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Haruko Haruhara On February - 2 - 2011

A local theatre is putting on a production of “The Mikado,” a Gilbert and Sullivan Savoy opera from the 1880s. The piece contains a brief line in which the Japanese executioner Ko-Ko talks about executing someone.

Originally, this line contained the “N-word” and references to British political figures who are pretty obscure today. So productions over the years have altered the line, and it has become a tradition to change the line to make it more topical and contemporary.

At the local theatre, they changed the line to a crack about executing Sarah Palin.

The line goes:

“That crazy Sarah Palin needs a psychoanalyst / She never would be missed, no, she never would be missed.”

They also made jokes in the play about executing people who drink expensive frappuccinos from Starbucks; Montana drivers who don’t understand how to navigate roundabouts, members of the audience and the oboist in the orchestra.
Some people attending the play objected and began a letter-writing campaign. The word got out and numerous articles were written on right-wing blogs about it (Honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on Glenn Beck). Some people have been screaming that no taxpayer dollars should be going to this theatre in any way, shape or form, and that if the theatre is receiving tax dollars, they should be cut.

Several right-wing bloggers made a big fuss about why would children be taught to joke about killing Sarah Palin. Well, the play took place at a children’s theatre, but these people obviously don’t know much about theatre. The Mikado is most assuredly NOT a children’s play. It is a very difficult opera. The theatre just happens to have “children” in its name. Some of these bloggers spent zero time researching the topic they were writing about.

Secondly, as far as making a joke about executing Sarah Palin … it’s a toughie. The play director said Tucson never even once crossed his mind. He says he picked her simply because she is a well-known celebrity. One blogger supporting the play likened The Mikado to a Roadrunner cartoon of its time.

I think before Tucson, I would’ve just shrugged it off as harmless satire. But, I had to ask myself an honest question … what would have been my visceral reaction if instead of Sarah Palin added to the line, they added Barack Obama or Michelle Obama or Nancy Pelosi to the line.

I have to be honest, that probably would’ve bothered me. After Tucson, these sorts of jokes — even if it is harmless satire — don’t seem so harmless anymore, as much as I despise Sarah Palin.

This kind of stuff just continues to feed her “woe is me” self-victimization machine and it continues to give grist to her supporters that she is some kind of martyr.

The run of “The Mikado” ended, so they never took the line out. By the time the controversy flared up, the show was over. The theatre received a couple of death threats over the line in the opera. The theatre company director apologized and the whole fuss simmered down pretty quickly.

17 Responses so far.

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  1. jdmn17 says:

    I don’t have any love for her highness. At the same time I don’t wish anyone be taken out by some crackpot(s) who found their message on the internet. So I am torn. I think she deserves some of her own medicine, esp since she plays the victim card repeatedly and her fans continue to shower her with adulation. The only good I see is that her fan base is shrinking. It will probably freeze at a hard core level but that’s not enough to do anything more than make noise if she persists in positioning herself as a candidate. I also believe the right wing power base is tiring of her and once they see she’s maxed out her welcome they’ll find a way to discredit her and she’ll be left to the chicken buffet circuit. She’ll still make money but I think her star has peaked. Which brings me back to why AH continues to pummel her readers with more new stories about her. I did note in passing today that the new posts there about her are drawing very few responses so far. Perhaps that’s moderation but I’m guessing that the defection is hitting them hard.

    As for Sara, I made a promise to myself to contribute as little as possible to her story this month. So far I’m doing pretty well. Today was an aberration to post this.

  2. Questinia says:

    There has been a substantial rise in death threats against Sarah Palin since Tucson. The director was being trite and juvenile. He should have been more surreal and used something like John Boehner’s tan or Mitch McConnell’s double dewlap.

  3. Chernynkaya says:

    That looks like a pretty good production. I like G&S. My oldest friend was in some D’oyly Carte revivals, and the director was BLIND! Hilarius!

    Anyway, you are right about the Palin reference. I try to be intellectually honest and call myself out when I behave hypocritically--and this is a prime example.

    • Khirad says:

      Besides, there’s so many other parts in that play to skewer her. It’s a fundamental problem though. Can anyone use that line to joke anymore?

      I mean, when it is the oboist and audience members I think you know it’s clearly a joke, but about now it’s probably best to stay away from political figures for a while.

    • Haruko Haruhara says:

      Oh, that’s not the local production. That’s just a clip I found on YouTube. But, that is the part of the play that caused the big fuss locally.

    • KB723 says:

      Cher, I have always wondered if anyone else ever noticed that there is NO clip in that rifle???

      • Haruko Haruhara says:

        I hope there’s no clip. She’s standing in an army tent!

        • KB723 says:

          Haruko I did not know that you published here… Why do you still bother with HP???

          • Haruko Haruhara says:

            Oh, just for some of the people who still post there. The moderation is so heavy now that there’s not much point in posting much there anymore.

            There’s been a lot of petty drama within the HP forums the past few months that kept me away; hopefully it is all dying down now.

          • Haruko Haruhara says:

            for some reason, my post went twice.

            • KB723 says:

              Hakuro…. I was LunchMoney… I remember the cat… It was either you or Fab that posted it… I am glad not to be there anymore… The underlying monkey business between posters never made any sense to me….

              AdLib did spend some time once giving me a larger overview of HP….

            • Haruko Haruhara says:

              Are you Lunch Money?

              I don’t remember an evil cat video!

            • KB723 says:

              Hakuro…. You told me on New Years eve that you were an outlaw there…. Even posted some [email protected] yotube vid of some evil Cat…. I miss some of my friends back there… I need someone that still has an account there, to let them know where I am these days….

  4. SueInCa says:

    I agree she should be left out, the only problem is she keeps insinuating herself into the public discourse and not in a good way. Her victim attitude is a joke at best. She had no problem whipping up audiences during the general election and whether or not she and her followers can be truly honest is not the rest of the world’s problem.

    When you dish it out, you should be able to take it, but we all know the right is way too thin skinned.

  5. TakeInAPlay says:

    I would also have issue if the target was Obama or Nancy Pelosi. But the difference is, they have already been threatened on multiple occasions. I haven’t heard of any violent threat against Sarah Palin although she has been linked, justly or not, to violent acts against others. As far as threatening th oboist in the orchestra, I think that’s a given. I mean seriously, have you heard him play? Not a stretch.

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