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That's a broad brush you have there.

There is plenty of bigotry in the South (yes, more than enough), but I suspect there is enough in the US to reach all the way to the Northeast. And there is and always has been tolerance and understanding and even love and appreciation, too (although, of course, never really enough, and probably never really enough up there in the Northeast either). I attended a boys' prep school in the heart of the South in the 1960s. There were several boys and at least one teacher who were fairly obviously gay, but as far as I could ever tell, they were treated exactly like everyone else and I never heard a single negative word spoken to or about any of them.


I was listening to Sondheim discuss this the other day on NPR. The school wasn't just a high school, it was for younger kids as well. He said he was there when he was 10 and 11. Said that he went there when his parents divorced, it was supposed to provide structure for a kid whose home had broken up. He said a number of kids back then went for that reason. He said it was really good for him and very helpful.

Personally I'd rather keep my kid at home where I could see to him in a stressful situation like that, but then I don't live in the 50's.


Mark, I'm sad to admit that I'm known here and in real life for painting with a broad brush. I was thinking of that specific case in Mississippi but right after I posted this I thought, Watch, someone's going to find an incident like it that happened in the Northeast. And the fact is that it was students at a school in Massachusetts this year who bullied a girl to the point that she killed herself and the reason for it was pure meanness. Cruelty is not regional.

muddy, thanks for the heads up on the Sondheim interview. I'm listening to it right now.


I'd like to see a play including that exchange between Father Sondheim and son. I'll bet Neil Simon could build around it.

M George Stevenson

To mention Neil Simon, a competent play constructor and joke writer, but nothing more, when speaking of Sondheim, whom I wish I couldn't hero-worship, is sacrilege. I don't say this because I hate Neil Simon. I say this because I saw a YouTube of a master class that Sondheim gave on a scene from Sweeney Todd (his masterpiece and, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Tim Page, one of the 25 greatest works of the 20th century) in which he discussed his intentions for the aria in which Sweeney regains the tools of his trade. The level of deep thought and conscious shaping of both the music and the lyrics to reveal character make it impossible to deny Sondheim his place in the Pantheon, despite the Upper East Sideish limitations of his rather Woody Allen-ish oeuvre.


I don't know much about NYMA beyond its name but I do remember ads for it in the 1960s and 1970s. They talked about teaching discipline and study skills, leadership training, etc. But I remember that discipline came first. These ads were on TV (local channels) and in newspapers.

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