Springtime, when a young woman’s mind turns to Rachmaninoff! It’s time for another Philomusica concert, where I will attempt to be helpful to the choir. Mom roped me into working one of the concerts but hey, with working comes the beautiful, beautiful singing. Facts:
Russian and Hungarian Sacred Music – With Wind Ensemble plus S-A-T-B solos
Rachmaninoff, Sergei – Ave Maria
Russian liturgical music
Stravinsky, Igor – Ave Maria, Pater Noster, and Mass
Kodaly, Zoltan – Missa Brevis
SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2006 at 8 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 21, at 4 PM
Our Lady of Peace Church, North Brunswick, NJ
Click Here for Map and Directions
Ticket prices at the door are $18 regular, $16 students/seniors, $9 children under 13.
This morning, I was applying makeup to my preternaturally beautiful face (thanks, Mom and Dad!) when I heard a persistent clicking noise somewhere in the apartment. When I stopped staring at my great beauty, I followed the sound to the kitchen, where water dripped from a patched spot in the ceiling. Oh joy. As an Aquarius, I always have containers but I was out of time. I stuck a big basin under the leak and went to work, where I called the super for help.
No doubt there’ll be phone calls this morning about the glass ornaments dangling from the ceiling, mere inches from watery disaster.
Yesterday, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article that annoyed me. The Chronicle is subscription-only, so my friend lifted it for me to read (thanks, person with three advanced degrees!) These paragraphs are supposed to tease you to read more:
A glance at the current issue of American Politics Research: How The Daily Show influences young voters
The fake-news program The Daily Show With Jon Stewart may be just a comedy show – as its producers insist – but, according to a study by researchers at East Carolina University, it negatively influences how college-age viewers see political candidates. It also makes them more cynical of the news media and of the electoral process at large.
The researchers – Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris, both assistant professors of political science – wanted to determine how “soft news” programs, such as The Daily Show, influence young voters. They focused on Mr. Stewart’s program because it is watched by nearly half of all 18- to 24-year-olds. Additionally, the show’s audience is typically less likely to get news from traditional sources, and more prone than older Americans to make use of such “soft” sources.
I said several naughty words out loud in a room where people – if you can believe it – have never heard me swear. I know! I can’t explain that but listen: nowhere, never have I seen an explication of how to know neutral or weighted language when one sees or hears it and though I am supremely unqualified to write such a primer, these two paragraphs need the E.B. White Cattle Prod Treatment and I’m tending a bonfire.
A bazillion years ago, I was trying to get Miss Sasha to think critically about the world around her. This is not easy to teach a child, especially after years of uttering sweet nothings like The police are your friends and Just say no to drugs, sweetheart, you can’t afford the really good ones. We sat down to watch Edward Scissorhands one afternoon, and I asked her question after question she couldn’t answer. Then the credits quit. Miss Sasha showed me!
Miss Sasha: That is one bored housewife!
Tata: How do you know?
Miss Sasha: Parallel vacuum marks in the carpet.
Tata: See? OCD does come in handy! Good job, you!
The Chronicle is usually pretty good but the article is full of sloppy word choices, odd sentence construction and half-baked ideas. It reads like an tenth grade book report.
You: Princess, you break grammar and usage rules. What do you have to say for yourself?
Tata: I know the rules. When I break the rules I do so for effect. Or I wasn’t wearing my glasses during editing and I’ll fix errors when I find them, thank you very much. You either trust the writer you’re reading or you don’t. If you don’t, I’m sure there’s a toothpaste label somewhere you could read with every ounce of my wit, verve and preternatural beauty. Scoot!
Let’s review what we can see, shall we?
* “…according to a study by researchers at East Carolina University, it negatively influences how college-age viewers see political candidates.” It should be obvious by now that much of politics is image-management and the rest is white-collar crime. We hope there are a few humans involved with possession of their souls but odds are not good. If the Daily Show offers an unfiltered gaze at political candidates and that creates a negative impression, we should insist on more – not less – unfiltered gazing. Sorry the marketing failed! Let real life and daylight in, motherfuckers.
* “It also makes them more cynical of the news media and of the electoral process at large.” …than what? More cynical than when they were kept in the dark and fed bullshit? No more prancing winged ponies for you, undergrads! And while we’re at it, get that has-a-problem-with-prepositions writer a proofreader.
* “…the show’s audience is typically less likely to get news from traditional sources, and more prone than older Americans to make use of such “soft” sources.” See? We have more than fixed but now we have less than trouble. This sentence is also chock full of assumptions, like the ones everyone should be making about veracity and quality control. Do our test subjects mention which version or versions of reality have a greater probability of approaching real reality? Because that might be the question on everyone’s mind.
All of this would be nitpicking if not for the article’s last lines, which are one short step and a long, screamy fall:
* “At the same time, though, watching The Daily Show made viewers ‘more confident about their own ability to understand politics.’ The authors attribute this to how the show simplifies complex issues through humor.”
Simplifies? The Daily Show is one of the few shows on television that talks to me like an adult with an IQ above trainable. I wish more television news functioned with the same premise. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, frankly. The Daily Show makes it easier to, yes, identify the corrupt scumbags, because they’re horrible and funny and…horrible…and for that ability, we have Jon Stewart to thank. But the single most important function the Daily Show serves is to mirror back to the failing press corps what isn’t being said in the public sphere. No wonder the Chronicle’s a little pissy.
Fuck, who wouldn’t be?