Published January 15, 2004
This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, January 14, 2003.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight -- wait until you hear this -- Amherst High School in Massachusetts will put on the play "The Vagina Monologues" with the blessing of the school board. That play is based on interviews with 200 women about their sexual experiences. It features very explicit language and images. The same school district rejected a production of "West Side Story" after members of the Hispanic community complained it promoted racial stereotypes.
Joining us now from Springfield, Mass., is Larry Kelly, a columnist for the "Amherst Bulletin."
Well, we tried to get the principal of the school, school board members, theater director. Everyone's hiding under the stands there at Amherst High School. What's going on?
LARRY KELLY, "THE AMHERST BULLETIN" COLUMNIST: Well, I think they're afraid of you, Bill. Amherst is kind of a giant bubble, and they don't want to deal with people from outside of the bubble, you know? Oftentimes, Amherst is referred to as the People's Republic of Amherst...
O'REILLY: All right. So they're very...
KELLY: ... and as a lifelong resident
O'REILLY: Right. It's a very left-wing community. Smith College is there. Amherst is there. University of Massachusetts is in the area.
But let's face it now, Mr. Kelly. This is a very strong play, and this is a play that is starkly sexual, and...
KELLY: Correct. Yes.
O'REILLY: ... all the high school kids are going to be able to see this?
KELLY: Well, that's the problem I have with it, Bill. I don't mind that it's being done at Amherst College or the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. I think it's grossly inappropriate to do it in the high school, and I think that's the reason why Amherst is the only high school in the entire country that is doing it with school board approval. That should tell you something.
O'REILLY: It does. It tells us that Amherst is out of control. Where are the folks? Where are the parents of the students who go to this high school?
KELLY: Well, they're...
O'REILLY: Shouldn't they be upset about this?
KELLY: Well, of course. They should be outraged. But, unfortunately, in Amherst, you have that P.C. atmosphere where people are actually afraid to speak out, so...
You know, I hate to use Nixon's silent majority routine, but, basically, I think the silent majority of Amherst, if they could vote on this, would say this is outrageous, let's not do this.
Unfortunately, the only people who came to the school board committee meeting last night were people that were in favor of it, and the people that -- sitting in the audience that were not in favor of it just didn't want to stand up and speak. They don't want to be...
O'REILLY: So they were cowards. They were afraid.
How many people spoke in favor of it?
KELLY: Two. No, excuse me. Against it, two. In favor, I think there were five.
KELLY: And one school committee member himself spoke in favor.
O'REILLY: You know, you gets the government you deserve, Mr. Kelly, sometimes. Now you're a lifelong resident of the town, and it looks to me...
KELLY: Yes, sir.
O'REILLY: ... that the people of Amherst just simply don't have the courage to...
And, you know, "The Vagina Monologues," I don't have any objection to it, as you put it, for adults. I mean it's certainly a legitimate play. But to expose children to it, I would not. I wouldn't let my children see it. And to reject the "West wide Story," a classic, you know, and then put this in there, I...
You know, it's disturbing. It's disturbing, but, again, you -- the community gets the government and it gets the education it deserves, and, if what you're saying is true, they're all a bunch of, you know, cowards out there and they won't protect their children. What are you going to do?
KELLY: Well, Bill -- well, first of all, Bill, we're working on changing our form of government. We have a charter revision vote that will be coming up next year to do precisely that, and I hope it passes.
But, also, what -- what interested me last night was one of the teachers showed up who is working with the women on the play, and she opened her speech to the school committee saying, well, the women that are doing the play wanted to be here tonight, but I told them not to come because I didn't want to expose them to the controversy.
Well, if they can't deal with the school committee meeting where practically everyone agreed with them, then how can they -- how are they mature enough to get up and yell out the C word at the top of their lungs and do some of the other graphic things that exist in the play?
O'REILLY: Yes. Well, believe me, they'll find a way.
Last question for you. You say the P.C. atmosphere in Amherst, Massachusetts -- if you speak out against something like this, people will scorn you? What will happen? Say I showed up and said this is wrong. What would happen to me?
KELLY: Well, I mean, basically, I had, you know, one of the -- a teenager today on a Web site was saying, you know, Larry, if you don't like Amherst and you're always criticizing Amherst, then why don't you leave? That old, if you don't like it, get the heck out of here kind of thing.
But some of the parents told me off the record, because they know I write a column, and they -- they got nervous, saying, Larry, you can't quote me on this, but I'm afraid that some of the P.C. teachers might retaliate against my child.
O'REILLY: All right. All right. Mr. Kelly, a sad situation in a very beautiful town. Thank you very much.
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