The Price of Our Words


This article is intended to start a conversation, not to promote or cause controversy for those involved with the incident nor for the administration.

As much of Weddington likely already knows, an inappropriate comment was made by a student during 4th block in class plays on Friday. During a play, the actor decided not to follow the script, which called for a short, simple, and unimportant line. The line that ended up in the play was an innuendo, and an obvious attempt at humor. This comment was not part of any script and was made without the knowledge of any teacher or the other actors on stage, intentionally said by the student with the hope of getting a reaction out of the audience.

So what do we make of this incident? Should the student responsible be punished for his actions? Should he apologize? Who, if anyone, are the victims in this scenario? We should think first of the audience, as the joke was made with the intent of making the audience laugh, but not with good nature. Audiences should react to plays, they are made to make us laugh, cry, or reflect, but there are boundaries set by the script and by the director to ensure that the audience is not made uncomfortable. We also must consider the other actors, who worked for weeks to refine and perfect this particular play. The actor who made the comment had only one line, and did not play a major role in putting the play together. The rest of the play’s cast put in a great deal of effort, and they deserve to be remembered by the audience for putting on a solid performance. Instead of being recognized for their work, these actors now sit in the shadow of an ill-willed, attention stunt. An extra stole their show with a stupid joke. Although I don’t know how the other actors feel about the incident, I believe this actor owes an apology to the people he shared the stage with. Had this taken place during a performance I was a part of, I wouldn’t be able to just laugh it off. Actions have consequences, especially when those actions are made in front of a large audience in a public high school. Because those actions reflect poorly on the other actors, the theater department, and even the school, responsibility must be taken.

A similar issue on a national scale made headlines last week when Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson made a joke about a congressional candidate, Dan Crenshaw, who lost an eye while serving as a Navy SEAL. When the joke was met with a strong negative response, Davidson returned to SNL with an apology. He was joined on screen by Crenshaw himself, who, after making a few jokes at Davidson’s expense, made a powerful message about honoring America’s veterans. An ill-willed joke made live in front of an audience was turned into a teachable moment that we can all take to heart.

If this matter is to be made right, the actor behind the issue has to accept full responsibility for his self-centered, attention grabbing outburst. If we glorify what happened, it will certainly happen again. If we treat this matter with due diligence, and if the people responsible recognize that they are at fault, we can all learn a valuable lesson and gain some much-needed positivity.