I’m covering the arts scene in a city that used to be a stupendously rich manufacturing powerhouse, but whose fortunes have declined along with the decline of American manufacturing. Since a manufacturing revival won’t happen outside the borders of China, the city is now trying to reinvent itself as an artists’ mecca. Thus far it seems on a good track to do just that; as the above-linked article (half-written by yours truly) indicates, the art scene here is surprisingly large for a city of only 70,000 people.
Initially I worried I’d have a hard time finding stories, what with the whole “I don’t know a soul in this town” thing, but that hasn’t been the case; instead, I’m getting so many leads I couldn’t possibly do full-fledged stories about them all unless I had three or four full-time assistants on staff. So for every bylined article I research and write, I’ve been doing several non-bylined blurbs that simply tell people “X art event is happening at Y place on Z date and time.” (Whaddaya know? My junior-high-school algebra teacher was right; I am using some of what I learned in my adult life!)
Also, once the damned snow melts and I can go outside without putting on five layers of winter clothes and a pair of 20-pound snow boots, I’ll really like working in a downtown where I’m in easy walking distance of most of the stories I cover. (Meanwhile, I remind myself that walking through this crap still beats driving in it.)
In other news, I have a new column photo, and have realized two things: one, picking what looks like a good picture on a one-inch digital camera screen won’t necessarily translate to a good picture in the larger-screened world; and two, when I’m an old lady I’ll be the creepy ex-Goth one who scares the hell out of the neighborhood children. I plan to enhance this effect with lawn gargoyles, and will make certain to retire somewhere that zoning codes permit them. Better yet, work harder to achieve a libertopia where sumptuary zoning codes don’t exist at all.
Oh, yeah, and there’s a column attached, too. Something about economic troubles and The Wizard of Oz and a proposed marijuana decriminalization bill in Connecticut. Hey, Michael Phelps and Barack Obama both smoked pot and turned out fine:
If you think marijuana should remain illegal, then repeat after me: “America should take more than 40 percent of its adults, and 50 percent of its high school students by the time they reach graduation, and put them in prison. They all deserve criminal records.”P.S. As I write this early Sunday afternoon, I notice that despite the scary picture, the column is topping today’s “Most read” list with over 6,800 hits. I'd guess few of those readers are libertarians, either.
Seriously, that’s a conservative statistic of how many Americans have violated marijuana laws. Generally via smoking it. Often more than once. Most of us turned out fine.
If full enforcement of a law requires arresting and prosecuting nearly half of a country’s 300 million people, does this suggest something inherently wrong with the law? Or does it instead argue for the selective enforcement we have now, where poor and dark-skinned offenders become “drug felons” while their paler and wealthier cousins largely escape police notice?