I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Full Of GLEE!

Cath Lugg is as happy as I am about Glee getting its props:
I am absolutely delighted that the TV show “Glee” won the Golden Globe for best TV series, Comedy or Musical. Furthermore, two of the OUT stars of Glee also won Golden Globes. Chris Colfer won Best Supporting Actor in a TV series.  And Jane Lynch won for Best Actress in a TV series.
Now, for generations kids who’ve participated in music ensembles in their public schools have been known as “Choir Queers,” “Band Fags,” and so forth, and subjected to verbal and occasionally physical harassment.  Participation in musical ensembles was seen as intrinsically UNmannly, and more dangerously, as potentially “faggy.” These perceptions didn’t get much better if you went to college and actually majored in music.* The director of the elite choir of my undergrad routinely used the phrase “Men, women and tenors….” which is just a nasty put-down, even if it was supposedly a joke (uh-huh!). Such stigmatization has harmed the arts and children–not only those who actually participate in music, but those who would like to– and are literally chased away.
So, imagine my all-out-joy that a TV show that is all about a Glee Club/Show Choir is a major hit. Not only that, but it’s well done, scoring major theatrical awards. Furthermore,  “Glee” tackles issues of gender, sexual orientation, and school life. To put the icing on my big queer celebratory cake, two of the stars are actually out and PROUD queers. Well, I’m completely over the moon.
It's a problem for those of us on the ground level. The girls show up to auditions in droves; the boys, not so much. So, while I'm happy for Colfer, I'm also glad the show has the toughest kid in the school singing in the choir. As I tell boys: if you want to be in a class surrounded by girls, join choir.

And, just generally - singing should be part of everyone's life. I'm hoping Steven Tyler keeps up the silliness on this season's American Idol: it's a big improvement over Simon Cowell's nastiness, and it's an acknowledgement that getting up in front of people and singing is an act of bravery that deserves some respect, even when it's not done very well.

Also: Prof Lugg, you have THREE DEGREES in music?! I have three degrees in music! I knew there was a reason I liked your writing so much!

1 comment:

calugg said...

Hey Duke:

Thanks for the shout out. Yeah, 3 degrees in music. But you know the joke....

"What can you do with a Masters in flute performance?"

"Waitress!" I was most unhappy.

Later, I discovered that I could get paid to obsess about politics, and even better yet, politics, schools, and LGBT issues. So, for me it was a happy change in careers.

That said, having a music background has been very handy in analyzing the political realm because of all of the symbolic politics involved.

Change in topic: You're spot on about how singing should be part of everyone's life. I started singing in a church choir at age 4 (the Baptists will do that). Today, many, many years later, I'm still singing in a church choir although I'm an agnostic theologically. It's just something I've always done. I am greatly saddened that more kids don't have an opportunity to literally "sing across their lifespan." It's been an incredible journey....