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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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March 01 2006

Harry Groener in The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial. Everyone's favorite Mayor will have his play recorded for "The Play's the Thing" broadcast series.

Sounds interesting. May have to get hold of this from (though, personally, I find it a great shame that plays like this are still relevant today rather than just being enjoyed as historical comments on an earlier, less informed era).
Agreed, Saje. I couldn't help thinking with some shock 'my, god, that's still relevant' when I read the snippet. Crazy world.
While it's relevant, the recent conflict in Kansas is not a replay of the Scopes trial. That was an unsuccessful attempt to bring down state laws prohibiting the teaching of evolution theory (the U.S. Supreme Court did prohibit such laws decades later). This time, the fundamentalists are pretty much arguing on free speech grounds, and so far, thankfully, not very successfully.

There's a lot of interesting free speech debate going on now, more in Europe, I think, than here.

Does anybody know who Harry Groener is playing?
On the "Play's the Thing" website, there's a press release telling more about the play, and what radio stations the series airs on, but nothing specifically about Mr. Groener's role.

Bad news: It looks like they sell a recording of an earlier performance of the play (like, years ago), but The Mayor's not in that cast. Good news: They will record this version, air it on the radio (and webcast it, it looks like) and distribute it to high schools (maybe sell it on their website + & iTunes, too?).
Kansas isn't the only big recent moment in the current debate. Don't forget the Dover Panda Trial in Pennsylvania, where they tried to push "Intelligent Design" into the biology classrooms (ultimately, they lost).

More relevantly, why hadn't I heard about this play until now?
Yay, Mayor! Ah, somebody besides me reads Playbill. I use it to torment myself with all the things I'll never see.
Groener plays Dudley Malone, one of the defence attorneys in the original trial. Here's a not entirely flattering review of the play which mentions Groener's role in complimentary terms.

The Dover verdict does give me hope that some judges at least have their heads screwed on. Intelligent Design is clearly not science and shouldn't be taught as such (though i've absolutely no problem with it appearing in religious education classes assuming you have these in US public schools - not sure if that'd contravene the 1st amendment ?).
(though i've absolutely no problem with it appearing in religious education classes assuming you have these in US public schools - not sure if that'd contravene the 1st amendment ?)

Normally what public schools would have, if they have anything, is "comparative religions" or some such.
Ah, right, so that the government isn't advancing any one particular religion, thanks for that totb.

That's actually quite a fair way to do it (similar to the UK where RE lessons are used to discuss moral questions as well as for imparting information about different religions, from what I remember anyway, it's been a while ;).
why hadn't I heard about this play until now?

The 1960 movie "Inherit The Wind", whilst not historically accurate, is one of my all time favourites. I highly recommend checking it out, some amazing acting performances.
Thanks for the review link, Saje. I think I will try to get this recording. I guess the reviewer was a bit bored, but a radio play made out of actual transcripts sounds very interesting to me. And I was hoping HG was playing a good guy.

There were no religion courses in public schools where I grew up (Texas), not because of the establishment clause, per se, but because teaching that there are other religions besides Christianity would have been far too controversial. So I think that the "intelligent design" people are actually right that their views are excluded from the public schools except where they insert them inappropriately in science and history courses, but since they created and maintain that situation themselves, it's hard to feel for them.
Dreamlogic, I did not know about religion not being taught in school, just b/c they dont want to teach other religions. Oh joy. Well I guess thats better than only christianity being taught in school.

And there is a play form of "Inherit the Wind", dunno if it was made before or after the movie. We performed at my high school when iw as in grade 8. I was the boy Timmy & the hot dog vendor! Very important roles. It was quite interesting, I loved the play, and when I started hearing about this debate, I immediately thought about that play.

[ edited by kurya on 2006-03-01 23:47 ]

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