There’s trouble in Prague. No, not big Prague, population, 1.2 million, over there in the Czech Republic, but little Prague, population 2,100 or so, in the Republic of Oklahoma. Did I mention there are 20 churches in little Prague?
Kaitlin Nootbaar, a dead ringer for Taylor Swift, is at the center of the controversy. You see, Kaitlin made the genetic mistake, backed up by hard academic work, of being smart in Prague, Oklahoma. If the School Board is any guide, this otherwise positive characteristic places her in the distinct minority of the locals. Kaitlin is so smart in fact, that she rose to the apogee of her graduating class and was named Valedictorian after a 4-year high school career of straight A’s.
But there will be no diploma for the brainy 18-year-old. Did I mention she is a dead ringer for Taylor Swift? That should count for something. But the mention of the Nootbaar name counts only for contempt, disdain and behind-her-back predictions from the local church folk that Kaitlin might have just punched her ticket to hell. Speaking of hell, that’s what this controversy is all about…HELL!!!
During her Valedictorian speech, Kaitlin uttered that unspeakably unspeakable word, HELL, out loud! In public! She said the word in the context of a Twilight vampire movie, “Eclipse”, where a statement was made, “They ask us now what we want to be and we say who the hell knows.” That’s a logical and reasonable point to bring up to an audience of graduating seniors, the vast majority of whom don’t know what the hell they want to be.
Well, this would never do in the Christ-like community of Prague in the Republic of Oklahoma. Diplomas were to be picked up later at the principal’s office. When Kaitlin asked for her diploma, the principal wouldn’t give it to her unless she apologized on paper to the school board. She refused. Unlike a lot of politicians I know, this is a courageous young lady.
I’m sure the Principal and the board were defending their action by pointing out that there were tender-eared little siblings present. Yes, little darlings who have only heard the word hell (and many much courser outbursts from playmates and mommy and daddy) roughly 7,000 times in their young lives, including nightly on their TV and repeatedly from older brother’s iPod.
Of course Kaitlin’s intemperate and intentional declaration of ‘hell’ should not be confused with the perfectly acceptable variation of ‘hellion’ (though it is ironic that Ms. Nootbaar could be considered a hellion, perfectly acceptable for public consumption, for saying ‘hell’). Hell is a favorite subject of pious pulpit pandering in every church in the U.S. The evangelicals are especially obsessed with that blazing pit of everlasting damnation. Their preachers relentlessly warn their flock of “going to HELL”; they don’t say going to SHIT; they say going to HELL! Or HELL this or HELL that. Maybe a dozen times in one sermon. Let me get this straight. You can say hell, repeatedly in church, but not once at school graduation?
There’s even a Hell, Michigan just outside of Detroit. They hold a rodeo there called “Helluva Rodeo.”
There are some highly interesting sub-plots to this story. Various media sources are telling of calling the school and getting a “no comment” response. To me, it’s hypocritical and cowardly not to give a diploma to a young lady who has certainly earned it and refusing to say why. Just saying ‘hell’ during a speech gives the school or the district absolutely no right to withhold that diploma. The ACLU must be salivating about this one.
Visit Prague High School’s Website. There are several. One is under construction. Go there anyway and go to the one that talks about the school’s athletic programs. On both the one under construction and the athletic site, take a gander at the name of their football and basketball teams. Then look at their mascot. The football team name is the Prague “Red Devils.” The basketball team name is the Prague “Red Devils.” Their mascot is a cute little cartoon ‘Red Devil’ packing a pitchfork and a pointy tale, while wickedly winking at the visitor. You mean to tell me those names and that mascot don’t conjure up the concept of hell for everybody going to a Prague high school football or basketball game?
For her part, Kaitlin is symbolically saying “to hell with Prague and it’s phony concerns.” She’s already left for college where she’ll major in biology and natural science education.
It’s also a fact that her father is a disabled vet who is totally supportive of his daughter’s stand. Gee – the people who never want to be told what to do, telling somebody what to do. The free speech people denying free speech. The adore the military people screwing over the daughter of one who has served in the military.
It should be of no surprise that Prague will give any Republican presidential candidate roughly twice as many votes as the Democratic candidate according to published records. It’s all right-wing, all the time.
The Republican War on Women begins at an early age.
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