Monday, April 29, 2013

Bob Jones University's MACBETH witches wear dreadlocks

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, 2001
And 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, 1991
And 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, 2007
In 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, 2007
And 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.

What? (double-take)

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.


Ellis said...

Um, they do let their students read Harry Potter. There are multiple copies of the series in their library, and I had a few lit teachers who talked about them every so often.

Dwayne Walker said...

When I went to Stratford upon Avon, there were a number of Shakespearean and other Elizabethan plays given a modern twist. My favorite was the Goethe's Faust poster where it looked like Satan gave him a Lamborghini and Margarita was wearing a hot red miniskirt like Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled. Maybe they're just trying to catch up with Stratford?

DaisyDeadhead said...

Ellis, BJU also has St Athanasius in their library, but I doubt they believe the Catholic Church edited their Bible either.

Potemkin villages don't count, hon.

BTW, can I quote you by your FULL name? (Which is--?) I will be glad to edit my post with a quote from you containing your full name and stated relationship to BJU, grad year, etc. What you claim contradicts the report I get from my inside sources. Which teachers talked about the books? Names?

Otherwise, uh huh. Right. I've already been through this routine before. (see comments in THIS thread) Facts please, with accompanying willingness to be QUOTED HERE IN FULL, or run along.

I've discovered that usually makes em scatter like flies.

Dwayne, thanks for using YOUR full name. :)

Ellis said...

These are the records of Harry Potter books that I found are stil in their library.

We even had a student who organized a Hogwarts Day on campus where Harry Potter fans met up at the dining common in Gryffindor-like attire... basically cardigans and ties... no capes or anything :) It wasn't a school-sponsored event, but they knew it was going on, and about 85 students participated.

I know one of my history teachers, Brenda Schoolfield, was a fan of the series. And honestly I don't recall which of my lit teachers spoke about them. I took a lot of lit classes, but it might've been Dr. Karen Roe and Dr. Rhonda Galloway if I recall correctly.

DaisyDeadhead said...

As for books in the library, I repeat, so is St Athanasius... and they challenge everything Bob Jones University claims is true about the early Church. I repeat, Potemkin villages DON'T COUNT. If you (obviously?) don't know what that means (I keep forgetting; BJU 'educations' are somewhat lacking) please Google the reference, no time to explain Soviet history right now.

Ellis, and your full name is? Year attended? You are ALMOST THERE! I feel like giving you an award for even coming this far in your disclosure. But of course, as McCarthy taught us, its easy to name names. It can also be a way to get even with someone... but I am checking on your story as we speak.

Keep up the good work, and don't forget, Google is your friend.

Anonymous said...

According to this article from the Bob Jones University Prsess website own doesn't like Harry Potter.

I received Demerits and "counseling" from my dorm counselor in 2010 for reading Harry Potter.

Harry Potter is forbidden, otherwise students might get suspicious that High Inquisitor Umbridge is evidently in residence and control there.

Kim Frederick

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thank you Kim! I have heard this a number of times. Another person on Facebook says her roommate DID openly read HP books back in 2007. Maybe it depends on who you know and how conformist you are in the first place? It sounds a lot like the BJU hemline rules (see link on the word SEXISM, in my post, for details on the BJU dress-code), which I have heard some well-connected female students are allowed to ignore, while others most assuredly are NOT.

Hey Ellis, where'd you go?

DaisyDeadhead said...

Here is the official line on Harry Potter over at BJU:

catsynth said...

I have to admit, now I'm curious to see how BJU would handle a production Jesus Christ Superstar (I have a soft spot for that one because of the 70s vibe.)

PMG said...

I like how you used BJU's Macbeth production as a segue to rant about the university. You did tie it in a little with the witches' hair, though. Most people just thought it was "cool."

I did think you were kind of rude to Ellis. Well, not kind of, just "rude."

DaisyDeadhead said...

PMG, thanks, I try never to miss an opportunity to expose those outside of SC to information about our local cult. Unfortunately, we can't outlaw the place, but at least we can erode their influence, tarnish the name, and lower their enrollment numbers by highlighting their.. um, "academics"... such as it is. The more people hear about the inner-workings of BJU and how repressive it is, the fewer students they will have. Cults need to be attacked at every possibility.

Cool hair on the witches, huh? Witches are now regarded as "cool" at BJU? Sounds dangerous to me. Next thing you know, they will let women wear dresses all the way up to their knees and allow adult students in the dorms to actually date without chaperons! (I'm sure its only a short step from there to an abortion clinic right on campus.)

Rude to Ellis? I beg to differ; I did not tell him to fuck off or use any other obscenity. (Sounds like PMG is another clueless BJU person who has not spent much time in the real world, and would not know "rude" if it ran over them in a jeep.) I also did not delete his crap that he was too afraid to sign his name to.. you realize that the New York Times comments-forum will just delete your ass, right? I am tolerant as the dickens. But no, I don't put up with bullshit... nor do I (usually) put up with mealy-mouthed, cowardly passive-aggression...however I DO think your comment is a VERITABLE MARVEL of passive-aggression, which is why I am leaving it up. (applause)

More passive-aggression please! (Bless your heart.)

Dr. R. V. Gray said...

I know I'm late to the party here, but it blows my mind how little things have changed in Greenville and BJU since I was expelled/chose to leave in the Spring of 1991. The fact that this "University" did not allow interracial dating until 2000 was ignored as a supporter tried to convince us above that, "No, really.... We CAN be trusted to read Harry Potter now without performing witchcraft in our dorm rooms at night as a direct result!" Uh... Priorities? By the way, the TRUTH clear back in the olden days of the early 90's was that the rule on interracial dating ONLY applied to BLACKS, at least as far as what was actually enforced while I was on campus. Asians, Hispanics, Whites, and all other races freely dated. Only BLACKS were forced to "keep to your own kind". I was there to see it... Not ancient history kids! But hey, like a graduate from '93 told me two years ago when I happened upon her, things are REALLY progressing. She said quite proudly (and seriously) "our President even has a goatee now!" We'll la-tee-da! Unfortunately, sounds like discrimination is still alive and well while priorities are as screwed up as ever.

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