Civic Mythology, Now that Is Transformation

Submitted by jpelikan on Thu, 06/24/2010 - 09:24.

Once before its own “transformation” the Plain Dealer had comics, a front page with real news, and an editorial page.


This morning Plain Dealer Op-Ed piece "Transformation for the children's sake" is a good reminder of the grip of an aging civic culture on Cleveland, where "transformation", whatever it means, is still our new thing. We may already have forgotten the that the Plain Dealer we read today transformed itself already for our future.


With the help of California style innovation, Comics In Cleveland are now Diversion.


You never know what cute or entertaining features might dominate the old front page. And now Opinion is the page title for editorials, columnist and guest columnists (op-ed), and letters from the public. 


The Plain Dealer transformation of course has a dash of “tough journalism” displayed for example in one editorial calling a local Congressmen a scoundrel for taking a position on financial bailouts that was in fact a perceptive insight of reality under change. 


Those seeking to influence change are always cautioned to find a way to make an ally out of the media, and particularly not to call into question the media’s own flawed reality and contribution to sustaining the ‘same old” or status quo. 


Not all of us are as skilled at this as seems required.


This is particularly demanding when a key media organization is a player aligned with the status quo and power. Whatever the alignments binding force (interests, beliefs, worldview), it must be seen for change to occur.


In our case the Opinion page of the Plain Dealer reveals common shared myths belonging to the Civic Culture of Cleveland. It also contributes to the reality of life in Cleveland including our decline as a place to live and work.


Maybe this is more clear to those who live outside the circles of power and influence. Within these circles, the function of these beliefs is mostly just obvious and not subject to reflection or challenge. This is reflected again in the Op-Ed piece today where as always in this narrative of true believers there is no understanding of the facts and issues they ignore and that are present in alternative viewpoints.


The Editorial staff and owners of the Plain Dealer might consider changing the title of this page from Opinion to something more descriptive of the function and content, like: Mythology; Civic Mythology; What WE Believe and won’t think about in Cleveland; or Mostly Local Myth, With Occasional Exceptions. 


It would be edgier, very California, more accurate and consequently contribute to a more honest public discourse, maybe attract a younger population, and lead to a factual basis of real change.  It might be termed Bold (or Transformational) if these words had not already been overused and rendered meaningless.


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