Saturday, August 26, 2023

Haiku Lectures

Throughout my long career, I often was grouchy that the news— print, radio, TV, later streaming— never thought to come visit the music classes at The San Francisco School. My colleagues James, Sofia and I set the stage for, witnessed and publicly praised a steady stream of miracles as children discovered parts of their extraordinarily expressive selves through song, dance, drama and music-making. Naturally, “if it bleeds, it leads” was then, now and forever the guiding North Star of the news and so I gradually came to accept that the lower chakras—food, sex, power— is the domain of the media. The upper ones of love, eloquence, wisdom are mostly not invited into the house and if they are, given a corner of the attic or basement. 


Not only because the public loves sensation, but because the very nature of the sound-byte culture, amplified geometrically with the coming of 24 hour news, makes it impossible to settle into the rhythm and pacing that genuine intelligence, emotion and spirituality require. Shows like 60 Minutes tried to offer a deeper dive into any topic, but who has the patience for that anymore?


So in a “be careful what you wish for moment,” I’ve had two live interviews in the past two days, jumpstarted by the screening of The Secret Song film at Cinequest Festival. One was CBS TV Morning News at 7:15 am Thursday and the other CBS Radio at 3:20 on Saturday. With questions only vaguely prepared ahead of time (and they changed), I had some 45 seconds to answer each question and the whole segment lasted some 2 to 3 minutes. Live. No retracing the sentence that jumped out. And trying to capture the essence of a message in a haiku-like form to get across some level of meaning beyond the expected clichés. 


Well, I did what I could. Got to see the TV one afterwards and it seemed okay. Just finished the radio one and nervous about hearing it, as I think I could have trimmed it a bit more. But in either case, my overall reaction is:


1) Just a micro-drop in the roaring stream of media that will hardly cause a ripple. 


2) That said, you never know who’s listening and it’s possible it might catch the right person’s ear to dive a bit deeper. (Oprah, did you hear it?) But I’m not waiting by the phone.


3) If my answers were less pithy and eloquent than they’d be with the option of editing, at least they were real. “I said it, I meant it, I’m here to represent it.”


4) Hopefully, at least a few people will be intrigued enough to go see the film and those 90 minutes are indeed enough to get the message. 


5) Dipping my toe into the media waters confirms what I already knew— our entire culture is ADD, leaping mindlessly from one sound-byte to another and absorbing virtually nothing of any value. 


And so my 30 seconds of fame as meaningless and shallow as I should have known it would be. Now back to the real work as I go off to teach 15 music teachers for one day to jumpstart their year into their own miracles to come. 


And that concludes our story… Back to you, Bob!


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