorrhrea.


Speaking of venereal diseases, the drama class of a local high school will be performing “Rent.” Yes, the pampered teenagers of Highland Park, Illinois will be portraying a multi-libidinal assortment of AIDs-afflicted drug addicts living in slums. I don’t think that the production is supposed to be a parody–although in this version I expect Mimi and Musetta to be discussing whether “Crate & Barrel” or “Williams-Sonoma” makes the better heroin cooker.

Now, I don’t consider myself a prude. I have been known to use gonorrhea as a punchline. BUT is “Rent” a suitable choice for a high school play? I certainly don’t think that the high school repertoire should be limited to “Our Town“. Believe me, I have endured the opposite extreme. At my Chicago high school, the faculty advisor of the National Honor Society presented us with a choice of two topics for our induction: a tribute to either Walt Disney or Bob Hope. (So a musical tribute to venereal disease and drugs would have been out of the question.)

However, I think that other musicals might be more suitable for sophisticated teenagers and their naive parents. With Cole Porter, you have wonderful music, dazzling wit and–if the teenagers demand prurience–barely disguised alcoholism and homosexuality. The high school production can even augment Rodgers and Hammerstein with a little post-modern perspective: insinuate Captain von Trapp is molesting his children.

But “Rent” is just too sordid; however, I could offer this compromise. This would be the same basic story except the setting is now 1840s Paris, the derelicts are now artists, and we change AIDs to the far more appealing tuberculosis. I could even recommend a musical score to go with it.