Saturday May 26, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON

Kafka wrote: "Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K. Š" Old man Kafka knew what he was talking about.

Some New York State legislators have had enough of people posting degenerate lies about them under assumed names. They are suggesting some new rules that would allow people who are being libeled to complain and have the comments taken down.

I know just what they mean.

Too often a few degenerates, often using several aliases, hijack websites. It has been said that the Internet is like the new Wild West -- anything goes.

If you want to react to this column, you can write a letter to the editor, but you have to sign it and it is subjected to editing by The Eagle, and the paper may well authenticate the letter by calling you up. To me that’s fair play. You know my name, I should know yours.

I know that the folks at the Eagle try their best to monitor remarks, but there are other sites that do not. We all know that there are a few bad characters that get their jollies talking trash about their fellow human beings. I know that there is great consternation among editors and publishers about this entire subject, but in the digital age they have to compete. My sympathies are with them.

n

Here comes the crucial WAMC fund drive on Monday, June 4. This is a time when a lot of people get together and make something wonderful happen. It’s a great communitarian project, something like the wonderful Great Barrington Co-op. A million dollars is a tremendous amount of money, but not when you consider the hundreds of thousands of people who use the service.

Unlike the New York Times, for which you pay before you get the product, WAMC depends on users to give the money after they’ve used it. OK, some people use something and don’t pay for it. I get that. But why, I ask, do they have to come up with crazy rationalizations for why they don’t share in supporting a project that really needs them?

Recently, a neighbor told me about a doctor, a good man in our town who is going around saying that he won’t support the station because I’ve opined that our local library, which we have supported with millions of dollars, should stay open until 9 or 10 at night so that our students might have a place to go and study. Libraries, said one former director of our library, should be community centers. That’s exactly right. Community centers have to be open when people need them. I’m not sorry for my position on this.

In any case, this respected member of our community’s excuse for not supporting what he listens to is that I have opined on why libraries should stay open. Hey, that’s his right, but if everyone found one reason not to support the station, there would be no station. Thank God for the wonderful people who value what they are getting and line up to do the right thing. We’ve raised $1 million three times running and that’s a lot of money. Heartfelt thanks to all of you who understand.

n

A nice lady friend was talking to Roselle in the street the other day. In the course of the conversation, she told her about a Main Street store owner who opined that she didn’t like me, but liked Roselle, but thought that there must be something wrong with her, because she stays with me. I certainly agree with those remarks. Then our friend added that Jonas, our son, was so handsome, but that "he doesn’t look anything like Alan." That made her two for two. It’s always nice to know what people are thinking.

Alan Chartock, a Great Barrington resident, is president and CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and a professor emeritus of communications at SUNY-Albany.