September 9, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Criticism is Welcome, but Keep It Informed

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To the Editor:

Re: “EDITORIAL: One Cornell, One Community,” Opinion, Sep. 4.

We are members of Ordinary People, the socially-engaged theatre ensemble that organized this year’s Tapestry of Possibilities. To prepare, we not only had over 60 hours of rehearsal, but we spent countless hours over the past year and into the summer completely overhauling the play, in the hopes that we would portray a more nuanced representation of diversity, injustices, and oppressions on our campus. So, your comments in Thursday’s Editorial were not only hurtful, but utterly untrue.

Keeping in mind critics of the past, we decided this year to write a play with a constant plot, rather than a series of disjointed vignettes. We did this to better capture how our common vocabulary to talk about structures of oppression often fail to account for intersectionality, the phenomena that we all have many identities, playing off each other at various levels simultaneously.

While we appreciate and agree with your written commitment that the University needs to work towards inclusivity for those “who identify with minority gender identities and sexual orientations,” we are offended that you would choose Tapestry of Possibilities as your case for the University’s negligence. For if you in fact saw the show you readily critiqued, you would have known that this very issue was addressed, quite explicitly.

During the scene Hall Meeting, one of the characters comes out as a bisexual, claiming that she can “see beauty in everyone.” In response, the narrator quickly interrupts the action to correct this misinformation: “But I believe Lana would describe her sexual orientation as ‘pansexual,’ which bases attraction more on the personality, rather than the gender of a person. Bisexuality implies that there are only two binary genders, male and female. Whereas pansexuality opens interpretations to all categories of genders or non-genders.”

Despite the false conviction about Tapestry, as a troupe we appreciate input and invite any further criticism. We suggest that you do your research the next time you want to commit your paper to minority groups and fringe causes, so that your opinions will be more respected.

Rudy Gerson ’15

Sam Morrison ’17

Sagar Galani ’15