Monthly Archives: September 2017

Why newspapers….?

While the spoken word can travel faster, you can’t take it home in your hand. Only the written word can be absorbed wholly at the convenience of the reader ~ Kingman Brewster Jr

The newspaper fits the reader’s program while the listener must fit the broadcaster’s program. ~ Kingman Brewster Jr.

These two quotes by Kingman Brewster, one-time President of Yale University, are so on target for National Newspaper Week that I couldn’t choose…  In both quotes focus is on the reader, the active participant in the communication chain that links source (in whatever format) with receiver (of whatever stripe.)

As for the first, some would argue that you can take the word home in your hand – assuming that you are I-phone equipped. Brewster assumes, though, that there’s more than convenience at stake, that the reason to tote, and eventually to read, the paper is that “only the written word can be absorbed wholly at the convenience of the reader.”  Tuning in or clicking on  are not synonymous with reading and reflecting on the written word.

To this I would add that newspapers give the reader credit for the capacity to think critically.  Though newspaper editors and print journalists are not hesitant to speak their own minds, they respect the fact that the reader has the wits to think about what they are reading. Editors even encourage readers to check the facts, to re-read an article, to reflect and respond.

In the “information age” everyone aspires to be the sender/source of information that’s “hot” or intended to persuade more than inform.  Newspapers — and serious readers — are challenged to focus on the process of gathering and sharing news and opinion.  Readers need to recognize and value the labor involved in truth-finding, in gathering and parsing diverse opinions, in communicating complex ideas to a diverse readership.  Readers need to recognize and value the unique “personality” that characterizes the publication itself.

Newspaper folks are not judged by their charming good looks, their wardrobe, their glib tongue or their star quality.  They earn their journalistic stripes by delving beneath the surface.  They invest the time to check the facts, to track down the dissenting opinion, to respect the fact that We the People make decisions based on the words they craft and the cartoons they draw. Newspapers pride themselves on the fact that the news is edited by rational, if opinionated, individuals.  Their responsibility is to inform an electorate that, if all goes well, retains the power to decide the fate of the democracy envisioned by those who crafted the First Amendment and assigned it to its prominent position in the Bill of Rights.

Above all, as the nation falls victim to weaponized information, newspapers have both the burden and the power to create a climate in which words matter and truth triumphs. The free press we honor during National Newspaper Week is the voice and the prevailing hope of a free nation.

National Newspaper Week – October 1-7, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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Shorter days foster ideas, energy, opportunities to learn!

He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions. ― Confucius

Celebrate Confucius’ Birthday by taking time on
September 28 to read and reflect on a few of his uniquely quotable quotes.  You have latitude because the philosopher’s birthday is uncertain and celebrations vary by politics and culture.   People of all ages commemorate the 28th as “Teachers Day”, also a moveable feast.  http://www.chinesetimeschool.com/en-us/articles/teachers-day-in-ancient-china/   Whenever and whatever the celebration, the words of the philosopher live on and offer wisdom and comfort  befitting these troubled times.

Though the Banned Book Week post was covered in an earlier post (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/banned-books-week-honors-a-fundamental-right/)  here are a couple of fun ideas that caught my attention as creative ways to spotlight the meaning of the celebration –

Vaguely related, this brief reading reflects the reason that reading and bookstores matter in this democracy.  This article was published in the Huffington Post as President Obama was leaving office –  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-bookworm-president_us_587645d8e4b092a6cae42092

October 1-7, marks the 77th anniversary of National Newspaper Week.  This year’s theme is Real Newspapers…Real News.  http://www.nationalnewspaperweek.com.  More to follow.

October 1, 5:00 PM – MnArtists offers a unique presentation of the mind and work of Eric Larson – “Explore the elusive and entertaining form in a pop-up ‘Meme Town’ alongside Minnesota artists from a range of disciplines including visual art, performance, and music. Through interactive installations, digital playgrounds, and memes circulated before and aft. http://www.mnartists.org/event/mn-artists-presents-eric-larson?utm_source=mnartists.org&utm_campaign=b9e7643040-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_09_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_059305b321-b9e7643040-322827705&mc_cid=b9e7643040&mc_eid=cc474c7135

October 4 – (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4117&action=edit_ Possibly as a gentle reminder of what’s to come, on October 4th the U.S Postal Service will dedicate The Snow Day Forever Stamp.  This is the First Day of Issue for the famous children’s book written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.  The celebration will be held at the Brooklyn Public Library.  http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2017/pr17_049.htm

Art Buddies, a creative project matching volunteers with young artists, is still looking for volunteers.  Art Buddies  foster budding talents at fall programs now underway at Riverview West in St Paul (Monday),  Bancroft (Wednesday) and Whittier (Thursdays/Fridays) It’s not too late – details here:  http://www.artbuddies.org/volunteer

The National Archives commemorated Constitution Day 2017 with an informative panel discussion of “Constitutional Ethos: Liberal Equality for the Common Good.”  The lively discussion of a pressing issue is posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8g-w2kK9fg&t=5

Just one more post-State Fair update – this time the true facts about the origins of the Butter Queen traditionhttp://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/caroline-shawk-brooks-butter-sculptor-history

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.  ~ Theodore Roosevelt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DACA guide: U of M Libraries offer range of timely tools

For weeks now I have been trying to follow and understand the facts – true and alternative — as well as the motivation and implications, of DACA.  Paralyzed by the overload of information and prevarications I despaired of unraveling the truth, much less taking any sort of action.

It is with relief and renewed commitment to learn that I am finding a path to understanding.  For this I am indebted to an excellent pathfinder prepared by Kim Clarke and Karen Carmody-McIntosh of the University of Minnesota Libraries.  Students, members of book and study clubs, supporters of community groups grappling with the challenge to probe the depths of the issue – actually anyone who’s paying attention — will find the guide an indispensable resource.

This is one of many guides that the U of M Libraries staff create and share online.  To learn more about and subscribe to  the latest communications from the Libraries, click here: https://www.continuum.umn.edu/2017/07/library-search-gets-new-look/

The DACA resource is just one example of the many reasons that last May the U of M Libraries received this major national honor: https://twin-cities.umn.edu/news-events/u-libraries-named-recipient-nations-highest-museum-and-library-honor

Important update:  https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/09/27/chilling-new-rule-allows-dhs-monitor-all-immigrants-social-media-activity

 

 

 

Voter Registration Day-Reminder to reach out, tools to share

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting ~~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

With all of the managed confusion surrounding the drive to suppress the vote my “suppression” file has expanded exponentially.  Unfortunately, focus on the threats diverted my attention from the essentials, the need to focus on the need to reach out to those who are not yet registered.

Too many people worry that registration is too complicated or that the process itself will intrude on their privacy or even threaten their freedom.  And for others, particularly new voters or those who are new to Minnesota, registering to vote is a nuisance, a waste of time.

Belatedly, I have just realized that National Voter Registration is TODAY, September 26, 2017.  More research and writing about the malevolent momentum to suppress the vote will have to wait.  Today’s priority is to spread the word so that registered voters will find the time and muster the energy to reach out to those who believe there are too busy, or too vulnerable, to register. Now, more than ever, every voice – and every vote – matters.

The Minnesota Secretaries of State have a well-deserved reputation for designing and managing a voter registration process that is a model of access, fairness, and voter protection. Here, for example are the basics – you might want to review this before you reach out:  http://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/register-to-vote/?searchTerm=minnesota

Prospective voter registrants will probably have questions about a host of related issues – Expect questions ranging from residence requirements to polling place to absentee ballots to disability access to their criminal record.  All of these and answers to scores of state-related questions are at your fingertips: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/search-results-master/?search-box=minnesota

Most important it’s easy to take the next step to become a registered voter:  https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/VoterRegistration/VoterRegistrationMain.aspx

 

 

 

 

Remembering the Little Rock Nine – Where are we now?

Most years September 25 would pass with little news and less reflection on the historic significance of the date.  And yet, on this sixtieth anniversary of the Little Rock Nine, it behooves us to take note of the day.  It was on this day that nine brave children and their parents mustered the courage to exercise their right to learn.  It’s an inspirational American story of the consequences of action – and the danger of inaction. http://www.littlerock9.com/index.html

The simple story has made its mark on the annals of history. Wikipedia offers a helpful review and links to further learning. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Rock_Nine

Nine from Little Rock, the award-winning 1964 short documentary, has been restored by the National Archives.  View the 18-minute documentary on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPVOO5sugMY

Today’s Axios post reminds readers of the reason we should care about this long ago and far away episode in our shared history: https://www.axios.com/remembering-the-little-rock-nine-2489346862.html

Questia offers a good overview of the Little Rock story and an exhaustive list of books and articles that offer various historic facts, as well as personal stories of the Little Rock Nine themselves. https://www.questia.com/library/history/united-states-history/african-american-history/little-rock-nine

Honoring the anniversary of this momentous, if too often forgotten, historic fact today’s media offer a number of “takes” on the story that warrants reflection these six decades later – just a few of the many online resources:

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything – Albert Einstein

 

 

 

Autumn Options #IV

Though we haven’t got down to the “precious few” yet, the days are visibly dwindling down.   We need to choose with care from the lure of learning options that wrap up the summer – and prime the mental pump for what’s to come.  Just a few of the opportunities waiting to be explored:

September 23 – April 22, 2018. Renewing What They Gave Us.  On exhibit now at the Minnesota History Center are the fruits of labor of participants in the Native American Artists-in-Residents program.  The exhibit includes beadwork, birch bark and textile artworks by five contemporary American Indian artists including Jessica Gokey, Pat Kruse, Denise Lajimodiere, Gwen Westerman and Holly Young.  Details here: http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/exhibits/renewing-what-they-gave-us

September 27-October 1.  Twin Cities Arab Film Festival. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/festival-director-shares-stories-of-twin-cities-arab-film-festival-2017/.  Even if you can’t make it to the Film Festival, take time to view the delightfully informative interview with Mizna staffer Michelle Baroody who is responsible for All Things Film Festival.  The link to that interview is embedded on the earlier post. UPDATED SCHEDULE: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15ebe301851de3d9

September 28, 7:00 PM –  Peter Breen of The Bolt Weevils will host an open mic and Tom Kingstrom will play a featured set at Eat My Words, 215 13th Avenue NE in Participants will have a max 10 minutes of stage time. (note new location)  http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com/events/2017/9/28/eat-my-words-open-mic

September 28, 7:30 PM and October 1, 2:30 PM – Elision Theater’s production of Goblin Market by Polly Pen and Peggy Harman.  The performance, a musical adaptation of Christina Rossetti’s 1859 narrative poem, features the artwork of Omar Rayyan. To further explore the connections between the musical, the original poem, and the historical contact, the October 1 matinee will include a discussion facilitated by Andrew Elfenbein, Chair of the U of M English Department.  Crane Theater, 2303 Kennedy St NE, Minneapolis  https://www.facebook.com/TheatreElision/?fref=mentions

Much happening during coming weeks at East Side Freedom Library: 

  • September 28, 7:00 PM – Closing event in the Women from the Center Series: A harvest reading by Native Writers including Diane Wilson (host) with Colleen Casey, Pauline Danforth, Ruth Denny, Rosie Peters, Tayah Reyes, and Kim Wensaut. An opening song provided by the Asiginaag Singers with music by JG Everest.  Free and open. info@eastsidefreedomlibrary.org or 651 230 3294.
  • September 30, 1:00–4:00 PM “Against Labor: A book discussion with the authors of a new collection.” Participants include David Roediger, Elizabeth Esch, Chad Pearson, Tom Klub, Rosemary Feurer, and Peter Rachleff.

September 29-30 – Don’t miss this rare and wonderful opportunity to Illuminate the Locks.  Once again the 49-foot tall chamber of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam will be “re-purposed” – now as a canvas for an experiment in art.  Andrea Carlson’s creative work, entitled “The Uncompromising Hand” is a hand-crafted animation based on six photographs of the island during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  The artwork will be accompanied by text in Dakota and Ojibwe.  http://parkconnection.org/event/illuminate-lock-uncompromising-hand/

The Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), an ever-simmering cauldron of ideas and energy, whets your learning appetite with these options. Check out the NEMAA website to get seriously informed – and engaged. https://nemaa.org/events

  • October 5 – Overcoming Writer’s Block and Growing from Criticism
  • October 21-22 – Ever tried a rigid heddle? Design your own project at this intriguing workshop

October 14 – Grand Reopening of the Water Bar.  Check out this earlier post. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4157&action

AMVETS Post #5: Photographs by Xavier Tavera. Now on exhibit at the Minnesota History Center the powerful exhibit features color portraits that document the lives of Mexican and Mexican-American military veterans who now live on St Paul’s West Side. The photographs represent the artistry of Xavier Tavera who was born in Mexico City and has lived in the Twin Cities for the past two decades. http://www.minnesoahistorycenter.org/exhibits/amvets-post-5

 

 

 

Trendy tools to translate post-truth terms

Learning a new language is always a challenge.  When the language to be acquired is designed to confuse and conquer, the task requires readily accessible  reference resources that clarify definitions and suggest appropriate usage.  The challenge is confounded when the language is repurposed with wild abandon.

Fortunately, lexicographers and wordsmiths are at the ready to capitalize on the opportunity presented by a newly contrived language, particularly when the use of that language is designed to misinform the public and to weaponize the native tongue.

Following is a listing of user aids that have been hastily crafted to clarify terminology currently in popular use in the conduct of political, governmental, and financial discourse:

Alt-right glossary https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Alt-right_glossary

‘Post-truth’ named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/15/post-truth-named-word-of-the-year-by-oxford-dictionaries

Your post-election glossary, from ‘alt-right’ to ‘fake news’ http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/16/us/post-election-glossary-trnd/index.html

Donald Trump Glossary https://qz.com/845040/donald-trump-glossary/

Glossary for the age of alternative facts: https://www.thefactinista.com/pages/glossary-for-the-age-of-alternatie-facts

The 2016 Presidential Election: A devil’s glossary https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/the-2016-presidential-election-a-devils-glossary/505901/

Post-truth, propaganda, and bullshit: a glossary https://senseandreference.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/post-truth-propaganda-and-bullshit-a-glossary/

Cyberbullying Glossary, Cyberbullying Research Center https://cyberbullying.org/glossary

What They Say vs. What They Mean: An Inside-the-Beltway Glossary.  http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/09/28/what-the-say-cs-what-they-mean-inside-beltway-glossary

Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and   murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.~ George Orwell