Put a toilet in a house and it simply is utilitarian. Put it in a museum with a spotlight on it and suddenly, it’s art.
Set the timer for 4:33 to cook your hard-boiled egg and it’s a useful signal. Gather people in a concert hall for the John Cage concert and it becomes music.
Listen to your crazy Uncle Tucker spouting off at the Thanksgiving table and it’s a reminder never to invite him again. Nobody should have to listen to such vitriolic nonsense. Put him on Fox News and it suddenly becomes our national discourse.
Where the spotlight shines matters. Who gets to choose where it shines matters. How we pay attention differently when something is lit up matters.
And so part of the needed change ahead is making better choices as to who controls the spotlight and where it gets to shine and what is deemed worthy of notice. Engaged for a lifetime in work that I consider worthy that no news station will ever cover, that even Terry Gross and Oprah pass over, that Random House and Hollywood ignore, part of my work is to shout out, “Hey, over here! Take a look at this!” A tiny squeak in the roar of what gets shown or heard, but nevertheless, I persist.