Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

There Are No Morals. There Is Only Money.

You’ve heard the news by now.

“A white gunman killed nine people Wednesday night, after opening fire on a Bible study group gathered at the historically-black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.”

There are topics to be addressed here.  Obviously, access-to-guns is one; and if you’ve heard the eyewitness reports of what the gunman said as he was shooting, it’s frankly foolish to suggest that racism isn’t a topic to be addressed. There is, though, one other overarching issue that I’m thinking about, one which actively impedes efforts to address any relevant topics.

Many times, this issue is characterized by the use of premeditatively reckless speech for the purpose of backstopping the interests of one particular segment of the American corporate world. And this reckless speech arguably violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the law where the First Amendment to the US Constitution is concerned.

In theory, speech is free and protected – give or take a moment of slander, libel, or intent to use certain forms of speech to directly place people other than the speaker in danger.

Beyond that, this speech reveals its sources as anywhere from amoral to inhumane, or inhuman.

 

Bryan Fischer, the host of an American Family Association-sponsored radio program [Ed. note: he regularly is identified as a “Christian conservative radio host”; but in this space, I refuse to associate my church-going self with him in this way, because in comparison to the Christianity that I was taught in Sunday School, his expressions of so-called Christianity sound a lot different to me.], tweeted this:

Misguided bans on guns in houses of worship turned this black church in SC into a shooting gallery. Nobody could shoot back.”

Really?

These people.

Because adding one or two or five more guns to this scenario would obviously have resulted in less gunfire, and less chaos, and less death. Obviously.

These people.

Nearly at the same moment (over on a cable TV channel overseen for the moment by an Australian media-empire patriarch), a TV morning-chat on-air personality was saying the very same thing as Mr. Fischer. Boy, it was almost as if he’d been in a football huddle with Mr. Fischer before they went and ran that play.

Steve Doocy, who daily is locked in combat with two other on-air personalities for the title of “Dimmest Bulb in the Fox & Friends Chandelier” (sorry for the personal abuse, but it only takes listening to about sixty seconds of this guy to detect that they hired him more for his chiseled jaw than for his journalistic chops), drawled:

Had somebody in that church had a gun, they probably would have been able to stop [the shooter]. If somebody was there, they would have had the opportunity to pull out their weapon and take him out.”

 

So, packaged inside these quotes (and probably some others out there, but these caught my attention especially, distributed as they were by various forms of mass-media to a non-insignificant number of Americans) come at least two issues.

First, they actively advocated for carrying weaponry in houses of worship – and for the readiness to use that weaponry at a moment’s notice.

Well, after all, what would Jesus have done? Shot first and asked questions later. Resorted to violence inside a sacred space. Obviously.

(Yes, he turned a few tables over in a temple at least once. That’s got nothing to do with this whatsoever. Nice try, but swing and a miss. Back to the dugout with you.)

Second, they advocated for the free and open application of wild-West, “frontier justice”. Sheriff ain’t gonna get here in time t’ help us. Gotta step up ‘n’ help our own selves. Hafta see who’s the quicker draw, y’all.

Probably a bit legally riskier in states without “Stand Your Ground” laws in place, but a feller’s gotta do what a feller’s gotta do.

[Insert spittoon sound effect here.]

Again, speech is free and protected – with notable libel/slander and public-safety exceptions. How does encouraging people who are not employed as actual law enforcement officers to “pull out their weapon and take [someone] out” – for people to feel free to become flailing, zero-formal-public-safety-training-laden, armed vigilantes – fit into this First Amendment concept?

I won’t give the feller on the Fox & Friends couch, Mr. Doocy, a complete pass by suggesting that he’s a completely mindless drone who has no idea what it is he’s reading off the teleprompter, or what it is he’s improvising as he merges his standing talking points with what his producers are telling him is the issue of the day.

But I also won’t accuse him of being Doctor Evil, with subtle and convoluted plans for bringing about his evil schemes for world domination. He’s just makin’ a living. It’s his career. And I suspect that he and Mr. Fischer the radio host represent a cautionary tale about what happens when average human’s contribution to the world is controlled by more powerful forces.

 

Mr. Doocy and Mr. Fischer, to name just a pair of examples, are paid to place words into the public discourse which (regardless of their recklessness and irresponsibility in the context of public safety) are what their bosses tell them to say. If they refuse to say those words, they may lose their places as media figures, because their bosses need them to say those words. Their bosses need them to say those words because they, the bosses, are being bankrolled by people whose job it is – in this case – to make sure that one particular industry makes its money. And is assured of continuing to make its money, no matter what.

There are no morals. There is only money.

Now, Mr. Doocy and Mr. Fischer could take a closer look at the copy that they’re being asked to read, or at the tweets they send, or at transcripts of their on-air improvisations, and decide that in order to feel like decent human beings, they can’t in good conscience keep on saying those words, and don’t want to have their names associated with those words anymore. And they could submit letters of resignation to News Corp. or the American Family Association, and wash their hands of the whole thing.

But then they’d not be making the kind of six-figure salaries that national on-air TV and radio personalities pull down, thanks to the largesse of the corporations that bankroll America’s nationally-distributed media. And those salaries support them in the manner to which they enjoy being accustomed.

So instead, they could assuage their consciences by saying, in effect, I was only following orders.

There are no morals. There is only money.

 

And the people in the gun-manufacturing industry, who wish to acquire that money, and wish to continue to make that money … are doing so by bankrolling media companies. And since money talks, those media companies are compelled to retain that bankrolling by saying those words that the industry insists they say: that guns are good, that more guns are better, that good guys with guns can save us from bad guys with guns, that guns in churches will keep us safe, that more guns anywhere will keep us safe, that more guns will help us deal with our fear, that fear is a part of life and we can best protect ourselves from what we fear with more guns, that guns guns guns guns guns! Because more guns.

Sorry. That sounded a little hysterical there, didn’t it. How can I possibly assert that?

Turns out I don’t have to.

In a post on gun activist website TexasCHLForum.com, National Rifle Association board member Charles L. Cotton argued that [South Carolina State Senator and pastor of the AME church, Rev. Clementa] Pinckney was responsible for the deaths of the eight church members who died alongside him because he did not support legislative proposals that would have allowed concealed carry in churches. Cotton wrote that the victims ‘might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns.’

As a state senator, Pinckney had opposed a 2011 that would have legalized concealed carry in churches. The bill ultimately failed in the legislature.”

A board member of the gun-manufacturing industry’s chief lobbying arm, the NRA, asserted that.

The people in the gun-manufacturing industry and their lobbyists, who conscript people and companies to aid and abet their quest to continue to acquire of all that money … and who effectively BUY legislators (thank you, Citizens United) who then feel obligated to enact laws that take away hindrances to the ever more widespread distribution of guns … do all of that without concern for public safety; without care for human suffering; without interest in the maintenance of a civilized society; and without empathy for anyone but themselves and their own greed.

I got mine, and I’m going to continue to get mine, is what they’re saying … and to hell with the rest of you.

 

THESE PEOPLE.

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June 20, 2015 Posted by | current events, media, news, politics, radio, television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alumni Affairs

This space doesn’t usually feature pure diary entries. The writing might sometimes resemble journalism, but it’s rarely my journal.

Having said that …

I’ve been away from the blog for a solid month now. WordPress may be wondering if I’m still alive. For that matter, so, perhaps, have you. (If you’ve been actively wondering, then I am humbled; and I might well be extra-motivated to never let a whole month go by again. I’d probably be even more tail-between-the-legs if this were a subscription-based service!)

It’s called “July”.

No snark there, actually. My opportunities to sit and write tend to decrease during this month which, for us east-coast teacher types, traditionally is a little less full of the day-in-day-out-ness that is otherwise our lives. In theory, we’re lounging on the beach or in the mountains or wherever. In reality, we’re just as likely to be not-lounging on a straight-backed chair in the middle of a professional development workshop; but that’s a topic for another time.

Schedule items have been packed into this particular July pretty tight. My calendar looks like a game of Tetris. Social visits and the annual Drum Major Academy fortnight; rehearsals and meetings and errands; conferences and family gatherings … comparatively, my August appears almost blank. This is an illusion, guaranteed, and it always is; but for the next few days anyway, I get to throw it into a lower gear.

So much for this not being my diary.

What has struck me about this July’s events and discussion topics, though, is the common thread that has run through them all: alumni.

(Or, as a certain Latin scholar and friend of mine wishes I would put it more often: alumni/-ae. It’s a little unwieldy in print, but the combined masculine/feminine endings beat the heck out of making it into a neuter-gender Latin word.)

Webster’s Dictionary defines an alumnus as “a person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university”. With a certain amount of raised eyebrow, I note that the secondary Webster’s definition is “a person who is a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate [italics mine].”

Boy howdy.

Early in July, the summer arts program which is responsible for a lot of my formative experiences in the arts celebrated its 45th summer with a reunion event. Assuredly, there were plenty of Charles River Creative Arts Program alumni milling about, exchanging “long time no see” hugs, stories and belly laughs. (Given some of the lunatic anecdotes that evoked those belly laughs, one might reasonably recall the phrase “inmates running the asylum”! Ah, artistes.)

I did note how few social interactions there seemed to be between us ancient relics and the current staff members, that night. There seemed to be an innocent but discernible separation between the two groups. But then, I thought back to the 15th-year event (when I was a current staff member) and tried to remember to what extent we’d been instructed to mingle with the old-timers; and really couldn’t. Anyway, it was us forty- and fifty-somethings over here; the twenty-somethings over there. Maybe I’m just used to doing an abnormally large amount of multi-generational stuff in my life. Whatever.

Mid-month, and then again a couple of nights ago, I made what has become something of an annual pilgrimage to Cape Cod to attend a concert or two put on by a group of collegiate a cappella singers called Cape Harmony. The various editions of this group, since I first stumbled upon them six summers ago, have been very good at the game of women’s a cappella. For one thing, they have to write very careful arrangements, since by no fault of their own they work with a rather more limited range of pitches, high to low, than do their male counterparts. For another, a cappella singing in general is a high-wire act: there’s no instrumental accompaniment into which to sing your notes. If anyone is flat or sharp or otherwise misaligned, the whole project could come crashing down very suddenly.

What I find particularly enjoyable about this group, though, has just as much to do with the actual people in the group. Or rather, the people who were in the group and are still connected to it, electronically or in person. They still support the organization in lots of ways – and current members always make sure to acknowledge that support on their website, during concerts, and indeed when they sing the Wailin’ Jennys arrangement of “The Parting Glass” and bring any attending alumni onstage to sing with them. Too often, organizations can forget where they came from; but even as Cape Harmony are now completing their ninth summer, clearly they haven’t forgotten.

The back half of my July was dominated by the ol’ Drum Major Academy. Each summer, for four July days in eastern Pennsylvania and five days in Massachusetts, a rather inspiring collection of personalities get together, nominally to help prepare six hundred or so future high school band student leaders, but also to enjoy each other’s company and very often giggle a lot. There are former staff members whom we don’t get to see much, thanks to distance or circumstance; but the names predictably pop up in conversation (and at least one very-long-time-no-see example did visit this past week). In addition, many staff members were once DMA students. As I’ve noted recently here on the blog, some of those were very specifically my students – “in my TV room”.

Accordingly, I was inspired to take a rather harder look at the students who sat in those TV room chairs this summer – and for the first time, I spotted a couple of students whom I felt were strong enough (in skill set and mindset) to be recommended for future inclusion on our “IMPACT” staff, the group of collegiate drum majors and other student leaders who assist the DMA instructional staff with instruction and logistics.

(On top of which, last week’s DMA session took place on the campus of UMass, which has a certain band alumni history and presence of its own, previously chronicled in this space at some length and in some detail. So I was kinda surrounded by a definite sense of continuity.)

Sadly, this summer has seen some of the less positive effects of alumni involvement.

When news of the firing of Ohio State University’s marching band director broke, a couple of weeks ago, I was with my DMA colleagues at West Chester University. Because my mobile Internet access device is, um, limited (i.e. can’t display multiple windows in its antique little browser), I couldn’t open the links that would have allowed me to read news articles with titles like “Ohio State band director fired over ‘sexualized’ culture”. I had to wait till I got home to my desktop Mac. And once I did, I discovered accounts of an Ohio State investigation that revealed a band program full of frankly awful activities and traditions, such that the University saw fit to relieve the band director of his duties – some of which (including oversight and, frankly, the modeling of proper behavior) he seemed not to have carried out so very well.

Amidst the allegations of “an environment conducive to sexual harassment within the band, creating a hostile environment for students”, I found a couple of details which got me thinking specifically about the whole concept of alumni, and their role in organizations of which they formerly were members.

In the comments sections that followed the news articles from the Columbus Dispatch, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, some commenters demonized the director and some canonized him. Inevitably, the ones that claimed to be former members of the Ohio State band were the most vociferous in support of their former director.

Myself, I have my own fond memories of my college band director, and I do recall supporting him vociferously at a few crucial moments, and not absolutely always doing so with a great deal of charity toward the University that employed him. So, from knee-jerk-reaction or emotional standpoints, I don’t have trouble imagining that there are people prepared to rise to their director’s defense. There is, as you will shortly see, a difference, though…

The current assistant band director told investigators that “OSU’s Marching Band is unique in that it has a large, active, proud, and at times stubborn alumni base that can be resistant to change.” Ohio State is not alone in this, though. Every single college band I have ever been associated with in any way has featured one of these. Either by direct interaction or anecdotal observation, I found those bands’ alumni bases to be inspiring and challenging – either by turns or occasionally in the same breath. While I would agree that Ohio State may have more history and tradition to draw on than most bands do, I would nonetheless suggest that it is not, in terms of alumni involvement, at all unique.

Several details in the University’s investigative report stood out, to me, in this context. Most alumni associations are (or ought to be) focused strictly on fundraising and moral support (and, of course, cheering loudly from the bleachers at halftime). Alarmingly, according to the report, the OSU band alumni organization appears to have stepped over a few very reasonable lines:

[The band director] stated that the Marching Band’s alumni network publishes an annual directory that includes nicknames for some members, and he provided its latest version. Many of the printed nicknames included in the new June 2014 TBDBITL directory are sexually explicit, including some names given to new members in 2013.

Several witnesses stated that sexually explicit tricks [according to the report, tricks are “acts that individual Band members perform, either on command or at their own volition. … The tricks are usually connected to the students’ assigned nicknames”] were not performed in front of [professional band staff]. They were instead performed at student house parties, dinners sponsored by alumni [italics mine], and during down time on trips.

The misconduct described [in the main body of the report] … is highly sexual, frequent, and longstanding as part of the Marching Band’s culture. … The misconduct occurred in multiple locations involving the Marching Band, including practice at the stadium, bus trips, alumni events [italics again mine], and off-campus parties.

The band’s now-former director had held his position for just two years, but he had served as assistant director for the previous ten years, and as a graduate assistant before that. And before that? He was a band member for four years – graduating with Ohio State’s class of 2000. From fall 1995 onward, he had never not been in the Ohio State band program.

He was an alum, too.

One might think that this would give him an advantage at times: he’d been part of the organization, and probably was more familiar with its traditions, inner workings, and “players”, than other people who also may have been candidates for the position. But it’s entirely possible that in this case, familiarity bred not contempt but rather complacence, and complicity. The investigative report states:

Witnesses did not, however, report any significant change, or effort to change. In fact, only one witness stated that there had been transition in the culture of any kind. Another witness stated that speaking with Band directors about the culture was futile. She added that [the director] wants to be a cool guy in the Band. Similarly, [one other witness] stated that [he] just wants to be their [the students’] friend.”

For most alumni, the very act of being an alum may suggest that indeed, you can “go home again”. Every once in a while, alumni bump into the rather harsh reality that you can physically go back, but the organization is made up of a whole new crop of people, and former members are just that: former members, forced to live vicariously through the current membership.

Sometimes alumni can deal with that reality, and work to support the organization. Sometimes they can’t, and end up looking like rabid Little League parents, at best.

So. What traditions do we uphold? Hopefully, only the ones that make sense. How can alumni best support the organizations of which they once were an active part, and which they still love very deeply? They – we! – walk a sometimes very difficult tightrope indeed, one which sometimes forces us to reconcile our favorite memories with more current realities. We want the best possible experience for the people who come after us … but not everyone has the same vision of what that experience ought to be. And on occasion, that experience may necessarily be different from the experience that came before.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | arts, band, current events, DMA, marching band, music, news, Starred Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Science Fiction

This week, a tiny corner of the Internet flipped its lid. And that lid-flipping reminded me of some writing that I did awhile ago about first impressions.

Recently, a documentary has been produced on the subject of geocentrism. I confess: I had to go look that one up. Not many words in the English language give me pause – which I don’t say with hubris; it’s just that in my life, I’ve read a lot, so I’ve banged into arguably the majority of useful English words. Geo-, having to do with earth. -Centric, having to do with perhaps an overemphasis upon.

Geocentrism, as a concept, is at odds with heliocentrism. Heliocentrism has to do with the idea that stuff revolves around the sun. Therefore …

Wait wait wait wait. Geocentrism: a belief that all cosmic stuff revolves around the Earth??

Is this not still 2014? Have not Copernicus, Kepler and what remains of NASA not weighed in on this issue?

For context, we note that this is the year 2014, and yet science has been taking it on the chin lately. There are a bunch of people in positions of policymaking authority who are challenging the scientific method and its recent results (e.g. stuff we’ve had figured out since the seventeenth century) … and whether they’re doing it for political reasons, or at the behest of organized religion, or because they genuinely didn’t pay attention in class all those years ago … well, I bet a lot of my science teachers have been grinding their teeth a lot.

Enter this particular documentarian, or polemicist, or whatever we shall wish to call him. Robert Sungenis is his name, and he funded the making of this film called “The Principle”, whose tagline is “Everything we think we know about our universe … is wrong.”

That tagline smacks of Buzzfeed hyperbole, of course, and that stands to reason, because otherwise who would pay two eyeblinks of attention to a science documentary? I mean really.

But Sungenis had previously published a book called “Galileo Was Wrong, The Church Was Right”, which claimed to “give Scripture its due place and show that science is not all it’s cracked up to be.”

Just so we’re clear on who and what we’re dealing with here.

The makers of “The Principle”, backed by Sungenis’ money (which, even before Citizens United, has aphoristically talked), have been accused of a number of procedural no-no’s, not the least of which is “quote mining”. That’s an editing technique: cherry-picking bits of information and assembling them so they appear to support one view, even if in their context those bits of information would support no such view. I wonder where I’ve heard of that happening before …

Statements were allegedly taken from an interview with noted theoretical physicist Laurence Krauss that made him appear to be supporting the idea that everything astronomical revolves around the planet Earth. Krauss issued a statement that put a super lot of distance between himself and “The Principle”. Its tone of recoil was reminiscent of many muskets I have seen at Fourth-of-July parades: sharp and unmistakable.

Krauss’ statement insists that he was featured in the film without permission, and that he concurs with the scientific community’s contention that geocentrism has been debunked. He hoped that people would ignore it; “maybe then it will quickly disappear into the dustbin of history, where it belongs.” A number of other scientists who were in the film also have insisted that they were misled about “The Principle”’s agenda, and that they would never have taken part had they known about it.

One of the producers of “The Principle”, in a publicity statement interview this week, said this about Krauss’ participation: “Lawrence says he has no idea how he ended up in our film. I can tell him how he ended up in our film. He signed a release form, and cashed a check.”

What has gotten me to the keyboard, though, is the similar apparent participation (and subsequent reversal of gear) of the nice lady who contributed a very small amount of narration to the film’s promotional trailer.

Her name is Kate Mulgrew, and she portrayed the captain of the nearly-ill-fated Federation starship Voyager, a decade and a half ago.

She is an actor. Significantly, she is an actor who has participated in “Star Trek”.

When you do that, you become part of a piece of entertainment which, for all its inherent fluffiness (it IS part of American television entertainment), has gotten credit for causing many, many Americans in the last half century to think about science. Several US astronauts have cited their childhood viewing of “Star Trek” as one of the major influences in their lives that caused them to consider science as a profession.

Star Trek” is a lot of things, and as science fiction, one of those things is fanciful. Light-speed travel is something that, according to august scientific minds, only light can do; so the initial premise of the show (warping around the galaxy, rather than just crawling around the solar system) is presently a scientific non-starter. And most of the techno-babble that Spock and Data, and Scotty and Geordi LaForge, and just about every other Trek character ever, spout when faced with a cosmically daunting plot-resolution challenge is – to be charitable – somewhere between intensely theoretical and a writer’s desperate invention. “In this one particular episode,” say the producers, “we have to be able to transport Captain Picard from one ship at warp speed to another ship also at warp speed without lowering the deflector shields (which goes against a rule that’s been in place since we were on NBC in 1967), because otherwise the severance package for Patrick Stewart after we kill off his character will bankrupt the studio outright.”

But “Trek” has invited many people to go look up some actual scientific things. So by no fault of any “Trek” actor’s own, they are part of that show’s legacy, which includes advocacy for and advancement of the study of science. Thanks to the importance that American society puts on entertainers, those “Trek” actors often become more prominent symbols of scientific study than do a lot of actual scientists.

They’re not scientists, though.

One of the things that actors do is portray characters. Someone who plays the part of Jack the Ripper presumably does not espouse the views of Jack the Ripper in real life. (Or if they do, they tend not to get a lot of acting work after that.)  Someone who portrays Gen. George Patton may actually in fact be a screaming pacifist.

Another thing that actors have to do is eat. For that to happen, they need money. And most actors (I hear) have a great deal of experience with poverty, or at least with knowing that they’ll never retire and draw a pension. Every job is finite. Even while you’re working on one project, you’re looking for the next one. Only the most absurdly lucky actors finish a job knowing that they’re set for life. Guaranteed, very few people probably knew who (for example) Nichelle Nichols was, before she spent three TV seasons opening hailing frequencies for Captain Kirk. Now? She’s part of that Trek legacy, and her name gets her in the door – the same door that would slam in the faces of the vast majority of working actors.

So even the terrific actors like Kate Mulgrew, who will forevermore draw residuals from being Captain Janeway, are conditioned to take work whenever they can find it.

And sometimes, I imagine this can get them into tight spots like this.

A website that breathlessly reported Mulgrew’s “Principle” trailer narration said, “To be fair to Kate Mulgrew, she’s not a scientist, and as an actor she’s not required to make sure that her paychecks are coming from factually accurate sources. But you’d hope that she’d be a little more discerning as a former member of the Starfleet Federation. After all, Star Trek did and continues to do so much for the advancement of science and space exploration, and getting involved with a movie that outright denies one of the most fundamental facts about our solar system is upsetting, to say the least.”

On her Facebook page, Mulgrew released a statement disavowing the film. “I am not a geocentrist, nor am I in any way a proponent of geocentrism. More importantly, I do not subscribe to anything Robert Sungenis has written regarding science and history and, had I known of his involvement, would most certainly have avoided this documentary. I was a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that. I apologize for any confusion that my voice on this trailer may have caused.”

I’m split on this one.

I’m somewhere between “say it ain’t so, Joe” and “do your homework”. I’m working to find out whether her contribution to this film is anything more than the opening voiceover sentence in the trailer. The Internet Movie Database lists her as “Narrator”, but doesn’t get any more explicit.

The comments that followed Ms. Mulgrew’s Facebook apology post contained an awful lot of (forgivable) blanket-condemnation of the documentary producers and blanket-approval of Ms. Mulgrew. A lot of “Star Trek” fans rose to her defense.

Oh thank God. I felt so betrayed there for a little bit.”

Kate Mulgrew’s part, so far, is that one sentence about everything we know about the universe being wrong, at the very beginning of the trailer. And, again, that sentence could be about anything. All they have to do is fill the narration with vague statements like that, then put any images they want over it. And include commentary by geocentrists making it look like she’s supporting their statements. … Because the only part of the script that she’s going to get is the narration. And since the documentary isn’t out, and all you have to go on is the trailer, those of you who insist on giving her crap about it really have no idea what you’re talking about. You just like kicking people when they’re down. You gotta be mad about something, and this is it.”

The trailer I saw was a blatant hack job. You shouldn’t need to apologise, you’re a victim of a fraudster and should have support from your fans. Thank you for clearing it up, I hope you aren’t too badly affected by this.”

[E]veryone makes mistakes and gets reeled in by the worst of people, accidents happen. [T]he fact that you admitted your [sic] wrong and told us you don’t believe in what was said is enough. [L]ive long and prosper[.]”

No need to apologize. You’re an actor. It’s what actors do. If Patrick Stewart narrated Doctor Seuss, that wouldn’t mean he’s promoting a fear of green eggs and ham. Your fans understand. Don’t sweat it.”

Additionally, the follow-up post by the website which had initially posted about Mulgrew’s involvement with the project was entitled “OH THANK GOD: Kate Mulgrew Is Mad About the Geocentric Documentary, Too”.

Some Facebook commenters weren’t quite as starry-eyed though.

I think sometimes people forget that actors, by definition, say things they don’t believe for a living.”

Didn’t you read the words on the page? I get you did this for the money, but still do not claim to be ‘misinformed’ when the words were on the page you were READING!”

Finally, this comment was combination reality check and fanboy defense:

This reminds me of the Congressional committee that had Meryl Streep testify on agricultural matters. She was an expert because she played a farm wife in a movie. Come on, people. You regard Kate Mulgrew as a Voice of Science because she played a starship captain once? And it’s her *duty to you* to do in-depth research on *every* script she’s offered so she doesn’t accidentally *deceive* you?”

Maybe not, but it may represent an added layer of responsibility when you’ve been part of “Star Trek” and you’re considered, rightly or not, a science role model.

Perhaps what this boils down to is our desperate discomfort about finding that one of our first impressions might be mistaken, and/or finding that something or someone we admire isn’t as admirable as we thought (if all that indeed turns out to be so). And, justifiable or not, the feeling of betrayal that we as fans feel about the objects of our fandom.

It’s unnerving when it seems possible — even for a moment — that, to paraphrase the tagline of “The Principle” … everything we know about our favorite actor … is wrong.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | celebrity, entertainment, Famous Persons, film, Internet, media, religion, science, science fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment