City Ethos in the Country

From the Around Town section of The Sakonnet Times (emphasis added):

Theater Direct and Friends of the Arts in Tiverton (FAIT) are looking for singers and musicians to perform in a sultry, swinging cabaret to benefit arts enrichment programs in Tiverton. There are a few slots left for anyone wanting to perform with some of the best talent in the East Bay.

Why must a small town’s theater group put on a sultry production to raise money for a worthy cause? Some folks might reasonably suggest (ahem) that the arts have been losing relevance to the society at large precisely because they are so thoroughly enamored with the sordid fare for which one once had to lurk the city streets. Frankly, I don’t wish to see my fellow townsmen in sultry regalia, and I’m not so sure I want Tiverton arts programs to be thus enriched.
I sure hope that the slight chill this ad gives me results from misinterpreting the import of that acronym — FAIT — and unfairly suspecting that “swinging” is, on some level, meant to be a pun.

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17 years ago

It’s called hyperbole, Justin. It’s fun. My parents and grandparents listened to SWING music, and it didn’t create adulterous behavior in my family. If our parents didn’t find themselves in a SULTRY mood at some point, we wouldn’t exist.
The conservatives I know and work with do not find fun inherently evil. Trust me, having participated in a cabaret/variety show type of event several months ago which was much more politically incorrect than this probably will be, fun (including events like this one in Tiverton) brings people of differing viewpoints together.

Justin Katz
17 years ago

Sorry, Rhody, I’m not buying it. Let’s elide our ages, which I suspect are a bit different: cabaret during our parents’ time might have included Louis Armstrong. Nowadays, we think Chicago. Sultry was something experienced at home with a spouse, not on the stage.
Maybe it’s just that, when I think of community theater, I think of something perhaps available to children, or at least teenagers, and the dark, sexually explicit tone of modern cabaret doesn’t quite seem appropriate. I guess one could still pull off an old-style cabaret, but then we’re back to the word “sultry.”
Apart from that, I can only assert that I’m not against fun. But then, I see nothing hyperbolic in that ad. Nor do I find anything particularly sultry about swing music.
I note, by the way, that my wordplay (aka “fun with words”) elicited precisely that associations that one would expect if I were right to have reservations about a sultry, swinging cabaret.
Of course, a bawdy production would be another matter altogether.

17 years ago

Hey, I went to a Catholic high school and my AP English class read Shakespeare – obviously, the teacher didn’t go into detail about what lines like “She stoops to conquer” and “the milk of human kindness” meant. He didn’t need to. They actually showed us the movie version of “Macbeth” (director, Roman Polanski; executive producer, Hugh Hefner, and there were a few exposed frontals on camera). But this was 1979-80, and we didn’t have to worry about the Gladys Kravitzes of the world raising a big stink. It wouldn’t be shown in a public school today – Falafel Boy, Michelle Malkin, etc. would be all over it.
We may be on opposite sides politically, but I think we share an ability to find a prurient interest in practically anything (and adjust acordingly if necessary). As a friend of mine who works in the newspaper business says, “It takes a dirty mind to produce a clean newspaper.”

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