Green Day Call ‘Censorship’ Over High School ‘American Idiot’ Cancellation
Billie Joe Armstrong lambasts high school board over decision to cancel musical
January 26, 2016
Billie Joe Armstrong penned a powerful response to a Connecticut high school’s decision to call off a production of the musical American Idiot, based off the Green Day album of the same name. Armstrong challenged the cancellation, arguing that the high school’s choice to not host the production is an issue of censorship.
“I realize that the content of the Broadway production of [American Idiot] is not quite ‘suitable for a younger audience,” Armstrong wrote in his Instagram post addressed to the Enfield High School board. “However, there is a high school rendition of the production, and I believe that’s the one Enfield was planning to perform, which is suitable for most people. It would be a shame if these high schoolers were shut down over some of the content that may be challenging for some of the audience.”
According to The New York Times, Enfield High School cited sex, drugs and foul language as the reason why the show was cancelled. “The bigger issue is censorship,” Armstrong continued in his note. “This production tackles issues in a post-9/11 world, and I believe the kids should be heard and most of all be creative in telling a story about our history.”
Enfield’s drama club director Nate Ferreira responded to Armstrong’s plea that “the show must go on” in an interview with The Hartford Courant. “It wasn’t the school board as he thinks that forced us to not do the show,” Ferreira stated. “It was a decision that the principal and I arrived at together because there were some kids in the group whose parents didn’t want them involved.” The high school will perform Little Shop of Horrors instead.
*And now, my own words*
American Idiot was the exact album the alternative/punk world needed to hear when it came out. The Iraq War was was turning into a quagmire and the White House had no plans or concern to change that. To millions of young adults (I was not yet 25 when the album came out), the album spoke to what was yearning to be expressed. Did the government have youths best interest at heart? Those who answered the call of the military were suddenly wondering whether they would be asked to die for a war that was spiraling out of control.
To think that adolescents and young adults who were in early elementary school around this time wouldn’t understand the harsh themes of a sanitized version of the Broadway play is seriously underestimating their intelligence. War has been a fixture in the background for a sizable percentage of their lives. For some of them, they will be old enough to vote for president in the fall. They understand the world around them, even if you don’t want to think they do.