There’s been a lot of misinformation about what happened at my alma mater, Villanova, this week. It seems that a gay performance artist was contracted to appear at the university to put on a workshop about ‘life’ or his particular view of it. Which, of course, is what drama is all about.
But even the Augustinians, who are known for their appreciation of scholarship and their respect for the marketplace of ideas, have a limit. This fellow, Tim Miller, has a habit of doing risqué things on stage, like simulating sex (which is also dangerous if the floorboards on your stage are a bit old…)
He says it’s part of the show, but that he wouldn’t have done the “Wildcat Thing” during his performance at the school.
When university president Father Peter Donohoe got wind of the imminent performance from some justifiably irate students at the Newman Center (and affiliated blogs) he made the difficult but entirely defensible decision to cancel the show.
Of course, because the person that he cancelled is gay, it has now become a big, homophobic scandal. No surprise there. Miller himself fanned the flames by calling it evidence of homophobia, and added: “What shameful disrespect he displays for the faculty who were bringing me to Villanova and to the hundreds of other universities, arts centers, and theaters who present my work." Because having sex simulated onstage is such a respectful act, after all.
Fortunately, this letter in the Inquirer today from Nick Brown shows that even though the media and special interest groups will try and spin anything that offends them as bigotry, the truth will “come out.”
And don’t cry for Mr. Miller. Other, more ‘open-minded’ schools like my other alma mater, Bryn Mawr, have stepped into the breach to make sure that “the show will go on.” He’s gotta love all the free publicity.