THE PLANET DOESN’T ENJOY BREAKING BAD NEWS, BUT WE WON’T SHY AWAY FROM TRUTH TELLING; ONLY THE STAUS QUO HAS A PROBLEM WITH THAT; PLUS, COLONIALS CLUB CAPITALES, 9-4 … WELCH HOMERS TWICE
By DAN VALENTI
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, June 4, 2011) — One of our commentators, Bizarro, brought up an interesting point when he disputed my statement made in connection with the young kid who may have severed his arm punching out a plate glass storefront on Union Street. I said I did not enjoy reporting on such stories. Bizarro claimed the opposite, that I took pleasure in it.
I answered that since I alone know my intentions, motivations, and desires, my declaration has to be taken as the definitive one. In short, he’s wrong. We’re right.
Don’t Blame Us, We’re Only the Messenger
The claim is a variant of an old one that has been used against me personally and historically against investigative journalists as a whole by the apologists for the status quo. The claim can be stated in the elegantly pithy expression: Blame the Messenger. You saw that in action yesterday when Sarah Palin blamed a reporter for her shockingly ignorant knowledge of Paul Revere’s Ride.
Since Pericles was running circles around the Greek Senate, politicians and Establishment types — generally defined by those who hold power and are making out well financially — have a vested interest in having the people they govern believe everything is well.
In his brilliant essay, “Politics and the English Language,” writer George Orwell eviscerated this phenomenon. “Political lanaguage” tries to make murder acceptable and from the whispy wind pretends to have solidity. Thus, the powerful try to hide unpleasant truths. Orwell’s lesson will be a major part of my advanced composition class at the college this summer semester.
For example, part of the myth of the “downtown renaissance” in Pittsfield requires that those who perpetuate it deny most any evidence that would refute the claims that the central North Street an environs hum like SoHo in Greenwich Village. No one can doubt the progress made in the past decade. Barrington Stage moved its HQ onto Union Street. The Triplex Cinema nicely fills up the Kresge Building. The Colonial Theater, resplendent in its architectural glory, responds to the new management of Kate McGuire in a joint venture with the Berkshire Theater Festival. More artists live and work in the downtown. Fixture shops and stores (Steven Valenti’s, Paul Rich) coexist with newer enterprises (Dotties, On a Roll Cafe). … However …
The Long List of ‘Howevers’
However, how long do we recite this litany? Do we do it until it becomes a cliche, a knee-jerk defensive response aimed to shut out the truth. There’s also the big “however” called jobs. Pittsfield doesn’t have them. Much of household discretionary income has dried up. GE retirees are dying off, and when that wave works itself out of the economic mix and into the cemeteries, the city will see a profound, negative fiscal result. The CEDS program has been a failure for a decade. Not one significant large manufacturing company has moved into the area. Taxes continue to rise and the cost of government keeps slipping out of the corral.
A large minority population has moved into sections of the city. Drug trafficking has grown exponentially, with some of the biggest customers the high school students of Berkshire County, including PHS and Taconic. Social standards continue to erode, and the popular culture, driven by a vapid need to be distracted from thoughtful self-reflection, has electronically drugged our kids (who claim zombies as role models) into a type of despair that bodes disastrously for the near future.
Thus, when a story comes along such as the drunk 18-year-old man-child punching out the window at 25 Union Street, just up from Barrington Stage on the other side of the street, and perhaps severing his arm, The Planet has an obligation to report on it.
The local daily has not, does not, and will not fulfill its role as the Fourth Estate. It will not act as protector of We the People by providing them with the truth of what’s happening in this county (and particularly in Pittsfield). The BB has apparently bought into the apathy of hopelessness wrought by a municipal environment that has lost its self-confidene and resolve. Pittsfield no longer knows who or what it is. How, then, can it figure out who or what it wants to be?
Reporting The Truth is Not a Choice but a Reposnsibility
The Planet, acting on a tip, tracked down the information of an important story. One teenage enraged enough to propel his fist and arm into a plate glass window — especially when it comes literally steps from one of the downtown cultural gems — is a serious story. The kid nearly died from a loss of blood. And what if in that enraged state he had been approached by a couple of innocent theatergoers who were walking past him? Would there have been an attempted murder?
The point is we did not enjoy having to report this. The Planet grew up in Pittsfield in the 1950s and 60s, when the town boasted the type of energy, industry, enterprise, cleanliness, standards, and stewardship that today seems like a “Leave It to Beaver” rerun. Yes, Mayfield existed. We called it Pittsfield.
Those of us old enough to have know the city’s glory days can best measure the extent of its decline into the 21st century morass. We have the benchmarks. The young do not. The apologist old do not. We would much rather be reporting on a genuine return to “the way it was.” We would rather be telling of an AUTHENTIC renaissance. This isn’t nostalgia or wishful thinking. This is fact.
In fact, if there is ANY hope of Pittsfield making a recovery, it lies in recognizing the truth of our situation — a city with a declining tax base, increasing taxes, greater lawlessness, a breakdown of the social fabric, the destruction of neighborhoods, a declining population, an aging population, poor school, a lack of jobs, and political timidity.
That’s why The Planet — every word of this website, every word we broadcast, every column we publish, every book we write, every class we teach, every syllable in every speech we give or talk we make, every book we publish — will always tell the truth. When the news is bad, we won’t enjoy breaking it, but we will not shy away.
COLONIALS LAY THE LUMBER ON LES CAPITALES, 9-4; WELCH HITS TWO HRs, EDMONDSON ONE
BY CHAD COOPER
Special to PLANET VALENTI Sports
The Pittsfield Colonials hit three home runs, two off the bat of Johnny Welch, and got good starting pitching from Pat Moran to record a 9-4 victory over the Quebec Capitales. The win, first on the road this year for the team, evened the C’s season record at 5-5
Fast Start Propels Colonials
Pittsfield got the game off to a good start. With one out in the first, Danny Bomback singled, followed by a Jerod Edmondson double, moving Bomback to third. Angel Molina stepped up and lefted a single into center, scoring both runners for a 2-0 Colonials lead. Two batters later, Johnny Welch beat out an infield single hit toward short. On the play, no one covered third for Quebec. As Molina ran towards third base, Capitales pitcher Bryan Rembisz went to cover the bag. Rene Leveret threw the ball over the head of Rembisz, allowing Molina to score for a 3-0 Pittsfield advantage.
The Colonials defense opened the door in the bottom of the third, when Quebec scored four runs, three unearned. Two of the runs scored on a play where there was defensive miscommunication by Pittsfield, resulting in a throwing error as the Capitales took a 4-3 lead.
Pittsfield wasted no time in coming back. Leading off the top of the fourth, Welch homered to right to tie the game at 4-4. In the fifth, Bomback led off with a single. Edmondson came up and launched his first homer of the year to right to put the Colonials up 6-4.
The Colonials put the game away in the eighth. With Molina on third, Billy Mottram lifted a single over the drawn in infield to plate the runner and put Pittsfield up 7-4. Welch came up next and hit his second homer of the night, a towering shot to left to create the final margin.
Moran Goes seven innings in Victory
Pat Moran (1-1) picked up the win for Pittsfield, going seven innings allowing just one earned run on four hits. He walked three and struck out eight. Bryan Rembisz (1-1) took the loss for Quebec.
The series finale comes up on Sunday afternoon with Tim Stronach (1-0, 3.60) on the mound for Pittsfield against Matt Rusch (0-1, 1.26) for Quebec. Coverage on pittsfieldcolonials.com will begin at 12:45 p.m. with the Pittsfield Colonials pregame show in front of a 1:05 first pitch from Stade Municipal.
2B: J.Edmondson (5), A.Molina (3).
HP: J.Edmondson (1).
HR: J.Edmondson (1), J.Welch 2 (5).
RBI: J.Edmondson 2 (5), A.Molina 2 (5), B.Mottram (7), J.Welch 3 (11).
CS: B.Mottram (1).
Team LOB: 2.
2B: S.Henry (2), P.LaForest (1).
HP: S.Henry (3).
RBI: S.Boucher (2), P.LaForest 2 (9).
SB: S.Boucher (5).
Team LOB: 7.
BF: P.Moran 29, Y.Ibanez 5, M.Lyons 4.
P-S: P.Moran 118-73, Y.Ibanez 21-10, M.Lyons 20-15.
BF: B.Rembisz 26, R.Oliveros 9, G.Duguay 3.
P-S: B.Rembisz 95-61, R.Oliveros 34-23, G.Duguay 11-8.
INTO THE EVENING NOW WITH LIGHT THAT ILLUMINES THE STARS.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL