Alaska | Censorship | Education | Freddie Mercury | Sarah Palin

Wasilla High School Bans Jazz Choir's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Performance Because Freddie Mercury Was Gay

The jazz choir at Wasilla High School (yes, that Wasilla) in Alaska was told last week that they couldn't sing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" at the high school graduation. The reason?

Wasilla WHS Principal Dwight Probasco reportedly had received complaints from at least one parent that the 1975 hit written by Freddie Mercury wasn’t appropriate for the ceremony simply because Mercury was gay.

“The whole thing was just ridiculous,” senior Rachel Clark said Monday. “They’d played the song on the school intercom and we played it at prom. It’s a great song and the choir was really excited to be singing it. And the senior class felt like it defined them.” Choir member Casey Hight, a junior, was angry enough to contact a gay and lesbian support organization in Anchorage for help. They told her to contact an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Probasco, who Gawker notes is a dead ringer for Elton John, has now decided to allow the song to be played because he is afraid of the ACLU, as he should be. The choir won't be able to sing one lyric about killing a man, however.

(the frontiersman via gawker, image via adm on flickr)

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  1. This is awfully late for an April Fool's prank...

    Posted by: robert | May 13, 2011 7:40:20 AM

  2. Sing it loud. Sing it proud.

    [ ]

    Posted by: Philo | May 13, 2011 7:47:33 AM

  3. So the orchestra can't play Tchaikofsky?

    Posted by: dizzy spins | May 13, 2011 7:59:25 AM

  4. Afraid of the ACLU in Palinville? Surely he could call up the Mamma Grizzly and ask her for help. Or is she in Iowa pretending to be considering a run for President. Perhaps they could appeal for her help via twitter.

    Posted by: Gigi | May 13, 2011 8:00:42 AM

  5. Footloose much?

    Posted by: RJ | May 13, 2011 8:07:27 AM

  6. Well, this is illuminating. We can certainly see the social background that "informs" Sarah Palin's "thinking". The stupid.... it burns!

    Posted by: Justin L Werner | May 13, 2011 8:09:33 AM

  7. Way to buck the idea that Wasilla is a backwater hick town...

    Posted by: ichabod | May 13, 2011 8:15:34 AM

  8. Sadly, it's not just Wasilla, this is more about the completely obvious generational differences and extreme paranoia that social conservatives have towards anything and everything gay. You can't play a song for graduation because the singer was gay? What does that even mean? How ridiculous will homophobes get?

    Posted by: Francis | May 13, 2011 8:23:30 AM

  9. Apparently, Principal Probasco has a spine made of jello. One parent made an idiotic complaint and he caved?

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | May 13, 2011 8:25:39 AM

  10. Do they read Walt Whitman in English? I wonder if all the spring muscials they do are screened to see if they had a gay lyricist?

    I guess if Freddie Mercury were a meth addict, he would have been given an honorary key to the city? Or maybe if he had a child out of wedlock at 16, he would be celebrated.

    Fire this idiot principal. He's too ridiculous to be in charge of teenagers, who are far smarter than this ass wipe.

    Posted by: Bart | May 13, 2011 8:27:12 AM

  11. Oh, come on. This is even more than usually stupid, and the stupid level was already at "I can't put on shoes without Velcro!"

    Posted by: Codswallop | May 13, 2011 8:31:31 AM

  12. the song made Wayne & Garth lovers in "Wayne's World", so I can see why everyone would be terrified.

    Posted by: EO | May 13, 2011 8:51:21 AM

  13. But bring your gun to school, just make sure you unload it before entering.

    Posted by: the_woodrow | May 13, 2011 8:57:28 AM

  14. If the principle, who the article said looks like Elton John, resembles
    a prominent, out, gay man and parent, perhaps the principle should
    be forced to resign and surrender his children to adoption services.
    After all, we don't want the children to get the idea that someone looking like a gay man, etc...

    What the hell is in the drinking water up there?

    Posted by: kodiak | May 13, 2011 9:01:05 AM

  15. They should ban EVERYTHING connected with the GAY... and see what's left.

    Posted by: JimmyD | May 13, 2011 9:01:27 AM

  16. Maybe the city of Wasilla should relocate to Uganda where they will be "safe".

    Posted by: kodiak | May 13, 2011 9:03:23 AM

  17. He looks a little like Elton John, but a LOT like Ms. Allen, my high school female gym teacher...

    Posted by: John | May 13, 2011 9:05:14 AM

  18. So who was the one parent? Ms. Sarah P herself? I've heard ridiculous, but this is totally ludicrous. But, in Wasilla, it's OK to shoot an elk from a helicopter, but Freddie Mercury, Tchaikofsky, Walt Whitman, Elton John, Little Richard, Cole Porter.... are all off limits. Get out the fire hoses.

    Posted by: Gene | May 13, 2011 9:08:23 AM

  19. I bet you a gazillion dollars they blare the Gary Glitter song "Rock and Roll Pt. 2" during sport events. Idiots! I realize that the song became popular a couple of decades before his convictions over abusing children, but the fact that it is still played at games and considered a sports anthem baffles me. It was drugged out Glam rock back then, and the guy who wrote it has since been imprisoned for assault. Think about that the next time your team scores a goal. "Hey!!!!"

    Posted by: DC | May 13, 2011 9:21:55 AM

  20. Taking bets now that they do "We are the Champions" at sporting events

    psssssst hicks, that is also Freddie Mercury

    Posted by: | May 13, 2011 9:22:53 AM

  21. This whole 'incident' smells. Sounds like a set-up from the beginning, possibly involving the school officials themselves. 'Ban' a 'gay' song, create controversy and attention to the 'plight' of gays in 'conservative' Wasilla and Alaska, etc.

    Most school officials, teachers, and of course teacher's unions [who really call the shots] are 'progressive', with more than their share of 'radical' progressives.

    One parent[?] complained? A few? None of this story makes any sense. It's also possible 'progressive' school officials deliberately 'banned' the song after one or a few [I doubt if it was even a few] complaints simply to create drama and attention for the gay 'cause'.

    My opinion. Just because you don't like doesn't make it 'trolling'. Deal with it.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 13, 2011 9:55:28 AM

  22. @RATBASTARD: True, it's your opinion and people don't need to like it. Nor, apparently, does it need to make any sense at all.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | May 13, 2011 10:00:58 AM

  23. This incident sounds strangely like a real-life version of some television show, let's see, what's the name of it...? Is the coach at this school perhaps named Sue Sylvester?

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | May 13, 2011 10:09:55 AM

  24. I'd actually support cutting the opening lines about shooting someone, considering the performance context--but the fact that people were more worked about about Mercury's gayness than that line is telling. (See: the story about the statue of David in Texas.)

    Posted by: Dback | May 13, 2011 10:21:23 AM

  25. Good luck putting on the spring musical if you can't use music written by gay people.

    Posted by: Q | May 13, 2011 10:21:45 AM

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