Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vote For Comment of the Week

Here are this week's contenders...

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Why Should Stage Hands At Carnegie Hall Make $400,...":

This is an interesting article but what makes it even better are the comments on it. Looking at the article first, it seems like there is a general dislike of unions in general and specifically IATSE especially on Broadway, but there author does a great job of getting more opinions on the subject who fairly defend it. Clearly a 400k salary is not even close to typical and if Carnegie Hall is willing to pay that, clearly the work the stagehands are doing is worth it. Especially if they are working on average 70 to 80 hours a week.

The comments are what make this article so interesting. The debate becomes very heated very quickly. There are a few stagehands who make very passionate points about the work that they do and how they do more than just push a piano around. Then there a few who argue that skill and experience, that the stagehands clearly have to be working there, shouldn't effect their pay. They argue that it's all about competition and since the union takes that element away, they are getting paid far more than they should.

Personally I think the stagehands definitely earn their salary. They are clearly the most experienced and skilled to be the ones working such a prestigious venue, and they work 70-80 hours a week, so clearly there is a ton of work for them to do. I think they deserve every penny they make. 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Ole Miss Jocks Don't Get Why Yelling 'Fag' During ...":
Well, that's awkward. I didn't think that people could be so stupidly open about gay hate. Secret hate is okay because we all know that it is bound to be there, but to out right say it in the middle of an anti-gay hate performance? That was just stupid. And the kids never got punished for it. They should have been suspended from the football team for the rest of the season. They need to be taught what is decent in life and what is down right disrespectful. One player apologized in an insincere way; that REALLY teaches the whole school a lesson. This will just happen again and again until something actually happens about it. There is a reason that people are all in a fit about that kind of thing now. It is a sensitive subject. How did those kids not know that they were being stupid and uncalled for?
I have to wonder, what prompted them to say it? It seems like they didn't know that shouting out hate words like that was a bad thing to do. Are they just stupid or were they doing it as a joke? Do they know the social standards of life, or do they think that it is okay because they are on the beloved football team? Just because they are admired for being able to hit each other the hardest doesn't give them the right to put other people down. Insulting people doesn't make you any better of a person.
I understand the theatre course requirement thing. My high school had a required art credit, so a lot of the jocks took theatre because it was an easier class to pass than studio art or an instrumental class. One would think that after being in the class for part of a year already that they would have been told the protocols of theatre. There are a lot of LGBTQ people in theatre; there are probably some in the athletes' class too. Do they say those things in class to the other students? Probably (hopefully) not. I don't get how there can be still be people in this world that are still anti-gay after all this time.  
Student #3 a has left a new comment on your post "What Theatre is For":
I disagree with Tyler. When I hear someone say "why is it never enough to just entertain the audience?" I automatically think of human ignorance and selfishness. I think art is one of the most powerful (including dangerous) things on earth. It can manipulate people. No matter what, art will always be propaganda. An artist will try to "change" someone's way of thinking. When we mess with people's minds, we don't know how people will react. The mind is the most fragile thing on the planet, and a thought can be shattered by just one artist manipulating a mind. I wish I could say that I just wanted to create art for art's sake: to just entertain the audience. But I know too much about the world. I've seen things and heard stories that have shocked me. I know I want to change those things. I think it is selfish to ignore the world's problems and focus on our own entertainment. As artists, I believe it is our duty to at least try. Sometimes, I dream that my work can manipulate the minds of people so that they would like to fix the problems with me. But again, this is just a dream. No matter how much I try to convey my thoughts, the audience will always have their own opinion on what needs to be changed. Even if I showed them the horrors in the world, I cannot force them to take action. I start to think that no matter how hard I try, I cannot "change the world." This was just a dream. I do not do theatre for audiences. Yes, I am a storyteller, but I do theatre to make myself feel useful, I guess. I guess I do theatre because it keeps myself busy in my lifetime. I think that I actually am making a difference. Am I? Probably not. But what else am I supposed to do? 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Let's Talk About [Insert Controversy Here]":
"I'm skeptical of the theater's power to incite passion in the public anymore. I know this is a heretical statement for a theatre practitioner to make; but the average person just doesn't go to see theater. It isn't the realm where the public at large plays out its fantasies and fears. We have TV, movies, the internet and football to do that."

I'm really disappointed in this comment. Maybe it's true for many, but it's not what I see in the people around me, and it certainly isn't what I'd like to see in the community around me. I'll admit that the average person just doesn't go to see theatre (anymore), but I'd like to hope that we each have a part to play in changing that.

As for the controversy surrounding cultural depiction (and cultural appropriation, I suppose), it's a sweeping but sometimes true generalization to say that the people in charge are quick to anger, quick to speak. Isn't this something we learned as young children? "Think before you speak." And as you get older, something along the lines of "research your facts before you write it in a paper" becomes more suitable. An instantaneous eruption of anger is the first reaction, and finding selective evidence is the follow-up. But how embarrassing is it to jump to conclusions and then be proven wrong? Many will back down, slinking away quietly, hoping no one will notice. That seems to be what Rajan Zed is doing in light of a comedic portrayal of Hinduism. Regardless, the issue of offending communities was brought up, and though it may have been discussed early on, someone somewhere took the time to pause and think about it.

So in the end, I believe that controversy is good. Differing opinions are good. Passionate debate is good. ... So long as everyone involved will listen to the rest. Controversy does not always come to a conclusion, but so long as we can agree to disagree, we are furthering our knowledge as well as the knowledge of others.  
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Passion vs. Engagement":
I think it's really interesting how this article discussed the difference between passion and engagement, namely that an engaged person can advance within a company but a passionate person will advance the company itself, but may not technically advance within the company's ranks. While both types of people are useful, I believe that passionate employees, in the end, are better for a company, as they will do their job well for the sake of doing their job well, because they are passionate about it and take pride in it. In contrast, while an engaged person may get the same amount of work done, they might only be doing it to get the next pay raise. While this is a perfectly reasonable motivation, there will be a difference in quality of the work, especially in fields such as ours. One of the things I like most about CMU is that everyone I meet is passionate. This isn't limited to the drama department, or even CFA- it seems as if everyone here, regardless of whether they are an art, engineering, science, or any other type of student, genuinely loves what they do, and they came here because they want to be the best at it they can be. It creates an environment I've never experienced before, and it makes me work harder than I ever have before, because I finally have people around me with the same attitudes and and understanding of passion.

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