Posts Tagged ‘The Freedom School In Licking County’

American Factory

February 15, 2020

The Oscar winning documentary, American Factory, will be screened this coming Thursday eve, 2-20-20, at the USWA Local 244 Union Hall, 350 Hudson Avenue, Newark Ohio. It begins at 7 PM with an open group conversation to follow its airing. This is the February feature for the Third Thursday Film series sponsored by The Freedom School In Licking County. When informed of such group gatherings to watch a flick, the knee jerk response usually runs something like: “I can get that on Netflix. I’ll be sure to watch it.” Analysis determines this pretty much misses the point. In the first half of the 20thcentury a Russian literary critic, Mikhail Bakhtin, introduced the idea of a dialogic reading or viewing. For Bakhtin, when a work or text is considered by more than one individual, a richer, fuller, more complete sense of the work is available to those assessing it. Simply put, an individual person can’t see the back of their own head. But they can see the back of their friend’s head. Together, in conversation, the two can arrive at a richer and fuller understanding of each other’s makeup, which is incomplete when assessed individually. The same can be said for watching a film or reading a book. Dialogical consideration enhances the understanding by filling in the blind spots. Along with countless others, Newark News Analysis has written of the demise of the commons, and the detrimental impact it has made on social interaction in America. The pre-industrial age commons was an open space available to area residents for leisure, congregating, gathering, celebrating, play, etc. The voracious need for workers and consumers by the captains of industry exorcised the state sanction of the commons, essentially eliminating them entirely. Vestiges of this space for communal (common) interaction can be found with neighborhood parks and some city squares. These of course are subject to regulations, hours of admission and limits to interactions (permits). Netflix could be considered as antithetical to the space of the commons. Along with the demise of the commons was the fall of festival, the communal gathering of play, usually located in the space of the commons. Comparisons of play designated within the communal space of contemporary parks and the play found within the notion of festival would be akin to comparing New Orleans Mardi Gras and the NFL or MLB. True, there is a sort of competitiveness found between the tribes or the crews sponsoring individual lines or parades. But this is not the designated and deliberate (specific) competitiveness incorporated within the layout of most parks (individual or group sports). Improving one’s individual jogging time or winning the league tournament is not the stuff of festival. Both bring people together for play but the time and ends of festival differ from that of competitive play. Mardi Gras has no beginning though it does end. Parks have designated times when they can be accessed. The play of competitive sports is predetermined, hence some are better at it than others (some play while others can only spectate). The play of festival is all inclusive and enhanced by diversity. Competitive play results in active participants (players) and passive spectators (fans). Festival play is one of open participation. Festival participants make their play while most competitive sports spectators have it made for them (are not players). Watching American Factory individually on Netflix, with personal phone distractions and preoccupations (multi tasking) is not the same as attending a common space viewing with an active conversation afterwards. Festival makes for a dialogic understanding (celebration) by virtue of its all inclusive and diverse participation. Individual Netflix perusal is incomplete. The blind spots are never even noticed.

There Is An App For That

February 25, 2018

That seems to be a proffered solution to a good many problems these days. Although not everyone has a mobile cell phone today, let alone smart phone, there is no end to the app offerings available and in development (for purchase or even “free”). Entrepreneurs board this as Christopher Columbus did the Santa Maria. Apple has even trademarked the phrase. And yup, you guessed it, it was suggested as a partial panacea at the recent community Public Transportation meeting sponsored by the Freedom School of Licking County (2-24-18). “Parlance,” you say (“a particular way of speaking or using words, especially a way common to those with a particular job or interest”)? Yes, but Analysis finds more than that occurring here. Rather, it is more the embrace of a mode of conduct or behavior by the culture, the population contemporary with its use, that is significant; i.e. “texting” was in use, accepted parlance and part of the vernacular in Europe well before its nascence here in the US. Now it is ubiquitous everywhere. Would the reader oblige Analysis and kindly step into the way back machine. Not so far back, maybe set the time at about a century ago when village wide water and sewer first came to Granville. Prior to that? The reader’s imagination (or historic research) can fill in the everyday niceties. Well, OK, so far back is unnecessary. How about the historically uncomfortable, just recent past, like the 1980’s and water and sewer coming to Beechwood Trails (outside what was then Pataskala)? The upscale development was all individual well and septic. Some of the septic was not necessarily staying on the individual owner’s property, or worse yet, surfacing there. There was a lot of grumbling “I don’t need it or won’t use it” when a public water and sewer service was mandated by the county. Now, a good part of that area is covered by this public service and folks can’t imagine otherwise (like “texting” or “app”). People in Licking County relying on their own personal well for water can’t imagine the sense of a public service for that. Yet some pretty gnarly Ohio counties (like Gallia or Muskingum) have exactly that.  Two things became clear after the energetic and well attended Public Transportation in Newark/Licking County meeting. Amazingly enough the two are inseparable and require each other (don’t stand alone). One is the lack of political will by elected “leaders” to implement. It became surprisingly apparent toward the end of the meeting that all the elements needed to implement a working order are present. Like the scattered parts of a puzzle (or an IKEA purchase), some assembly is required, some leadership is needed to bring the pieces together. Neighboring communities are doing it (like Knox or Fairfield County). See above re: what a public service is. The second thing symbiotically attached to the “political” of elected “leaders’ was the stuff of app’s, texts, and public service. One participant ruefully pointed out that the major stumbling block to assembling the puzzle of public transportation in Newark/Licking County is that it is presented as an “entitlement” by the political “leaders”, rather than a “service”, like EMS, Fire, Police, water and sewer, etc. Analysis finds the community subjected to this  distorted imaginary in a myriad of ways – from economic class, racial, behavioral innuendo and stereotyping to large scale institutional (higher learning as well as business) promotion, advertising, and projection. We all know Grow Licking County and Newark Development Partners plan and project a gleaming Emerald City. But how ya gonna get there? (editor’s note: they were absent from the community meeting) Analysis finds that the everyday inclusion of Public Transportation as a service, not an entitlement, within the ubiquitous parlance would be a hefty start. Commenting on a mundane Facebook entry? Referencing the reliable, sustainable, affordable and accessible nature of public services like public transportation, would go a long way. “App,” “text,” “public water and sewer,” “911 caller service” became acceptable through entry into the parlance of the times. Their meaning was formed through their use in communication, language. Speaking of which the next community meeting of the Freedom School for achieving reliable, affordable, accessible, sustainable Public Transportation in Newark/Licking County is March 10, 2018, 10 -12, Trinity Episcopal Church downtown Newark. Be there.

In Need Of Invitation,Not!

February 3, 2018

As rescheduled, the Community Meeting For Public Transportation presented by the Freedom School in Licking County took place at Newark’s Trinity Episcopal Church, Saturday morning (2-3-18). It was very well attended by those affected by the glaring inadequacy of Newark’s public transit, people actively engaged with public transportation as well as community advocacy, and a smattering of politicians. The dense population of attendees “in the know” spoke out about the need for public transportation, the various actually existing incarnations present within other Ohio municipalities and counties similar in size to Newark and Licking county, and various wish lists for our own situation. There were attendee testimonials of the absolute maddening INABILITY to rely on Licking County’s current mode for any kind of scheduled/rescheduled appointments, job access or medical/disability necessities. Maps and statistics from the failed 2011 attempt’s researched studies showing the concentration of those who would benefit most from such access and the prime destination on the other side of town (or county) were trotted out. In addition, recently updated census statistics showing the area’s 21% poverty rate as well as over 50% ALICE “one step away from poverty” rate were cited. These in turn were reinforced by anecdotal evidence. Yes, Virginia, there is a great need for public transportation in Newark and Licking County. All the facts, reasoning and logic were plainly on display. Invisible was the Central Ohio business community. No one from Licking County/Newark’s large employers took an interest, showed up, or spoke up (out walking with a doc?). It was mentioned that they needed to be invited. Analysis finds this already to be an elitist class approach as a large crowd actually appeared without invitation, from contemporary postings and announcements re: the community meeting (no RSVP required). Their lack of presence appears to indicate that the large businesses in Central Ohio have no “need” for public transportation. But this is the irony of it all. Amazon gives it as a prime criteria for location of its projected 50,000 employee HQ. Several recent news reports show employers in Ohio reaching to Puerto Rico to enlist workers for jobs going unfilled (and paying their first 3 month’s housing, education, etc.). At a Newark Think Tank on Poverty meeting with Jay Hottinger, Mr. Hottinger initiated the conversation by stating his recent interaction with business leaders reveals that they can’t find employees to fill their job vacancies. Continuously we are told by our government “leaders” that there are jobs out there going unfilled. This was likewise borne out at the meeting itself by testimony from administrators of Licking County’s current system . Though budgeted to employ 45 drivers, they can only fill less than 35 positions. Their wish list is 60! Yes, Virginia, large businesses need people who can get to work. Analysis finds it indisputable that the “really clicking” central Ohio economy needs people who can show up to fill job offerings each and every day, reliably. Analysis likewise finds it appalling that these same “needy” businesses couldn’t be bothered to show up and take an interest in helping to create a solution.

Next meeting in 3 weeks, be there.