Monday, May 16, 2005

Girl, 12 Spells Lesbian Correctly; Banned From Kansas

When it came to writing papers in school, we have to say we were in a class by ourselves. And our teaches would probably have agreed--except for different reasons. One time we turned two pages of notes into a ten page paper on slime molds. Unfortunately the topic was the Civil War, but hey, who can contain genius? How many innocent slime molds were killed at Bull Run? At Spotsylvania? At Gettysburg? We rest our case.

Another time we combined the edge of your seat, chilling suspense of an episode of the The Twilight Zone with a report on weather fronts. The teacher, apparently no fan of science fiction, after commenting on our lack of seriousness, made us read it to the class. It actually got applause. We're not sure that was the response he was looking for. But no matter, we tell you this to establish what we remember anyway, as a rather stellar career as a student author, and to explain why we were a little jealous when we read this.

For all our prowess with the pen, our fame ended at the school house door. Now we find out that some pimpled 12 year old writes a paper about Ellen DeGeneres in Massachusetts and people as far away as Kansas get so upset about it they decide to picket the school. OK, so they didn't actually read the paper, but if it was about Ellen Degeneres it had to have the word lesbian in it somewhere and that was good enough. All we used to get were sighs, head shakes and trips to the counselor. This kid's got a major demonstration on her hands.

A Kansas-based evangelical group plans to picket Englesby Intermediate School June 6 after a 12 year old student won an essay contest writing about openly gay comedienne Ellen DeGeneres.

Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps acknowledged that an invective-laden leaflet including a photo of the Englesby School, a grotesque devil and a diatribe attacking the staff, labeling it a "homo-fascist regime," came from his church, but would not say how he knew about the essay. “We receive e-mails from all over the country informing us of these things,” he said. "A lot of our members don't have lives."

Asked about the incendiary nature of the epithet-laced flier distributed to area residents, Phelps said, “I preach it like American preachers preached in days gone by. Well, at least before they went to jail.”

An initial complaint about the essay was lodged with the school by Bernadette and Dino Theodore. "People are upset. The paper that was submitted for approval had nothing to do with women in history. It had nothing to do with the intention of the assignment. But their view seems to be that she's a woman in history." Said Mr. Theodore.

When asked to explain why Ellen DeGeneres couldn't be a women in history he responded, "Well, I think you have to be dead or something don't you?" Asked if he had read the student's essay, Theodore said he "didn't read so good. My wife does most of the reading. She's got a high school diploma."

The Theodores said they knew nothing about the flier or the planned demonstration. “I solemnly swear that it didn't come from us,” said Mrs. Theodore. “I'm not a hateful person, but I did tell my cousin Clyde. He's pretty hateful.”

The Theodores contend that the essay was reviewed by school Principal Robert Young, and Curriculum Coordinator Dr. Linda Trouville.

Young did not return calls to his office. A secretary said that all inquiries had to go through the administration office. "Ask for the Assistant Superintendent in charge of whack job relations," she said.

No comments: