With the advent of 24-hour news coverage by numerous networks, we now have a multitude of current events coverage; coverage that invariably comes with opinion-fueled rhetoric offered up by everyone from professional pundits to amateur analysists and simpering sycophants to determined detractors. And with social media just fingertips away, we may now all add our self-valued two cents worth to the national discourse, which in most cases is a penny’s worth too much.
The question, then, of what we “know” comes down to personal choice of where to get one’s information and what those outlet’s gatekeepers allow to go before the public and what they choose to withhold.
Let me pass on what I “know” from a recent news source. There is a report on politics, of course, but it covers the reactions of people to their source of political knowledge, not the specifics of what they are hearing. Those quoted in the article were united in their praise of the person offering political information and stated that trust in what they received was due to the source’s background as it was similar to their own backgrounds.
In a separate article the introduction of five teachers new to a high school campus included two former graduates of that school; it is always a plus to have a teacher to which students can relate.
There was sports coverage, not just the scores of various athletic contests, but also a look at how the pandemic affected athletes and how they adjusted to regulations and overcame the restrictions to have seasons as close to normal as possible. Another story told of the expectations of athletes moving on to other sports teams and how they had been guided in their sports careers by those coaches and leaders under whose tutelage they learned their skills.
After reading these articles, I moved on to stories about music and the evolution of a specific type of musical genre; of human trafficking and its evils and how to avoid and report such wickedness; a quick look at some history of those who chose to kill by poisoning their victims; a nature story about primates that informs as to the intelligence of some over others; an article on how parks closed for months due to Covid-19 concerns are now beginning to open up but to less than desirable conditions and require adequate maintenance before children can use them safely.
There was also a book and movie review, the review citing one film I had viewed, and I agreed with the reviewer’s remarks. The book review was excellent for no other reason than it contained a strong recommendation that people should read more books more often, refreshing thought from a silicon screen-attuned world. There was also a comics page with an offering of not only artwork coupled with humor, but with a timely comment on the human attitude toward our physical appearance.
That is a fair amount of information and entertainment and not hard to come by if one knows where to look. “So, where did you get all this current information,” you ask? One need look no further than your local newspaper on those occasions when there is inserted an issue of The Mustang Legacy.
That’s right. Your local high school newspaper. It is a publication written by students for students, but I find by reading it I keep in touch with the attitudes of our local young people. They are our future and it does us wise to hear what they have to say now as in the future what they say and do will shape the world in which we all live.
BITS & PIECES
Writing this week’s column reminded me of my high school journalistic days when I was on the staff of what was then known as King HI Ways, the campus newspaper. I recall one article I wrote was based on my personal experience of having spent Christmas vacation of my senior year on a crew that reupholstered the seats in the Auditorium.
The crew consisted of three members of the Kerns family: grandfather, father and son, the son also a high school student at the time; we were completed by my life-long friend from Greenfield, Earl Wilson “Rusty” Cassatt. We completed the lower seats that vacation and did the balcony seats the following Christmas vacation when I was a Hartnell student and Earl was home from Rocky Mountain College way up in Billings, Mont. That memory leads us to a concern about the building today.
The Auditorium, home of the Robert Stanton Theater, is now back in use after months of Covid-19 closure, and while I am grateful for that situation, I am concerned about how the building is used. I recently saw a video on social media showing an awards ceremony for students, and so a few days after the event I visited the building for an appraisal of its condition.
All in all, it was in fairly good shape, a small piece of tape left on the new stage paint job was removed, no big deal. But there was still the podium left downstage center and, most notably, the scrim was left “in”; in being the down position for anything affixed to a locking rail bar. When leaving any theater, all locking rail positions are in the “out” or up position. And in this case, the scrim had not been counterweighted, which can result in a runaway bar crashing to the stage floor, or onto any other object on the state, including an actor’s head.
What is needed is a permanent production crew for every event held in the Auditorium. This crew would be knowledgeable of all aspects of backstage operations and would function for the full school year; four students and an adult would suffice. This way this historic building will not suffer damage due to ill use by those not fully acquainted with proper theater practices and procedures and, more importantly, it would mitigate the possibility of injury.
This is an important issue and should be addressed by school administration and concerned citizens working compatibly to that end.
Stay safe. Peace.