"Take a deep breath and try to ruminate calmly on the position playwright Bruce Norris takes in his scintillating new play, 'Downstate': that the punishments inflicted on some pedophiles are so harsh and unrelenting as to be inhumane," Marks wrote.
"Are you still reading? It’s almost impossible to broad-brush the perspective at the heart of this impeccably acted drama without sounding as if one is advocating some extraordinary level of consideration for individuals who have committed unspeakable crimes. And yet Norris proposes a variation on this proposition at off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons: He is questioning what degree of compassion should society fairly hold out to those who have served their time for sexual abuse, assault, or rape."
Marks goes on to argue that Norris "loaded the dice to some degree ... as the predators who’ve completed their prison terms are depicted not as monsters but rather as complicated, troubled souls."
"There’s no sweeping under the threadbare rug in 'Downstate' of the heinous offenses for which the men have been severely punished. We learn about what each of them has done, and we are in effect asked to judge for ourselves what magnitude of ongoing torment each deserves. It develops here as an agonizing moral question, one that our retributive correctional culture would rather not have to debate."
Sara, Grant, and Zuby agreed that the Washington Post piece is just the latest in a "greater agenda" to "normalize pedophilia," a topic that recently made headlines amid fashion company Balenciaga's disturbing recent ad campaign featuring pictures of children holding "bondage" teddy bears and the text of a Supreme Court case regarding child pornography.
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