Thursday, September 10, 2009

Of a Split Mind

Last night was the annual rules meeting for Speech/Drama coaches. For those of you who don't know, I spend a number of Saturdays each spring with teenagers who like to "act". (beyond the usual adolescent drama)

On the way to the meeting (a nice 35 minute drive), I was listening to NPR. British commandos rescued a reporter for the New York Times, Stephen Farrell. Farrell's Afghan interpreter (a fellow reporter), Sultan M. Munadi, was killed in the raid. The NPR piece told a little about Mr. Munadi...he was 34 (I'm 34), father of two (I have two kids), interested in public education in Afghanistan (I'm a public school teacher)...

Too often we overlook those who die in war zones. Casualties become numbers. Numbers are easier to ignore than the deaths of real human beings. My heart goes out Mr. Munadi's family...and all those touched by war. If you do nothing else, read this Times piece and remember a brave man who was driven by a quest for truth.

__________


At the rules meeting, we discussed appropriate sources from which students may take "cuttings" for prose/poetry interpretation. (What is oral interpretation?) As it now stands, the official governing body for our activity does not recognize online sources. Basically, if it isn't published on paper, it doesn't count.

What?

Most of those who read this blog write. Most writers know the abundance of high quality online venues for fiction. (um, Clarkesworld, Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Chizine...just to name a few in the realm of spec-fic) More and more "content" is only being published in digital form. With resources like Lulu.com and Blurb.com, dead tree publishing isn't really a gateway to "quality" anymore.

While I appreciate the original aim of the rule, I believe it has become outdated. Paper is more or less meaningless. (yeah, it has great sentimental value to me as a writer, but we're moving into an increasingly digital society) I'm writing my state activities association representative this morning to explain why.

Another interesting chapter in the online v. print debate from a different perspective...

9 comments:

Alan W. Davidson said...

Thanks for posting the link to the Times story. That was a nice tribute to Mr. Munadi. There is always more to the story than you hear from the big TV networks.

"While I appreciate the original aim of the rule, I believe it has become outdated." Your statement is precisely the point. There guidline may have applied a few years ago, but it must be changed to reflect time and technology advances. Well done in persuing it further.

Cate Gardner said...

How great to think the magazines we love could get further readers if schools got involved.

If there's a regulatory board set up, I think you should man it.

katey said...

An excellent reminder, thanks for that Times story. Couldn't agree more about the need to keep those stories close to us.

And the rule is most definitely outdated; sounds like something they decided in 1995, just before they decided never to look at the internet again.

Natalie L. Sin said...

So stories downloaded from a magic series of tubes are imaginary? ; )

Aaron Polson said...

Alan - I think I'm going to have a bit of a battle on my hands. Old ideas are quite entrenched.

Cate - I think I should be dictator for life. (only kidding, of course)

Katey - The internet? Yikes!

Natalie - The tubes aren't magic?

Jamie Eyberg said...

In response to the first part of your post- Stalin once said, "The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of a million men is a statistic." It is sad when we no longer see them as men, but numbers.

Aaron Polson said...

Jamie - I hear you. Stalin was a bit of an ass, wasn't he?

Benjamin Solah said...

Eh, probably best to not get me started on the Afghan war...

abrokenlaptop said...

I hear that they're thinking of making college schoolbooks digital in CA. It's more cost effective and up to date. Not to mention the whole "Going Green" concept. But yes, you're absolutely right in saying that the old ideas are deeply entrenched.

-Mercedes