Fifty years ago today, the nuns at St. Giles school told us we were to go home when class started after lunch. I had no idea why.
I did know Sister Caelin seemed sad.
When I got home, I found my mother obsessively vacuuming the same spot on the living room carpet. Looking closer, I realized she was crying. It was the first time I ever saw her cry.
I wondered if I was in trouble.
The TV was on. Ma never had the TV on during the day. Simpler times, you know. TV watching was for night time, after work and dinner, school and homework, and all the day’s chores had been completed. Ma noticed me standing there, staring at her.
“Mike,” she said, dolorously, “President Kennedy is dead.”
Then I cried.
Dealey Plaza Today
I knew who President Kennedy was. He was the boss of America, a man bigger even than Chicago’s Mayor Daley, a fact I was just starting to wrap my mind around.
I knew Mayor Daley could tell my Dad what to do. It was very difficult for me to grasp that someone could tell Mayor Daley what to do.
That night, I was sorely disappointed to learn that regular Friday night TV programming would be suspended in favor of wall to wall assassination coverage. I found it very unfair.
As the weekend went by, I came to understand the gravity of the killing of a president. I also came to understand how fragile all our hierarchies, relationships, and systems were. I saw Lee Harvey Oswald get whacked by Jack Ruby. I tried to get used to saying President Johnson.
I began to get that everything in this weird world — save the world itself — was temporal.
In these more hyper-sensitive, more protective days, a lot of parents might advocate shielding seven-year-olds from jarring news like the murder of a president. Kids have plenty of time to grow up, they might say. Kids aren’t prepared for that kind of reality.
To which I’d reply, no one is prepared for that kind of reality. And, I’d add, the weekend of John F. Kennedy’s assassination was the first and most effective introduction to the real world this little kid could possibly receive.
I have a lot of issues with the things my parents did and didn’t do in raising me. But the fact that they never shied from telling me the unvarnished truth about world affairs or family secrets wasn’t one of them.
For that, I thank them.
And On And On And On And….
The WFHB soap opera continues. As recently as Sunday, for instance, acting general manager Cleveland Dietz was pondering what he might do with the rest of his life.
Now, he knows where he’ll be spending his days at least through the end of the year. This week Board of Directors president Joe Estivill as well as regular Board member Richard Fish have approached Dietz, asking him to remain on the job through December 31st.
Estivill & Fish
The Board will vote on the extension at Monday’s meeting.
Meanwhile, insiders are certain the board will start the entire GM search process over again, meaning the community radio station won’t have a permanent boss until April.
Which is ludicrous.
This latest development, following the withdrawal of controversial choice Kevin Culbertson earlier this week, would mean WFHB will have gone almost an entire year without a general manager.
A state the size of California can pick its governor in less time. And, in case the Board doesn’t know it, California is bigger with a far vaster budget, and hundreds — perhaps thousands — of departments, bureaus, and offices. Plus, the job pays a hell of a lot more than WFHB will pay its future leader.
This whole “national search” business is a pretense the station can no longer afford. WFHB is a community radio station; its leadership should come, naturally, from a local pool of people numbering a minimum of 200,000, if the latest census figures are to be believed. If the Board can’t find a GM in that crowd — which, by the way, includes the students and faculty of a major university — they’re not looking hard enough.
In fact, the three finalists for the job from which Culbertson was plucked include a former GM of this very station and a proven fundraiser for non-profit organizations. Even if the anti-Chad Carrothers sentiment is deep enough to preclude him from ever getting the job again (a situation that, too, is ludicrous), why can’t the Board fall back on Dena Hawes?
The argument against her that she has no media experience is a red herring. Hawes can raise dough. That should be of paramount concern. Jim Manion can continue to run the Music Department and Alycin Bektesh can keep News humming. They’re both good at what they do. WFHB needs a top dog now. People with money burning holes in their pockets just might begin to wonder if this rudderless ship is worth investing in.
The Board Monday ought to commit itself to finding a general manager within a month. That’s it; 31 days. It can be done. Big organizations, corporations, and even governmental agencies do it all the time.
The Board would do so if it was smart. My guess is when Tuesday midnight rolls around we’ll still be looking at an April target date.
Do you know what a snowclone is? Neither did I until just the other night, when I came across it somewhere, somehow.
It’s something you and I probably have used a dozen times recently. In fact, if you’re a fan of narrowcasting comedy-dramas, you likely have watched Orange Is the New Black. The title of that Netflix production is itself a snowclone.
Here’s the definition, according to Know Your Meme®:
Snowclones are a type of phrasal templates in which certain words may be replaced with another to produce new variations with altered meanings, similar to the “fill-in-the-blank” game of Mad Libs. Although freeform parody of quotes from popular films, music and TV shows is a fairly common theme in Internet humor, snowclones usually adhere to a particular format or arrangement order which may be reduced down to a grammatical formula with one or more custom variables. They can be understood as the verbal or text-based form of photoshopped exploitables.
In common English, that means you can take a familiar meme or trope and substitute words that make it into a whole new cliche. One of the earliest examples was If Eskimos have a million words for snow, then [some other folks] must have a million words for [something common to them].
BTW: the Eskimo trope is false; they don’t have a million or however many words for snow. Nevertheless, that cliched statement spread like wildfire a few years ago.
Anyway, Orange Is the New Black morphed out of the original fashion world pronouncement, grey is the new black, after many generations of variations.