Today’s Inside Higher Ed prominently features an article about faculty complaining about The Vagina Monologues being in part performed at a year’s end celebration ceremony coinciding with commencement at Mercer County Community College.
Surely this news is a kick in the pants that we need to consider what really constitutes acceptable ceremonial material. Having alumni speak at a graduation and hitting people over the head with the need to contribute financially as soon as the graduates disrobe or politicians announce all the wonderful nuts they have squirreled away in their budget to give to higher education–are these topics and presentations not ones that bring discomfort to the faculty, students, parents, and others who are assembled in the bleachers or on garden furniture?
Or how about all the corny advice being flung the prospective graduates’ way? Do they really need to know that they must persevere and go out and do great things? How about just working on being a decent person and considerate of others and finding moments of joy in life as they find a way to pay their bills.
The dangers of attending a graduation include also what will be served afterward. Foie gras might not sit very well with animal rights activists, even people who just love animals, or have digestive problems. How would you feel if you were a vegetarian and encountered veal fingers after having listened to the need for students to take America back in the right direction? Or what if you are diabetic and must drink the sweet punch, as you are very thirsty after a temperature-hot ceremony?
I have not mentioned God. After all, it appears to be a done deal that s/he is invisible as far as graduation ceremonies are concerned. But could or should we reconsider and let it all hang out when it comes to expressing our spirituality in some way at graduation? After all, if we are bringing the vagina out into the open, someone should have the balls and see to it that we begin to either redefine the purpose of a graduation ceremony and the accompanying learning and entertainment experience, or cancel the whole thing.
Pomp and Circumstance! Obviously patriarchal and it was about damn time the Vagina took a victory lap!