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Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Very Special Episode of Glee

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Dave has his recap here, but I missed the very special episode of Glee that addressed anti-gay bullying—because I make a point to miss every episode of Glee (and every episode seems to be a very special episode). Anyway it sure sounds like they screwed the pooch.

When Mr. Schuester, the glee club advisor, sees Kurt being hit by a member of the football team, the teacher does not discipline the bully himself or go to the principal's office to make sure the bullying is resolved. He accepts at face value Kurt's statement that Mr. Schuester can do nothing to help him. Once Schuester feels like he is off the hook, he reframes the problem as Kurt's responsibility, asking him why Kurt is "letting it get to you" and rebuking him for becoming withdrawn and belligerent.

Depression or anger is a reasonable response to abuse. Although Kurt would probably prefer to be less upset by his bullies, it is unfair for Schuester to frame Kurt's response as the problem, rather than the abuse provoking his response. If Glee had set up Mr. Schuester's response as a reflection of the lapses of some teachers and districts and had provided a better model later in the episode, his counterproductive message could have been redeemed. However, the mistakes of Mr. Schuester were repeated and amplified a few scenes later by the episode's unambiguous "good guy."


RTWT.

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