By Harry Welty
Published Feb. 28, 2002
One of the biggest problems we face in politics is the refusal
of so many people to face hard and honest truth. Too many of us find comfort in
old wives' tales and soft, fuzzy euphemism.
Slavery was "the peculiar institution." Our African American brethren
were successively darkies, colored, and Negroes. Prostitution was white slavery.
Drunks were impaired. Sexual predators were ladies' men.
We rely on euphemism because words have the power to make us blush. One of the
most embarrassing, awful and terrifying of these, pardon my reticence, is the
"V" word. Even I can't bring myself to spell it out. And guess what?
We will soon have to endure a theatrical production (well researched I have no
doubt) all about V. Don't look for me in the audience.
To give the V production some credit, it's meant to get a rise out of us (that's
the peculiar charm of V) and force us to face some unpleasant truths. We should
expect the production to be political; a thinly veiled attempt to justify V in
all manner of compromising situations.
While I won't be there, this production will find an audience. So many of
us are preoccupied with V that its not surprising someone would attempt to turn
the subject into a theatrical production. Its commercial appeal is undeniable.
So is its prurience.
What kind of reception will this V diversion receive in Minnesota?
It's true that Minnesota has a laid back and tolerant reputation, a legacy of
our Scandinavian forebears. They brought us saunas followed by a skinny-dip
chaser in icy, cold lakes. But this relaxed legacy has been thoroughly smothered
by more puritan Midwestern values. Decent Minnesotans today will be squeamish
about any and all V related discussions whether frank or humorous. And lets be
honest. A V is not much to look at. Even when shaved bald many of us recoil at
the sight. It's hard to imagine how V could ever have become a fit subject for
The public's reaction to this very public airing of V will no doubt be an odd
mix of fascination and revulsion. It will be particularly interesting to see the
reaction of young people, so quick to embrace the liberation of V only later to
discover the dark side. These same young people must now come to grips with the
high cost of a V education.
It's been an education for all of us! This V monologue, diatribe, plaint, boast,
roast, whatever you call it, will force us to face, quite graphically, sex and
sexuality. I can just imagine what this stage production will highlight. How
about V from the perspective of a callow band of sixteen-year old males eager to
cast off their virginity? Picture them waiting outside a house where their
fearless leader is about to become a man. Imagine them bragging and boasting and
high-fiving their intrepid leader after his conquest. What is a V fan to make of
this? It sounds like a scene from National Geographic about juvenile chimps pant
hooting over the success of their alpha male buddy. Believe it or not, this is
part of the V story. I read it in a review.
Perhaps we should not be surprised that with this great abundance of
testosterone V should recommend the legalization of prostitution. V and tax
revenue. How charming! Sexual exploitation made legal. The new welfare to work.
V could help support the state with a brand new service tax? By all means, let's
keep our budget balanced.
And how about V and the Philippine prostitutes? This was also in the review I
read; about a narcissistic stud too good looking to pay for sex. Why does this
not surprise? Anticipating such episodes in the V production will surely
frighten some of us away. Brutal honesty, even when garbed in apparent good
humor, is not everybody's cup of tea.
There is nothing noble in my timid approach to this subject. All of us,
our young people in particular, need a healthy dose of candor where V is
concerned. Once we get past the novelty of V, the entertainment value will
diminish, even become tiresome. This production will help us to cast off our
adolescent insecurities and allow us to mature. We should be grateful that V
will make it to the stage. V himself would tell us that our reluctance to face
the truth boldly is nothing more than mental weakness brought about by our
slavish devotion to religious superstition.
Thank you Governor V for your body slam candor. Jesse Ventura, the musical.
Coming to a theater near you. Just like Peter Pan.
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