Blaming Ralphie and the Red Rider BB Gun


PDA






ReadyontheRight
October 22, 2003, 09:21 AM
Here's a letter I received when I asked why a local theater had canceled their planned production of "A Christmas Story"

"Dear Stages Theatre Supporter,

Over the past week I have been struggling with an artistic and ethical dilemma that has led to my decision to substitute A Christmas Story with A Little House Christmas. I hope, after reading further you will understand and support my decision.

As you may know, the central character in A Christmas Story, Ralphie wants a BB gun for Christmas. He goes through elaborate schemes to convince his parents to buy him the gun. At the same time, he and his friends are subjected to serious abuse by the school bully. The climax of the play happens when Ralphie overcomes the bully by beating him into submission.

All of this is told with great humor and nostalgia, making the film a holiday classic. But, given the current climate and recent events in Minnesota, I don’t think the messages found in the play are appropriate for our young audience members.

At a time when Minnesota is grieving for two young people who were victims of gun violence in their school, there is nothing fun about a boy who has been bullied, resorting to violence to solve his conflicts.

Add to that new gun laws in Minnesota, the war on terrorism, suicide bombings in parts of the world and we have a culture that is inundated with violence. All the nostalgic humor in the world can’t mask the underlying effects of gun use and violence.

Back when the decision was made to produce A Christmas Story Minnesota didn’t have a “Conceal and Carry” gun law, there was not tragedy in Cold Spring Minnesota, and a nostalgic play seemed a good idea. Today I see the world differently.

While we very well may decide to produce a play about gun use or about bullying, it will be done deliberately and parents will be given the resources to use the place as a teaching tool for their children. As an artist, I am very cautious about what subliminal messages are coming through to our children. There are times to challenge and push our audiences, but I don’t see this play as the appropriate vehicle.

It is my hope, even if you are disappointed in my decision and disagree with the rational I have used, that you will continue supporting Stages Theatre Company and consider attending a performance of A Little House Christmas. This decision was not an easy one and be assured it was made with the very best of intentions.

Sincerely,


Steve Barberio
Artistic Director"

Also -- This place is supported by our tax dollars.

From their website:

http://www.stagestheatre.org/index.htm

"This activity is made possible by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature. In addition, this activity is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts."

Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?

:barf: :fire: :cuss: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :uhoh:

If you enjoyed reading about "Blaming Ralphie and the Red Rider BB Gun" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Greg L
October 22, 2003, 09:31 AM
:cuss: Twit.

I think a letter in response is in order pointing out that you don't appreciate his actions no matter what the reason. And that no, you won't be coming to see the other play nor will you making any further contributions to their theater. A copy of the letter to the people who make the grants may not be a bad idea later (although it sounds like they are the type of people who would encourage him rather than chew him out over it so it may do more harm than good).

On the good news front A Christmas Story is out on DVD with a 20th anniversary edition.

Greg

jrhead75
October 22, 2003, 10:08 AM
I agree with, and second Greg's comments above.

Henry Bowman
October 22, 2003, 11:28 AM
While we very well may decide to produce a play about gun use or about bullying, it will be done deliberately and parents will be given the resources to use the place as a teaching tool for their children.
In other words, it will be anti-gun.
As an artist, I am very cautious about what subliminal messages are coming through to our children.
They must fir my anti-freedom agenda.

Idiots. :fire:

ReadyontheRight
October 22, 2003, 11:58 AM
I think a letter in response is in order pointing out that you don't appreciate his actions no matter what the reason.

Oh yeah -- He's getting a letter back. I'm trying to frame it in a language this bliss ninny can understand. He's probably beyond hope, but I am going to send copies to my congress critters and as far up the chain as I can get with any organization "granting" our $$$ on this garbage.

Autolite
October 22, 2003, 07:00 PM
Maybe the guy's just worried that some kid will see the show and "shoot their eye out" ...

rayra
October 22, 2003, 07:21 PM
Tell the guy his personal politics have ZIP to do with a publicly-funded enterprise.
Tell him it is not his sole decision (because of that public funding) what to include or disinclude.
Tell him he is confusing publicly-funded holiday performances with Activist Street Theatre.
Tell him you will be writing letters of your own, urging those in charge of the purse-strings to take a sharper interest in how your tax dollars are allocated / spent, AND that it is your easy decision to urge the appropriate departments / individuals to REPLACE HIM with someone who won't attempt to to play 'Thought Police' with a Christmas Pageant.

son of a gun
October 22, 2003, 08:04 PM
It was funny how in the movie his dad supervises the loading, so BB's aren't on the floor but doesn't supervise the shooting.

Cacique500
October 22, 2003, 08:19 PM
:cuss:

The entire family sits down *every* Christmas and watches "A Christmas Story".

We even bought dad a Red Rider BB gun last Christmas (and then gave him his 'real' present...Ruger 10/22)

"As you may know, the central character in A Christmas Story, Ralphie wants a BB gun for Christmas. He goes through elaborate schemes to convince his parents to buy him the gun. At the same time, he and his friends are subjected to serious abuse by the school bully. The climax of the play happens when Ralphie overcomes the bully by beating him into submission."

Is he trying to link being beaten up by a bully in school (and who here hasn't been) to getting a bb gun? Is he implying that little Ralphie is going to shoot the bully now to get him back? :barf:

Write letters and get this bliss ninny removed from his little theater. Maybe he needs to spend more time out in the real world.

Mr Kablammo
October 22, 2003, 08:25 PM
This is pathetic. I am ready to cry. Where are we going? To be slaves of the ChiComs or Osama bin Laden. A generation of she-boys, frightened of their own existance and unable to wield power with responsibility or wisdom...%^*%&$

sm
October 22, 2003, 08:33 PM
The theatre letter is a perfect example of a "sympathetic discharge".

BluesBear
October 22, 2003, 08:37 PM
Write this Ninny a polite letter and thank him for standing true to his beliefs.

And then inform him that you are also standing by your beliefs, 1st & 2nd ammendments, and your family and X number of your friends/relatives who were looking forward to seeing this fine play will not be attending and thus the $X.xx you had earmarked for this will now be spent somewhere else.

You might even say that the money saved by NOT seeing his replacement play will enable you to buy the 20th Anniversary DVD of A Christmas Story AND have plenty enough left over for your new CCW holsters.
:evil:

Standing Wolf
October 22, 2003, 08:45 PM
Add to that new gun laws in Minnesota...

Somebody needs to tell Minnesota's leftist extremists to skip the whining and snivelling: they've been outdone by Missouri's.

ReadyontheRight
October 22, 2003, 08:52 PM
Somebody needs to tell Minnesota's leftist extremists to skip the whining and snivelling

But that's all they're good at. :p

Excellent reply ideas THR-ers!

Cacique500
October 22, 2003, 09:03 PM
I had to email this ninny...

Email:

I just read Mr. Steve Barberio's reasons for not putting on the play "A Christmas Story".

I cannot describe the anger I'm feeling after reading his letter to the theater supporters. What a load of one sided artistic stupidity.

He completely misses what the story is about. Completely misses it. Not even close.

It's not a story about guns, its not a story about bullys, it has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism. And I don't like the inference in his letter to the main character getting a bb gun after he has been bullied - Mr. Barberio's been watching too much TV. He's obviously an anti gun person who regularly got the crap beaten out of him in school. His parents most likely did not get him a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas, because they KNEW he'd shoot his eye out. That's the only explanation.

A Christmas Story is about how simple life was back in the 50's in Indiana. Its about a child wanting something so bad for Christmas he'd do almost anything to get it. Its about childhood. Its about growing up. Hell, that was my childhood growing up in the 70's. I never got a bb gun, never wanted one. But substitute 'bb gun' with 'anything the child wants' and thats the theme of the story. Who wasn't picked on by a bully in school? Its a fact of life Mr. Barberio - its not an evil plot that subliminally suggests to your young audience members that they should go out and bully people or, as you subtely infer, go after them with a bb gun to settle the score.

Mr. Barberio is lucky I don't live in his area and attend his theater, or his source of PUBLIC FUNDING would be getting some serious complaints about his artistic interpretation of what is appropriate for his young audience.

Mr. Barberio stated "All the nostalgic humor in the world can’t mask the underlying effects of gun use and violence." Yeah...and Santa beats his reindeer with the reins on his sleigh. How violent and shocking... How about the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer? Oh wait...that has the little Island of Misfit Toys...that might offend real life orphans. Frosty the Snowman...nope...All that damned global warming melted his a$$. Why don't you just skip Christmas themes altogether? Do something more realistic like "Bowling for Columbine"?

Get with The Program Steve...its a friggin Christmas Classic, not some NRA right wing sponsered play.

Merry Christmas,

[name]
Richmond, VA

[Edit: Did you see this guys picture on the website? - It speaks volumes...]

Brian Dale
October 22, 2003, 09:05 PM
Dear Mr. Barberio,

I appreciate your making your position clear. I do not agree that the message of the original play -- that a normal, good boy can learn that he is capable of responding to a bully's abuse in the language that the bully can comprehend -- is only "nostalgic," as you describe it. I believe you when you state that you decided to switch plays with "only the best of intentions." Please refresh my memory: the road to Hell is paved with what?

I regret to tell you that, apart from the public funds over which I have no control, I will not support your endeavors at present. If you have replaced a play that teaches important lessons "with great humor and nostalgia" because you "don’t think the messages found in the play are appropriate for our young audience members," then what does your art serve?

Sincerely Disappointed,

SteelyDan
October 22, 2003, 09:07 PM
I heard about this on a local radio station last week. Fortunately, the host was ridiculing Mr. Barberio for all the right reasons.

rayra
October 22, 2003, 09:07 PM
It was funny how in the movie his dad supervises the loading, so BB's aren't on the floor but doesn't supervise the shooting.
Never stepped on one on the kitchen floor while barefoot, eh?

popeye
October 22, 2003, 11:13 PM
Gene Sheppard wrote "A Chrisrmas Story". His boyhood Indiana home is about half a mile from me in the city which was portrayed in the movie. His stories (which he told on radio) were popular in the 50's. They mirror my boyhood life, mom at home, clankin furnace, and all. Too bad someone views simpler times with virtually zero crime as somehow a bad influence. How much worse have these liberal morons made our lives over the last 40 years, that they can defame my past.

Black92LX
October 23, 2003, 12:07 AM
slightly off topic but it brings up a rant

what is wrong with people today???? i had this discusion with a coworker just yesterday. that everyone is so scared of guns they are willing to give up their constitutional freedoms to "feel" safe.

I don't know about you all but i am willing to die for any and all of my constitutional freedoms. you will have to take my life bfore, you take my guns, my speech, my religion or anything granted to me by The United States Constitution:cuss:

lawcox
October 23, 2003, 12:32 AM
"Back when the decision was made to produce A Christmas Story Minnesota didn’t have a “Conceal and Carry” gun law, there was not tragedy in Cold Spring Minnesota, and a nostalgic play seemed a good idea. Today I see the world differently."



He sees the world differently because it's not just the criminals carrying concealed around him, but honest law abiding citizens! Oh no!!! :what:

NewShooter78
October 23, 2003, 09:19 AM
How does this guy make the jump from Ralphie being bullied to his want of the Red Rider BB gun (with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time). This is my all time favorite Christmas movie. I watch it like 50 times during the holidays.

In the story Ralphie wants to be like his hero Red Rider, thus the want of the bb gun. He doesn't want it so he can shoot up the neighborhood.

In the story Ralphie and his friends are bullied, and after the umpteenth time, Ralphie had had enough and snaps on the bully. He didn't try and kill him, nor did he ever express an though of such a thing in the story.

These two parts of the story are not intertwined, nor are they in any way a cause and effect situation. So where is this inference that this guy is worried about?

A Christmas story is about a simpler life, and the nostalgia one feels for their childhood. Not about guns and violence.

enichols
October 23, 2003, 10:11 AM
As you may know, the central character in A Christmas Story, Ralphie wants a BB gun for Christmas. He goes through elaborate schemes to convince his parents to buy him the gun. At the same time, he and his friends are subjected to serious abuse by the school bully. The climax of the play happens when Ralphie overcomes the bully by beating him into submission.

Translation: Those evil, dastardly guns make violent beasts out of even the most docile, innocent children.
Sounds like a bunch of emasculated tripe to me.

2dogs
October 23, 2003, 11:19 AM
A Christmas story is about a simpler life, and the nostalgia one feels for their childhood

And danged funny- still lol after seeing it multiple times. I'm crackin' up thinking of the tire changing scene.:D :D :D

Ed Straker
October 23, 2003, 11:32 AM
Thank you, Steve - I now see the error of my ways. Why, I should have taken the Marlin Glenfield 60 I got for Christmas, and shot the bully with it. Where were you when I was 12? :banghead: :cuss:

Autolite
October 23, 2003, 12:02 PM
for Mr Barberio's decision. I'm thinkin' that perhaps this liberal is a closet gun lover who was denied his Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas. The scars left by the "BB Gun Denial Syndrome" run deep and can warp a persons sensibilities for life ...

Nightfall
October 23, 2003, 02:45 PM
Don't you all understand? Although not as powerful as the mind rays emitted by other guns (and far below the power of the dreaded 'assault weapon' *Imperial march from Star Wars plays*), BB guns still have enough output to affect the undeveloped mind of youngsters. This brave man is simply taking a much needed stand against the control that Red Rider BB guns have exercised over children for generations! Those weapons of mass destruction are nothing more than a gate way drug to the gun culture and *gasp* CCW!

WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?! *collapses sobbing* :neener:

Big_R
October 23, 2003, 03:29 PM
I find it interesting they won't put on this play, but will put on Huckelberry Finn. I wonder how many F-bombs will be dropped in that one. There were a lot in the book, but I'm guessing it has been sanitized for public consumption. This is precisely why every "artsy" person I'm forced to deal with annoys the crap out of me. They do too much feeling and not enough thinking.

Ryan

wingnutx
October 23, 2003, 07:18 PM
I say march down there and give this idiot a case of soap-poisoning.

Balog
October 23, 2003, 07:21 PM
Big_R: uhhh, what? Nobody said "F*ck" in Huck Finn. Do you mean N-bombs?

S_O_Laban
October 24, 2003, 02:56 AM
Wingnutx, LOL:D I'd say that Mr. Barberio is already suffering from soap poisioning. He appears to be "blind as a bat"

c_yeager
October 24, 2003, 03:13 AM
A Little House Christmas.

While they may not be a central theme i believe firearms have played a heafty role in the lives of every character ever to grace the pages of all things "little house". I suppose that hadnt even occured to this rocket scientist though.

If you enjoyed reading about "Blaming Ralphie and the Red Rider BB Gun" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!