In yet another example of bluenoses running amuck in the heartland, a Dallas art teacher has lost her job after taking her fifth graders to the Dallas Museum of Art. One of the pieces of art the kids saw was this funerary figure of an athlete cut down in the prime of his youth, ca. 330 BCE.
You will note that, with the exception of his missing head and left arm, the boy is anatomically correct. The children saw other nudes at the museum, as well. Apparently, one of the children complained to a parent, who complained to Sydney McGee’s boss, who suspended her pending administrative review.
One doubts the parent or administrator took the time to actually view the piece in question, which has not been named.
McGee, 51, is an award-winning, popular teacher at her school, The Wilma Fisher Elementary School north of Dallas. While she has apparently had some minor run-ins with her principal, McGee seems to be a responsible, dedicated teacher who wants to expose (no pun intended!) her students to our rich cultural heritage.
It’s a heritage that includes accurate depictions of the nude human figure, which Greek sculptors celebrated in countless examples, and which Roman and Renaissance sculptors, among others, imitated.
According to this New York Times article, the children also saw Auguste Rodin’s tormented nude, Shade, at right, and Aristide Maillol’s alluring Flora, at left.
Here’s my re-creation of the conversation between parent and 10-year-old child that may have started this incredible story.
Parent: How was the field trip today, dear?
Child: OK, I guess.
Parent: What did you see?
Child: We saw a naked boy with no head and girl with a wet dress on. You could see her boobies.
Parent: A what? And a what? Her what?
Child: It was cool. There was other stuff, but it was boring. Can I go play video games now?
Now, I imagine the parent in question immediately picked up the phone, or perhaps waited until morning, to holler at the school’s principal for scarring that poor child for life by showing him or her graphic images of mutilated boys and participants in a local Dallas wet T-shirt contest. The principal might be one of those administrators who avoid controversy like the plague, and probably promised said irate parent immediate disciplining of the depraved teacher who forced such pornographic materials on the fifth graders.
Now we can yet another local school to our collection of communities to mock for their idiocy and teachers to praise for their dedication to their craft. It’s too bad the former so many times renders the latter ineffectual.