Message of ‘The Full Monty’

Criticism at the Parkersburg Actors Guild’s production of “The Full Monty” follows a long tradition of individuals denouncing what they don’t understand or find objectionable.

The movie by that name, filmed in England in 1997 as social satire, was intended to convey a message about the desperation of unemployed steelworkers. It covers a plethora of social issues and commentary ranging from the financial and spiritual despair of being unemployed to the reality of being unable to be a good father. Throughout the play, patrons are given a taste of love, body shame, impotence, the joy of abandoning inhibitions, acts of defiance, yet liberation.

I concede the male form is a somewhat disgusting set of circumstances. “The Full Monty” dramatized the dubiousness of revealing the front side of the male form. The day I saw the play I had been exposed in public places to the back side of the male form – once as I stood at the check-out line at the grocery store. The play had much more to offer than the revulsion I felt standing behind a male form whose trousers clung precariously on his frame, slightly above his thighs.

To call the production porn is outrageous. Porn is the depiction of sexual and erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement. I did not observe that.

There are differences between English and American humor. When the movie was in production, American audiences and their appreciation of the film’s content was the concern of the producers. But since 1997, the movie or plays have attracted audiences around the globe. So even if the movie and various American productions fail to convey the intended “message” and is viewed as obscene, so were books such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Of Mice and Men.”

While trying to define obscenity, Supreme Court Justice Stewart Potter once stated he couldn’t explain it, but would know it if he saw it. Plato, writing in “The Republic: Book II” noted, “Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of the writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction which is good, and reject the bad, and we will desire mothers and nurses to tell their children the authorized ones only.”

Let us not forget, people often find what they go in search of. Yet, “the priceless heritage of our society is the unrestricted constitutional right of each member to think as he will.” (Robert H. Jackson, 1950, American Communications Association v. Douds.)

Sunnie Khuleman

New Matamoras, Ohio