When did nuns become funny?
Was it in 1967, when Sally Field first donned her absurd cornette and took flight in the ABC comedy “The Flying Nun”? Maybe it was 1985, when the musical “Nunsense” made its Off Broadway debut — soon to procreate, paradoxically, many sequels. Certainly nuns were safe sport by 1992, when Whoopi Goldberg appeared in “Sister Act,” a movie that later became a play in the West End in London and on Broadway.
Americans began laughing at nuns just as the nuns lost the power to defend themselves. In the early 1960s, Catholic nuns were plentiful, working in schools, hospitals and orphanages, and visible, wearing the habits prescribed by their orders. Today their numbers are diminishing, and many of them wear civilian clothes.
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© 2013 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.
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