Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

Sometimes life imitates art-at other moments, it exceeds it in ways we could not possibly have ever imagined. I smiled, actually more like a grimace than a grin, the other day reading the newspaper (and social media) coverage of Chelsea Botanical Gardens and Mohegan Park. 

I don’t think anyone would confuse Norwich’s Wilderness Drive and Judd Road with Birnam near the castle at Dusinane, and yet, as it so happens, the woods are indeed moving. Or in this case being clear-cut. What remains unresolved, at least to me, is for what purpose, to what end, and for whose benefit any of this could be happening.

The Bulletin’s Adam Benson, I thought (and still do), did an admirable job in his coverage as this story unfolded from all the way back in late April and early May through to the present day. 

Re-reading the on-line comments posted in reaction to the first two stories (actually, there were NO reader comments on the April story) there was a very strong, reasoned and reasonable discussion building among and between various folks on the viability and feasibility of the entire project. 

However, sometimes our human nature being what it is when we can choose between ‘getting it right’ and ‘getting it right now’ we opt for the latter and worry not at all about the consequences of such a choice.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take any time at all for our variation of the Three Witches, gathered around the cauldron, to transform what should have been (but never was) a community-wide discussion which included as many interested residents as possible instead into “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” 

As follow-up stories were published, to include a report on comments offered at a City Council meeting that seemed to result in less, not more clarity of purpose and communication, which in turn precipitated letters to the editor and a lead editorial advocating accountability and transparency that seemed to get lost in the noise, an already contentious topic became for lack of a better term incendiary. 

What at times for over two-plus decades has seemed to be a less than well-articulated and even less well-understood plan for a significant tourist attraction has, maybe just for me, become a source of a lot of heat but surprisingly little light, in terms of progress and a path to success.

And I’m not sanguine that we’ll see a lot of improvement anytime soon as across the pages of various social media lines are drawn in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS which I’m told online is the same as shouting. 

All this time I just thought people were proud of their spelling ability. Live and learn, I guess. We are frequently in error but rarely in doubt and sometimes each of us is convinced we have The truth when all we really have is A truth. We should try harder to speak to, rather than yell at, one another.
-bill kenny

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