The reporting and reaction continue to Josh Moniz's story in the New Ulm Journal about the cancellation of a production of "Inherit the Wind." Dan Linehan supplies more details in Saturday's Mankato Free Press article, New Ulm theater cancels play after controversy, while free-thinking Christophobe and science professor P.Z. Myers takes it up in Martin Luther College looks like a total waste of time and money.
Not surprisingly, this isn't the first time that Martin Luther College (MLC) students' self-expression ran into disapproval by the WELS faithful.
Party in the MLC
Rummaging through MLC closets, Bluestem has stumbled over an old social media tale that involves student self-censorship after a popular dorm homecoming video hit YouTube. The September 18, 2009 MLC Update High School edition reported in Dorm Videos:
For Homecoming festivities, the four dorms put together a video to entertain the student body. (Well, not Augustana— they must have forgotten.) Concord, the frosh and sophomore men, starred NateWordell(West) in a series of misadventures to arrive at chapel on time. Centennial, the frosh and sophomore women, featured Claire Czaplewski (KML) and a team of students on a missionto conquer the Swine Flu Sprite. By far the crowd favorite was the Summit men’s video rendition(pictured) of “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus.
That sounds innocent enough in the pre-twerking days of 2009.
Here's the video preserved on the Facebook page Bring back the MLC version of party in the USA!!!!!! :
Why did the video--which received over 80,000 hits before its makers pulled it--need to come back?
The Martin Luther College (MLC) parody of a Fire Island Pines (FIP) parody
The "Party in the MLC video was based on the Fire Island Pines (FIP) parody tribune video of the Miley Cyrus music video for "Party in the USA." Fire Island Pines:
. . .has been a jewel in the gay community for over 60 years, and continues to be the premier vacation destination for residents and vacationers. Located just 50 miles east of New York City, The Pines is home to the most expensive real estate in Fire Island.
Here's the FIP version:
While both videos are silly rather than sexy, the fact that the MLC version was based on a gay-friendly video didn't escape notice long from either the LGBT community online nor from the WELS faithful.
Queerty posted about the video in WATCH: What Miley Cyrus Hath Wrought: Party In the … MLC?
To what cultural aspersions do we owe the phenomenon of remaking the remakes of music videos? The Fire Island Pines boys, who created the Miley Cyrus send-up “Party In The F.I.P,” receive their own homage with “Party In The MLC” from a bunch of dormmates at a “homecoming summit.” At, uh, Midland Lutheran College [sic]?
Keep watching, ’cause there’s a blooper reel.
Those commenting are divided about whether the video is homage to the FIP video, insulting to gay men because of the fem stereotypes that the schoolboys prance around, or totally inappropriate because the young Lutherans just aren't cute enough to be in front of a video camera.
A rather oddball Lutheran blogger posted about the video a few days later in October 2009 in Mary Lou College's Own Flock of Seagulls--or-- Girls Gone Wild:
A WELS member sent me the link to this video, which makes the previous one (the statue fight) look positively confessional in comparison.
Familiar names like Huebner and Krause star in this travesty, which includes prissy lip-synching and crotch grabbing. I thought Michael Jackson was sick when he felt compelled to do the same, but this is worse and comes from the WELS "College of Ministry."
Read the comments on the video and notice the great impression made on the audience.
The sound and the fury signifying whatever
Oh the outrage! The attention from both communities lead to the creators of the video to remove it, the blogger notes in a mid-November post, Wisconsin Lutheran College Paper Defends "Party in the MLC" Video On Its Front Page! As Wise As Doves, As Innocent As Serpents:
The Wisconsin Lutheran College (WELS when raising funds) student newspaper, "The Sword," ran a Front Page! editorial / story on the MLC video, quoted in part (blue type in original):But once the video left the context of the MLC campus, it came under unforeseen criticism from some who failed to see the humor in the video.The most pronounced critic of the video was independent Lutheran pastor and blogger Gregory Jackson. Posts from Jackson, as well as comments left by the blog's readers, labeled the actions of the MLC students featured in the video unbecoming to future WELS pastors and teachers.These claims were based on the video from which the creators of "Party in the MLC" took their inspiration--a previous YouTube video known as "Party in the FIP." Set to the tune of "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus, "Party in the FIP" shows a group of men performing choreographed routines on a beach while lip-synching the lyrics of the song.""Party in the MLC" is a parody of the video, using the same soundtrack and many of the same routines.The controversy over MLC students parodying "Party in the FIP" is derived from the lifestyle associated with "the FIP."But makers of the "Party in the MLC" agree with other viewers that none of the actions in the "Party in the FIP" video would be considered blatant homosexuality. They also admit no previous knowledge of the reputation of Fire Island Pines. Ben Reichel, MLC student and video contributor, revealed, "We didn't find out until two or three days after we posted it that that's what it stood for. After we learned that we were kind of taken aback."After learning of the offense caused by the video, the students decided to remove the video "out of Christian love" for those who found the video inappropriate. The decision to remove the video was a personal decision made by the creators of the video.Reichel stated, "We all got together as a group --the guys who were in the video--and we realized that this caused way too much commotion and way too much negativity, and we all decided together that we were going to take it down."After meeting amongst (sic) themselves, the students sought the advice of college administration. Reichel continued, "We went and talked to the administration here at MLC--the president and vice-president--and we got their thoughts on it too. But we knew before we even talked to them that we were going to take it down."Matt Rothe, classmate of Reichel and video contributor, along with the rest of the students involved with the video, are ready to put "Party in the MLC" and the attention it has received in the past; "The group of guys who made this video only wished for good to come out of this video, and I must express firmly we wish for no more negative attention from it."
GJ - The WLC student newspaper has a lot of facts wrong. They did not make any effort to seek clarification. They are now drawing even more attention to the video and revealing that the students were not at all repentant, just resentful they got caught.
First of all, a WELS layman was furious over the video, which was posted on You Tube for all the world to see. Many people provide information to this blog so the rest of Lutherdom can see it. This layman was unable to watch more than a minute of it. I posted the video so people could see for themselves, as he wished.
The MLC students jumped in to defend the video right away, and now WLC has joined them. Their defense is to attack me, but the video stands on its own as a dubious production, whether I like it or not.
The defense of the video was so ridiculous that I did a little more research and found the original, "Party in the FIP." They knew what they were copying, and they acknowledged it rather quietly in the notes. Apparently the original went viral right away, thanks to various homosexual websites.
College students know how to use Google. Where else would they copy their homework from? Kelm, Parlow, and Limmer have shown that slavish copying is a good career move in WELS. To plead ignorance about Fire Island Pines is a bit absurd. All of the sudden these guys just fell off the haywagon when they landed in Metropolitan New Ulm.
And they thought the FIP video was straight? They should be on SNL, in a skit about their lack of gaydar. . . .
Bluestem is left to ponder what it means that "Party in the MLC" was the overwhelming favorite of Homecoming Dorm Videos at Martin Luther College. We couldn't possibly comment on that.
Screenshot: The article in the September 18, 2009 MLC Update High School edition.
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