Monday, March 9, 2009

Two Things I Like About Fall River This Week

That's right: "Like."

One: Elin Noble's textiles exhibition at The Narrows Center for the Arts. And not just because I love Elin like a friend (and I do), or that I love itajime scarves, which I don't. They certainly don't discharge any of the practical functions of sails, and don't even provide terribly vibrant or legible burgees, since their designs are so often ephemeral and intricate. But if that's the worst thing that I can say about the show, you know that it's pretty damned good.
There's a lot of emotional weight in these lighter-than-air pieces of gossamer framed and hanging loosely in the old warehouse on Anawan Street. You can lose yourself in the patterns that never repeat quite exactly, the colors that aren't colors at all but are many colors at once, the madly intricate quilting that calls to mind drops of water, grains of sand, and elegant calligraphy.
This descendant of Fall River workers was struck by Layered Affinities: QUILTS AND HAND-DYED CLOTH BY ELIN NOBLE because it brings a dye and textile genius' beautiful examples of contemporary textiles to the city of Fall River. The city that was, arguably, the busiest and richest textile producer in the world for at least a week or two during the Nineteenth Century.

Two: Fall River Herald News comments. I've often detailed my displeasure with the New Bedford Standard-Times (SouthCoastToday) and their daily dose of amateur "writer-editor" buffoonery at the bottoms of the stories as set online. It has now become apparent that these personality-disordered dingbats are only mocking the newspaper organization by obsessively and witlessly attacking news writers, editors, and each other. There is no effort by the paper to stop this vulgarity or offense.
I had once thought that a local staffer wrote inflammatory opening jeers to get the ball rolling, but that just can't be. Instead, four or five socially-disturbed anonymous characters who seem not to read the articles -- or the other comments -- log in, pick an empty box in which to type, and then grouse and gripe, selfishly and childishly, about something. Liberals, the Mayor, local businesses, crime are favorite topics for derision, but the commentarazzi have no discernible knowledge or obvious experience with politics, leadership, business, or law.
Would that the paper just allowed one to read the news without the possibility of letting one's eyes drift down below the fold and see the vile excrescence that these damaged wags wallow in day after day. A foul stench that the newspaper emits for no other reason than: to stink.
This said, I am often thrilled and pleased to read the conversations on the Herald News site. I enjoy the sustained sharing of information between usually-genial interlocutors. There are, certainly, some negative and unpleasant goons whose only purpose is to disrupt the flow and showcase their own supposed cleverness, but those are largely ignored, corrected, or castigated, and the discourse continues, on-topic and informative. If someone complains about the Mayor, there are facts and historical precedents exhibited. These comment-sharers may be just as obsessive as the above miscreants, but they certainly have more integrity and discretion, and I thank them for exhibiting it.

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