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Always Offend

The transitive definition of the verb “offend” is — “to cause to feel upset, annoyed or resentful” — and I argue today that when you offend an audience in even the smallest way, you have achieved an important human condition that is often missing in the live Modern American theatre experience.

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From Big Legged to Big Butts

The celebration of the backside of the Black female form — from Saartjie Baartman in 1810 to Fergie in 2010 — is a fascination of cultural values that has been amalgamated in mainstream music for fifty years.  In the 1960’s, the celebratory code phrase for the pleasing female “big butt” was “big legged” and I suppose there’s some anatomical sense to be made from that rising frustration:  If you have big legs, then your butt has to be even bigger to better negotiate your sense of balance.  In the late 1960’s, Blues sensation Albert King immortalized the “Big Legged Woman” in his ovaric song, “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

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Clean Women and Christian Girls

A female friend of mine, fresh on the dating scene after a disengaged marriage, lamented the lack of an available good man.  She is offended by many of the online dating sites where available men list as a requirement a “clean woman” — which, I was told, is a code phrase that translates into a “woman who washes her private parts on a regular basis.”

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Moral Indoctrination and the Church

The Greeks made a bold move and removed the question of morality from the secular world and replaced that mandate with the universal ideal of ethical behavior governed by laws.  We became a people of rules and laws and ethics in the state — making us completely unique in the world — because no other competing species for our time and space is able to cognitively think, make value judgments and create a standard, equitable, criteria for living as citizens that requires we help each other instead of trying to kill each other.  We are ruled by our minds and not our emotional instincts.  We have patterns of written expectation we agree to adhere to in order to get along with each other — and the role of the historic Church in antiquity was to mediate the meticulous, and sometimes tenuous, dyad between a people and their state — and to help regulate an effervescent values system and to negotiate a context for living a moral life in a shapeshifting world.

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Science Without a Moral Core

At 35-years-old, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned in 1964 in Oslo — the day after accepting his Nobel Peace Prize — that we must, as a society, always be wary when science advances without a moral core.

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