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To wonder if these Bugsy Malone lines should be edited?

(86 Posts)
stoopedandooped Mon 21-Oct-19 12:32:04

DS is playing the part of Smolsky in the school production of Bugsy Malone and has some lines to learn. Some of them are:

"You Irish potato head!"
"You dumb potato face Irish jerk!"
"I'm going to punch that stupid Irish nose right back to Tipperary"

Would it be unreasonable to suggest to the school that these lines could be construed as offensive and should be tweaked?

Northernlurker Mon 21-Oct-19 12:34:15

It's meant to be offensive. It's set in a historical context. Shall we edit all references to Jews out of Shakespeare too? Or Dickens?

virginpinkmartini Mon 21-Oct-19 12:34:40

Nope. Your job as a parent is to tell your child that you should never use those words IRL, because they are hurtful, and that fictional characters sometimes say nasty things because their character is not very nice. Because it's fiction. Use it as a teaching moment.

virginpinkmartini Mon 21-Oct-19 12:36:12

Sorry, I meant to say YABU

Pinkyyy Mon 21-Oct-19 12:38:17

YABU. They're portraying characters from a certain time in history, that's how they spoke. Explain that to him and that we don't speak that way today.

littlepaddypaws Mon 21-Oct-19 12:38:17

can see your point of view but it is abit ott to contact the school and be 'that parent', do your bit with your dc that's enough.
the irish will always be linked with potatoes because of the famine in the 1840's.

littlepaddypaws Mon 21-Oct-19 12:40:05

by the way would anyone say this in rl nowadays ? i've heard kids saying far worse,

Bloke23 Mon 21-Oct-19 12:44:42

Like people say is from a historical context! Wont be able to say anything to anyone soon with the fear of offending someone

EdWinchester Mon 21-Oct-19 12:46:34

It’s a bit snowflakey of you tbh.

Shakespeare is racist and anti-Semitic, can you imagine schools omitting chunks or Orhello or The Merchant of Venice?

Don’t be ‘that’ parent.

littlepaddypaws Mon 21-Oct-19 12:47:44

we don't speak that way today because it sounds so stupid, i wouldn't say it was offensive though, [threw pearls away years ago]

Breastfeedingworries Mon 21-Oct-19 12:50:18

I wish children threw these lines around! It should be encouraged! Far better that cunt, twat, spaz, fuck knob, joy stick, and letter opener....

Dandelion1993 Mon 21-Oct-19 12:50:54

Things like this should never be altered!

It is a way of showing children how society has changed and how respect for cultures grow, attitudes change and so on.

History is important and film is an incrediblw tool for learning about this.

stoopedandooped Mon 21-Oct-19 12:53:06

They're portraying characters from a certain time in history

Perhaps, but it's a drama production, and it's meant to be a comedy. I suspect the only laughs these lines will get from it's relatively middle-class liberal audience is a nervous one.

In the meantime, I may be able to explain to my own son that the words shouldn't be repeated in the playground, but I won't be able to explain that to all the other kids who will be watching the show, and I'd be surprised if the words aren't repeated in the playground at some point.

JoxerGoesToStuttgart Mon 21-Oct-19 12:53:24

No. We need art to reflect the attitudes of the times it was created in. It’s very important to have that information. It’s part of history and we should always know our history and be able to discuss it. Use this to talk to your DS about attitudes toward someone Irish at the times, why those attitudes existed and why they’re now considered offensive.

Ihaventgottimeforthis Mon 21-Oct-19 12:57:39

Surely the way they are used in the play is meant to be offensive?

They're not compliments, are they.

malteasergeezer Mon 21-Oct-19 13:08:26

YABU. Don't be silly.

Do you want to purge all writing of perceived 'offensiveness'? because of so there won't be much left....not even little old Enid Blyton hmm.

Iago terms Othello a 'black ram' and all kinds of vile racist invective. And that's the point Shakespeare is trying to make - that Iago is a racist.

Ditto Bob Ewell deriding Tom Robinson for being a dirty 'nigger' and winning his court case; the people of Alabama are racist.

I could provide loads more examples but there's no point.

LtJudyHopps Mon 21-Oct-19 13:10:20

I’m sure kids know worse than potato head... I certainly did! If we start censoring little things like this we end up re-writing history.

malteasergeezer Mon 21-Oct-19 13:11:20

AFAIM Bugsy Malone is all about Prohibition isn't it? lots of contraband alcohol and drinking and the like - you could complain about that, OP, or all the gun running during the prohibition years, illegal speakeasies.....the list of crimes is huge. wink.

SoupDragon Mon 21-Oct-19 13:12:20

I can see where you are coming from. I remember being taken aback watching a school production of Hairspray which included the N word.

However, it is historically correct language and fine for a drama production. As others have said, you just explain why these things aren't said any more.

GabsAlot Mon 21-Oct-19 13:12:31

Ffs really? what about all other types of literature-there'll be no classics left if we did that

Sorry youre being completly unreasonable

stoopedandooped Mon 21-Oct-19 13:12:34

We need art to reflect the attitudes of the times it was created in

What a load of bollocks. It's a school play. It's meant to be an enjoyable comedy, not a historical reflection. If they were studying the play academically, that might be different, but they're not.

I'd put it in the same context as editing the dated sexism out of Enid Blyton so that children can just enjoy the stories without getting (justifiably) frustrated with the language.

easyandy101 Mon 21-Oct-19 13:13:13

Luckily it's a comedy

If it was a tragedy they were playing you'd probably be left with the difficult conversation about how it's not okay to murder people

Drabarni Mon 21-Oct-19 13:13:45

This is a wind up grin
Yeh, let's change a classic script that schools have performed for eons, for your sunflower.
Heard it all, now.
What about tallulah's song, too much for you. never ming I'm sure they'll rewrite it for you grin

here's a grip (catch)

LucileDuplessis Mon 21-Oct-19 13:14:46

Going against the grain but I agree with you OP. I wouldn't feel comfortable with my child saying these lines.

How old is your DS? If he is primary age then I'd definitely have a quick word with the teacher as the kids aren't really old enough to understand 'historical content' IMO. Secondary - I'd probably leave it.

Dahlietta Mon 21-Oct-19 13:15:11

Do you want to purge all writing of perceived 'offensiveness'? because of so there won't be much left....not even little old Enid Blyton

Actually, little old Enid Blyton was censored several years ago!

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