When Pat Travis, registration specialist at Indiana Wesleyan University, took over the reins as administrative director for Friday Night Live, one of her main goals was to ensure the comedy show’s wholesomeness.
“There were certain areas of FNL that bothered me, and I wanted to clean up,” Travis said. “I wanted blue, clear, really smooth waters with no ripples.”
However, it still came as a surprise to some when the song “Gangnam Style” was playing during the show and the word “sexy” was replaced by a censoring silence. According to Travis, the decision to take out the word was made by several individuals, including the show’s choreographer, Aubrey Davis (sr). Michael Moffitt, vice president for student development, also oversaw every aspect of FNL prior to its production.
But it was the same decision Travis would have made herself.
“I know it’s out there, and people know it’s out there, but if it offends who I trust and believe and who guides my life, I will not do anything to offend Him,” Travis said. “I feel that we, as a Christian organization, should do that.”
Prior to overseeing FNL, Travis directed plays at the Marion Civic Theatre, where she took questionable language out of plays until she was told she could no longer do so. This prompted her resignation from the organization in 2009.
Travis took those same values to FNL’s stage this year, getting mixed results from students in response to the censoring of the word “sexy” in particular.
“Do I think they should have censored it? I don’t know, that’s up to the school to decide. Do I think that most students can handle the word ‘sexy’? Yes I do,” said Nolan Moblo (sr).
“If I was in the school’s position, I would have done the exact same thing because someone would have complained.”
Susan Parrish (jr) also looked at both sides of the argument.
“To censor that at the age we are now, it just seems really unnecessary,” Parrish said. “I can understand a certain amount of censorship at a school like this — it comes with the package — but something like that, especially for a comedy skit, doesn’t really make sense.”
McConn Coffee Co. seems to be more relaxed when it comes to the music played over its speakers, including, for example, songs from One Republic and Bon Iver, which contain expletives.
According to an email from McConn’s marketing manager, Katie Arvin (sr), “McConn’s music should be coffeehouse music or as close as possible to the coffeehouse feel atmosphere found at most coffee houses.”
Arvin claimed explicit language is not part of that desired atmosphere.
“If a song with cursing should mistakenly get played, once notified of the error, the song is immediately removed from the iTunes library,” Arvin said.
However, Arvin did not provide any further opinions on the matter.
Both Moblo and Parrish recognize a difference between the two outlets, although hearing explicit language at IWU is sometimes viewed as a shock.
“There is a difference, I think, but as far as censorship goes, I wouldn’t expect FNL to allow some of the words that I hear in the music at McConn to be said on stage,” Parrish said.
“It’s two different kinds of environments,” Moblo added. “You have one that’s an active participant role, and one where you’re just doing your own thing and the music is playing in the background. I don’t even notice the swear words.”