Above, the three witches of MACBETH, sporting dreadlocks.
Today on Occupy the Microphone, we discussed Bob Jones University's newest production of MACBETH, which got a gushing (and what other kind is there?) endorsement from Sunday's worshipful GREENVILLE NEWS. As I have complained before (about a half-million times), the GREENVILLE NEWS has never ever criticized Bob Jones University, even when they appoint professional rape-apologists to their board, or suspend students for watching GLEE. As I have also said, they don't even print Letters to the Editors critical of BJU; segregation, racism, sexism, homophobia, students not being able to face their accusers, long-time faculty railroaded out of jobs because they state on internet forums that they don't like corporal punishment, etc... it's all peachy keen and wholesome as the dickens.
My all-time favorite GREENVILLE NEWS editorial (re: the aforementioned BJU scandal about the rape-excuser on the board) actually stated, "Whatever account is most accurate" (!)--which completely sums up the hands-off approach always applied to Bob Jones University, in which the words "investigative journalism" have absolutely no meaning.
What makes no sense is how the GREENVILLE NEWS obviously wants the big movers and shakers to relocate here; they want the international money-men to colonize Greenville even more than they have already. Do they understand that championing such an awful, embarrassing, oppressive institution is NOT the way to do this? Why not cut to the chase and simply print a banner headline advertising: GREENVILLE UNRESERVEDLY LOVES FUNDAMENTALIST WACKOS? I mean, if you are going to continue to rave about the wonderfulness of BJU without alluding to its repressive history (as well as its repressive present), that IS how it reads.
To name only the most recent example, the goofy, incorrect, thoroughly unscientific craziness in Bob Jones University's homeschool textbooks recently made the media rounds, singled out as an example of redneck stupidity and an occasion of extended hilarity on all the major networks. This craziness included rehabbing the kkk, who really were just misunderstood doncha know:
“[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2001And making sure students understand that slavery wasn't all bad:
“A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 2nd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 1991And you probably didn't know that dinosaurs and humans lived side by side?:
“Bible-believing Christians cannot accept any evolutionary interpretation. Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years.”—Life Science, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007In addition, fire-breathing dragons might be real, just like on GAME OF THRONES!:
“[Is] it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls…The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke.”—Life Science, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007And yes, unfortunately, I could go on. Further, Bob Jones University is one of the major suppliers of homeschooling textbooks worldwide ... and they make a lot of their money from this crackpot stuff.
But don't expect any criticism of this goofiness from our local newspaper of record. Not. One. Peep.
Maybe that's the worst part of it: The GREENVILLE NEWS is still pretending the place is a real school, instead of a fundamentalist cult. And this has the overall effect of making us all look like yahoos, every time we pick up their newspaper.
And so, the MACBETH production, like everything else at BJU, was deemed an unqualified success in the Sunday GREENVILLE NEWS account. But when I saw the photos of the three actresses playing the famous three witches in MACBETH, I was somewhat alarmed (but never surprised, considering who we are talking about) that their hair is all in dreadlocks.
Dreadlocks. DREAD. LOCKS.
Keep in mind that witches, to BJU, are real enough that they do not even allow their students to read the Harry Potter novels. Witches are unambiguously regarded as evil, satanic, bad. Thus, we must wonder why they consider dreadlocks specifically something that witches would wear? Why would they think that? I doubt anyone in Scotland in 1057 AD wore dreadlocks, know what I mean? But here in Greenville in 2013, who DOES wear them?
Think about that.
African Americans and white hippie pagan weirdos. You know, the evil people. In fact, it is African drumming that makes rock music uniquely evil and satanic, in case you didn't know. Things from AFRICA are automatically suspect in BJU-circles. (Interracial dating was prohibited on campus until 2000.)
And so, we have to ask, what do the dreadlocks on witches mean in this context? Was this an openly-racist decision by the wardrobe department, or as Sheila Jackson, my caller on today's radio show, said, is this "subliminal"? Are they aware of the implications of singling out a hairstyle associated with African-Americans and Afrocentric religion (the Rastafarians) and assigning this iconic hairstyle to the most famous trio of spell-casting witches in literary history?
Either way, it stinks... and it illustrates how backward and embarrassing they are, besides.
I am reminded of the many 70s productions of "Jesus Christ Superstar" that cast King Herod as a flaming gay man surrounded by an interracial group of gender-benders. Um, what was THAT supposed to mean? (And I think we can easily see that now, can't we?)
The difference, of course, would be that these productions of "Jesus Christ Superstar" are from about four decades ago... and BJU's dreadlocked MACBETH witches are from RIGHT NOW.
Yes, four decades behind. That's about right.