Life Imitates ‘Parks’: Texas School District Cancels A Play About Gay Penguins After Local Uproar

A bunch of Texan fuddy-duddies have their chaps and holsters all in a bunch this week after a University of Texas student tried to bring her play about two male penguins raising a hatchling together to Austin area elementary schools. In response to this rabble-rousing, the Austin school district has canceled the play, marking the first time the district has ever done so to a UT student performance. Why, you ask? Well, first, let’s go to the Austin school district fine arts director, who said…

“The subject matter communicated in the play is a topic that Austin ISD believes should be examined by parents/guardians who will discuss with their elementary school age children at a time deemed appropriate by the parents/guardians,” Greg Goodman, the Austin school district’s fine arts director, said in a letter to UT’s Coleman Jennings, the head of the university’s youth theater program.

… which is the more polite way of saying:

“We define marriage very clearly in the state of Texas. So if you have a play that tries to push and promote a different marriage definition, which is clearly illegal, it leads students to ask questions about it, and it leads to the discussion of sex,” [president of the conservative Texas Values group, Jonathan] Saenz said.

To recap: The Austin school district canceled a play about two male penguins raising a baby (WHICH ACTUALLY HAPPENED, BTW), because they were concerned that the play — which was about penguins, who have a number of barriers to a state-recognized marriage that rank ahead of “Might be gay” — would promote a non-government-sanctioned form of marriage in Texas, and then all the kids who saw it would immediately be filled with an insatiable craving for knowledge about butt stuff. Because why promote an open discussion about an important social issue when you can jam cotton in kids’ ears and bury their heads in the sand, you know? That’s typically a great long-term solution.

Anyway, if all this sounds really familiar, it’s because it bears a striking resemblance to the plot of the Parks & Recreation episode “Pawnee Zoo,” where Leslie stages a wedding for two penguins who turn out to be gay and then the whole town spins right off the planet (as it is wont to do) as it deals with the fallout. The only real difference is that the episode of Parks is funny and lighthearted, like Caddyshack, and this real life situation is sad and awful, like Caddyshack 2.

In summation, penguins are the most divisive animals of our time. I mean, just look at this troublemaker.

Thanks to Brandon for the tip