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Subject: Re: ENO's Magnificent "Death in Venice" (DVD)
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:17:06 -0500
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"So . . . how did you like the opera? " he asked, laughingly.  

Frank's bringing up the topic of how opera brings up sexual improprieties and puts them 
stage center in a way that most or many would find uncomfortable in a discussion (so, do 
all of the arts, by the way), is already making for an interesting conversation.  

Sexual awareness, and the ability to act on it, seems to come to everyone at no particularly 
specified time in our lives.  When it occurs in children, it can be - and frequently is - not an 
easy things to deal with.  

I remember in college the news story of a young girl - 9 or 10 - who had offered sexual 
favors to her teacher for an "A" on her report card.  The teacher, a man, refused multiple 
offers from the child and, in an unwise move to protect her, mentioned nothing to either the 
authorities or her parents.   Eventually, the girl, having heard numerous stories of child 
abuse on the news, accused her teacher of repeated sexual acts, describing in graphic 
detail, what he had done to her.  The teacher was sentenced and imprisoned, his wife 
divorced him, he was stripped of parental privileges, and, as a convicted child rapist earning 
him "bottom feeder" status, was routinely violently beaten and sexually abused.  

The girl, as a teenager, had a "religious experience," came forward with the truth.  The 
teacher was eventually exonerated, released, but out into the world he went, branded as a 
child rapist.  His wife, had remarried a lovely man who adopted his children who no longer 
even knew who he was.  Oh, and he was, for all practical purposes, now unemployable.  

As uncomfortable and horrific as that story is, how does society address it?  Do we punish 
the child?  She was a little girl, yet willfully destroyed more lives than she could have 
imagined, causing immeasurable harm to a man and his family who'd done nothing more 
than try to help her.  Ii recall reading how the teacher, cleared of all charges, could not 
even find a place to live, as people weren't sure their children were safe around him.  
Things may be slightly improved, but 40 years ago, that teacher essentially received a 
death sentence.  

We don't need to invent the gods to help us with Greek or operatic tragedy.  We're pretty 
good at it ourselves.  

p.  (Who promises his next post will be back on opera!)

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