(above : where taking things way too literally meets no fun whatsoever)
The Grand Rapids Press’ John Serba reports The New Pornographers’ scheduled gig on October 15 at Calvin College has been scrapped. Since the above headline already explains why, you might want to visit another website rather than continue reading. Still here? OK!
The college released a statement explaining, “after weeks of discussion and consideration, the irony of the band’s name was impossible to explain to many. The band’s name, to some, is mistakenly associated with pornography. Consequently, Calvin, to some, was mistakenly associated with pornography. Neither the college nor the band endorses pornography.”
Calvin student activities director Ken Heffner, who books concerts for the college, said refunds would be issued today, and that the cancellation is a “peaceful parting of ways” between the school and the band. The group was scheduled to perform Oct. 15 in the Calvin Fieldhouse Complex. The Calvin box office can be reached at 526-6282.
Keep in mind, this is (allegedly) an institution of higher learning devoted to the liberal arts. And with all due respect to Mr. Heffner and the Calvin board of trustees, decisions like this — or as I like to call ‘em, defacto censorship — can have a chilling effect on free expression. Would Calvin College’s student activities board cancel an appearance by Cannibal Corpse, merely because neither they or the band endorse cannibalism? Would Calvin turn down a chance to award Michigan treasure Doc Dart an honorary doctorate (thus making him “Doctor Doc Dart”) merely because Lansing’s great man of letters once fronted a band called The Crucifucks?
Probably, yes. But that doesn’t make it any less sad and I suspect the entire Calvin College community are the poorer for it.