Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Look How Far You've Come

This past weekend, a good friend of mine for a longer time than I'd like to admit at this point, Steve Murillo, gave his senior recital as a vocal performance major here at York College. He was nothing short of awesome and it has been a pleasure to know him all these years and see him grow as a musician since Ms. Stead's select chorus. His performance had me thinking about both my own college education, and college education as a whole. I won't use the word "jealous" because I feel like that implies that Steve is undeserving of his success. Nothing could be further from the truth. Steve worked his rear off to deliver a great performance and he is worthy of the praise and admiration he received for that and then some. With that said, I was still a bit envious of not Steve as person, but of his opportunity. What I mean to say is that Steve worked incredibly hard for four years to become a very talented musician and finally, this past weekend, his hard work had a chance to culminate, in a sense, in his senior recital. What I envy is Steve's chance to gather the people he cares about most in the world in one place and say to them, "Look how far I've come." I think of my own accomplishments here at York. Rhapsody President has been a difficult and humbling position, as well as a positive experience, and I'm beyond fortunate to have been as successful with radio as I have been with, if you think about it, how brief a period of time I've been involved with it. I think of my writing, both creatively, technically, sports writing, etc. and I take great pride in the strides I've made to find my own voice as a writer in different mediums. I suppose it's the nature of the professional writer to be somewhat introverted, and there is some sort of mystique to doing a good work for your own satisfaction, knowing that people will only see your work if they happen to stumble upon it, rather than needing the attention and fanfare of a public recital. I realize that life doesn't often give you those metaphorical "recitals" to showcase your growth. I suppose that's why you try with all of your might to get involved with things you love. If you're doing something you love, the only approval you need is your own. The bottom line is that life doesn't give out a lot of pats on the head, but if you stay true to yourself and motivate yourself to your own incarnation of greatness, life will take care of itself and before you know it, you're looking back on your life and saying, "Look at how far I've come." At the end of the day, that's enough. Song of the Day: Bag It Up-Oasis Jazz Song of the Day: Pretty Eyes-Horace Silver

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Archie Bunker Teaches A Lesson On What It Means To Be Politically Correct

On yesterday's "All In The Family", everyone's favorite bigot, Archie Bunker, asked Mike's help in his shaving of the bathroom door to make sure it fit properly. Struggle as he might, Archie could not get the shaver he was using to cut through the wood. Later in the episode, George, a lovable, developmentally challenged grocer's delivery man drops in with Gloria to help her unload her groceries. True to his form, Archie is condescending and (for once) unwittingly disrespectful. In his efforts to treat George with baby gloves, he makes George feel inferior and assumes that George is oblivious to even the most obvious of social cues and norms. Ever the liberals, Mike and Gloria scold Archie for being so narrow-minded. In so many words, Mike and Gloria deplore Archie's treatment of George, and assure him that George is not as dumb as he thinks. What strikes me is this: Archie, the antagonist reflected in this satirical mirror is nothing short of boorish towards George, yet he, no matter how mispronounced they may be, uses almost exclusively politically correct words to describe George such as "mentally challenged" and "slow". (In the context of the 70's, "slow" was pretty darn tame.) Meanwhile, Mike and Gloria, who care genuinely for George and want him to be treated as an equal, refer to him time and time again as "retarded." My point is this, in my experience, it is not words that are offensive, but the manner and context in which they are said. This is not to say that suddenly using the n-word should be okay simply because it is not said with malice, but in a world where more and more words and topics are being considered "not PC", we are losing certain freedoms of expression in an attempt to preserve feelings and make everyone equal. We have become a country walking on eggshells. "Mongoloid" was once a medical term; how long until "developmentally challenged" becomes unacceptable simply because of the manner in which people say it? The "All in the Family" episode ends on a rather charmingly righteous note as George points out to Archie that the razor of his wood shaver is in backwards and fixes the rather simple problem for him. With the ease and grace of a MENSA-child, the lovable oaf, George rectifies what Archie could not understand for the entire episode. Poetic justice at it's finest. Sometimes it seems like America's blade is in backwards. With a blunt blade, how can you expect anything to be fixed? Without the courage to make the first cut, life and the freedom of speech can become an exercise just as futile as trying to shave a door without a razor. . Song of the Day: Innuendo-Queen Jazz Song of the Day: I Cover The Waterfront-Billie Holiday