Bah, Humbug!

1 12 2010

Here’s what Young Son and I have been busy with, for him too busy to finish Dracula so he can start on Julius Caesar and for me, too busy to blog much lately.

(At least it’s Christmasy!)

Scrooge: the Musical at Quincy Music Theatre

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Private Power of Story in Censorship

15 11 2010

CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION (subscription only)
“The Future of Free Speech”
By Tim Wu

Tim Wu is a professor of law at Columbia Law School. His new book, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, was just published by Knopf.

This is what speech management looks like in 2010. No one elected Facebook or YouTube, and neither one is beholden to the First Amendment. Nonetheless, it is their decisions that dictate, effectively, who gets heard.

What’s the answer? There is no easy answer. Monopolies like Google, Facebook, and Hollywood have certain advantages: That’s why they tend to come into existence. That means the American public needs to be aware of the dangers that private censors can pose to free speech.

The American Constitution was written to control abuses of power, but it didn’t account for the heavy concentration of private power that we see today.

And in the end, power is power, whether in private or public hands.

More snooking on censorship power of story:

School theatre and citizen censorship

Ideas are incombustible

More t-shirts and dress message stories, from stupid to dead serious this time

So we were saying censorship is a bad thing . . .

How the Oscars offended me today

Palin’s “Actual Responsibilities” as Madame Mayor

Ignorance makes the N-word Even Scarier Unspoken





What I Heard From Sanity and/or Fear Rally

31 10 2010

An echo.

“When we amplify everything, we hear nothing.” Llike an echo of my own refrain as a new blogger at Culture Kitchen five years ago, urging (in a quite civil indoor voice!) some well-modulated post-partisan Sam Waterston Unity ’08 thinking and talking: Amplifying Our Differences

Amplified sound, in effect, may diminish rather than amplify our individualism, our audience, even our own ability to pay attention or care about all we’ve lost. . .

Should we care, if the heavy bass and deafening levels of powerful modern difference-amplifiers blow out everybody’s eardrums along with our will to live, and thus our chances for ever building any majority audience able to appreciate artistic, nuanced and truly innovative political theatre?

. . .Does it matter if we the people learn to prefer politics to problem-solving, screaming to singing, mass media to personal passion?

I wish the ralliers more luck with being heard now than I had then. America’s appetite and audience seem bigger now for subtle, intelligently designed sounds of sanity, so that’s something.

Maybe as usual I just peaked too soon? I’ve been straining to hear and understand for many years while guns were blazing and sirens shrieking, tuning in earnestly to years of FOX and right-rant radio, trying to figure it out.

It’s insidious. Amplification deafens you to the wrong thing! — by trying so hard to be intellectually curious, fair-minded, engaged and reasoning, I’ve been systematically deafened BY the loudest and craziest, FOR the loudest and craziest, TO all but the loudest and craziest! It feels like a lifetime ago that I could comfortably hear (or speak) real hope about America’s chances of restoring sanity.

So could my personal power of story be that I’ve paid a hubris price for going it alone without publisher or party, hoping I could individually trade off small damage to myself in return for contributing to the common good but failing miserably, like Dr. Jekyll experimenting on himself for good cause but becoming Mr. Hyde?

Halloween two days before a momentous election, is a better time than most, I guess, for ghostly fears to echo. I won’t scream it, but please. Vote.





Celebrating Power of Story in Books & Movies

25 10 2010

I was just poking around the PBS site because of the new Sherlock Holmes series that started airing last night.

Young Son is a huge fan of everything Holmesian and he’s put together a Sherlock Holmes costume for this Halloween (last year he was Inspector Javert from Les Miserables but that was more about the singing than the detecting, I think) — point being, they are both book characters. As I always say, our unschooling is mostly “power of story” and seeing the same characters and story in different interpretations is an important part of the learning and fun.

The website has a short video of the new young Holmes, who said it was on record that Holmes is the single most often re-interpreted literary character.

The exhibition items have not changed since they were first installed, and are now complemented by an interesting and nostalgic collection of television and film stills, featuring the famous actors who have played the Great Detective and his trusty sidekick, Watson, down the years.

I can’t vouch for Holmes holding the record, but it was interesting and while I was waiting for Young Son to wake up so I could show him, I was thinking we sort of have our own book club mentality around here, not formalized of course, but that’s what we talk about and how we have fun.

Anyway, all that led me to this and I thought I’d share — Read the rest of this entry »





JJ’s Vote: Musical Theatre as Very Model of Modern Meaning (in) General

16 10 2010

Toe-tapping cock of the snook to fellow “musical theatre as unschooling” mom Pam Sorooshian, for this:





FavD’s Musical Opens Tomorrow Night

7 10 2010

It’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Meredith Ross is Olive Ostrovsky!

(credit to official TALC photographer Ray Colletti)

Everything she needed to know, she learned in musical theatre . . . her last show was connected more to her unschooling Europe adventures, I thought. But this one is about unschooling life itself, how valuable that can be even for thoroughly schooled kids. In the end, isn’t it always the unschooled and ideally musical power of story learning, about who you are and how to live, that really matters?

P.S. Aaaahhhhh! Young Son just walked through the kitchen where I was posting and said, cool, her number is 42! Huh? — and then I shrieked. Of course! We’ve all read Douglas Adams. Talk about Power of Story!

I bet they got to pick their own numbers, Young Son says. No, I don’t think so — you just noticed something I didn’t, and I doubt they did either, not even your sister in the middle of all that goes into producing a musical. Let’s go see, he said. And so we shall. I’ll let you know. 😉





Living in Hope That Deafness Is Reversible

25 09 2010

Friendly, fearless cock of the snook for this to veteran homeschool mom, military wife and NHEN board member Sue Patterson, who linked it on her FaceBook page from an indeterminable creator who doesn’t seem to be marketing it:

See also “Amplifying our differences as schlocky political theatre.” Maybe I was brilliantly prescient nearly five years ago? — or just out of step as usual. 😉

“The musical has creatively adapted to amplification. But in doing so the art form has diminished, or at least become something different.”

Education too, is more conducive to smaller theaters where words really matter. Public policy debate too, is distorted when pitched beyond human reason and scale, playing to huge faceless audiences fighting just to get inside, never mind down front.

Our civic art forms and collective wisdom have been distorted and diminished, and those of us old enough to remember a time when civil discourse fell not on deaf ears, seldom go out to the theatre any more.

I could have designed this poster myself. Remember my six-word reason to vote for hope and change last time around:

Because
I’m
Tired
of Being
Afraid