Thursday, October 18, 2007

How to maladroitly fashion a non-controversy

What is it I always say about the SouthCoast?
People don't know how to drive... People think honesty and manners are a sign of weakness... People who don't know about something are more apt to talk about it... AH! That's the one!
In yesterday's Standard-Times (Funny aside: Last night as I and My Beloved were driving back from a yummy dindin in Fairhaven, we noticed the newspaper had lost the final 's' off its sign, presenting itself as "Standard Time." How do I tell them that it's still "Daylight Saving Time"? Well, we thought it was funny, but Margaret's serves huge glasses of stuff. )
In yesterday's Standard-Times, the big editorial (since we're three weeks away from the most boring election in New Bedford history) was about the Zeiterion Theatre. OUR VIEW: Zeiterion hides behind the curtain. Why an editorial about a theater? Particularly about a year-old non-story a few weeks before an election that in no way involves that theater? Go ahead and read the overlong diatribe. I'll wait.

(Why didn't the Smoking Popes ever do a version of Girl From Ipanema?)

Seems the editorial page editor had nothing else to talk about but a snit with the Executive Director of the Z. Katherine Knowles didn't hand over her financial reports along with the customary $100 bill wrapped around a Godiva box (to ensure positive press) immediately and joyously when asked. The editorial has done three things:

  1. Made one of New Bedford's performing arts venues seem financially shaky and morally obscure,
  2. Inadvertently turned Katherine into a martyr to the Arts cause, and
  3. Proven once again that the SouthCoast just doesn't get arts organizations.

If S-T had set out to vilify an arts organization and gain favor with the knuckledraggers (like the radio dolt who constantly accuses the Z of presenting only "Latvian Lesbian Woman's Chorus" shows) then they've landed far from the mark. However feeble the backbone of the arts industry might appear to the folks who don't look that hard, you can't deny that the artists in New Bedford are pretty much the only people who work every day -- sometimes at two or three "regular" jobs just to afford their studio space and rents and living expenses. Artists are the people who are making downtown New Bedford a going concern, either by providing product for businesses or by owning those businesses or by shopping at the businesses that have moved in downtown because there were artists who would frequent or supply them.

To turn the arts into the kickable dog is just plain stupid.

Which then makes me wonder if this isn't an actual personal political attack. Besides the title which makes Katherine Knowles out to be the Great Oz cringing behind the machinations. Sure she's got that spooky idea-filled positive attitude thing that the SouthCoast doesn't trust, but... Knowles sits on the New Bedford Economic Develop thingy. Some people don't like that. Some people don't like the NBEDC. Some people don't like Katherine. Yes, there are people far more apt for the position. No, she's not exactly running a business that employs hundreds or provides a huge amount of tax revenue. But since she's running the day-to-day operation of a business that is constantly referred to as the anchor store for the arts in New Bedford, maybe somebody should listen to what she says. As you should do with anyone else who runs any of the successful businesses around. As you should do.

Another thing that surprises me is the editorial's mention of Guidestar. Guidestar is a fine organization whose mission, according to itself, "is to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving." Unfortunately, its database is sometimes incomplete -- whether by its own or a member's incompleteness. To claim that someone is hiding something because you can't find the information you're looking for on-line is... well, erm, wait a minute, I'm looking up "incomplete and somehow stretching the premise" on Nope, nothing.

Just like the rest of the editorial.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fall Reev has that right idea they dont have any arts so there arent any editorials about it