Okay, full disclosure up front: I'm not broad-minded enough to understand a lot of what passes for original thought on modern college campuses. I eat at Chili's -- non-ironically.
So when I stumbled upon this piece in the University of New Mexico's Daily Lobo about a student delivering his senior thesis in the form of a dance performance addressing genocide, my reaction was a hybrid of bewilderment and amusement. Then, however, hearing in my head the voice of every sweet-tempered, perpetually optimistic woman in my family tree, I thought, "Hey, it's unorthodox, but at least he wants to address a serious issue." That thought evaporated as I kept reading:
[Aaron] Hooper said he was inspired to do a show about different forms of genocide after a series of suicides by boys who were bullied over the past couple years. Since then, he said the concept grew to be based on “big business” and how the government breaks down individual and clan identities.
“When I look at genocide, it can be an emotional destruction of a people,” he said. “What I was thinking of in my paper and everything is how can we analyze these major genocides that happen that I’m showcasing here, and see the similarities to what is happening in our own country.”
Got that? Darfur is the moral equivalent of feeling bad because you can't afford the stuff in the Restoration Hardware catalog.
The seats in the audience are not bolted to the floor, so Hooper had every other seat removed, so attendees have nobody to sit next to. The choreography is set primarily to Pink Floyd tracks, and as soon as the audience enters, they become emotionally involved in the performance. He said he’s had a few test audiences, a few members of which left because it was uncomfortable.
The purpose of creating this in this intimate space is to make the people in the audience feel a sense of isolation and to feel almost as uncomfortable as the person that is being discriminated against, Hooper said.
Mission accomplished, sir. I'm two states away and I'm uncomfortable reading about it.