SPRINGSIDE PARK CLEANUP TOMORROW! PLEASE JOIN THE FUN, SINCE PERMIT IS IN HAND … WHY IS THE BARAN CASE STILL RELEVANT? PLANET SPELLS IT OUT … plus … WATCH THE TRAILERS FOR THE FILM PITTSFIELD M-U-S-T SEE, ‘FREEING BERNIE BARAN’
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
ADD #1 FRIDAY, APRIL 20
SPRINGSIDE PARK CLEANUP WILL HAPPEN, WITH OR (MORE LIKELY) WITHOUT CLEANUP
THE PLANET reminds everyone of the all-day cleanup at Springside Park, scheduled to begin tomorrow at 9 a.m. Please support this wonderful community effort. Volunteers will have the chance to show officials how it’s done.
The latest we heard about the effort, The Friends of Springside Park did obtain a permit for this activity. In a communication with one of the FOSP leaders, both written and in person, we learned that:
(a) the group had been warned it needed a permit to do a much-needed job that will cost the city not a red cent;
(b) there was not the inclination to run through the Ramsdellian Gauntlet, also known as the absurd permitting process in place, Gestapo-like, in the city of Pittsfield; Nonetheless, the group filled out the form, got the signatures, and the Parks Commission gave its OK. Seems like THE PLANET’s reportage on the Pittsfield permitting process has produced results. This one came a little easier. See, it does pay to fight city hall.
(c) the group, apparently, will be not have to call the city’s bluff. For a while, it looked like they might dare the city to bust them for being citizen heroes. However, we are told by Nomad, permits are in hand. Now, when Deanna’s Stormtroopers ask, “Do you haff zee pay-pahs,” the FOSP will be able to say, “Ya vol. Ist un mit here.”
THE PLANET had reassure FOSP and volunteers who help them, they would have nothing to worry about if they went au natural — We would have seen to that. It would have made a great story, though, if Deanna’s private police had to drag people off to the dungeon.
We thank Nomad for his update on the permit.
EVEN AFTER 28 YEARS, BARAN CASE IS AS RELEVANT AS TODAY
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012) — Below you will find a couple of trailers for the film, Freeing Bernie Baran.
THE PLANET has been pressed on the issue of relevance. How can a 28-year-old case be relevant today? Our response: Given the reasons why Bernie Baran was charged, the manner in which he was prosecuted, the secrecy that still enshrouds the “why” of the case, and the civic ordeal of having to endure nearly a generation of the continued moral decline that has infested too many official seats of power of a once-proud city, how can this NOT be relevant? Our critics have no answer.
‘Knowing Nothing?’ At One Time, True, but Not Today
We have been accused of “knowing nothing about the case.” We disagree, having read in the last couple years an exhaustive amount of information generated by the case over the years, including court documents, transcripts, interviews, and the like. At the time of the case, we regret to say, the case did not grab our attention, despite the manner in which the local media, particularly the Boring Broadsheet, willingly participated in Baran’s betrayal and crucifixion. We were too busy building up a business. We were wrong, then, to be oblivious. We are right, now, in our rectification.
We have challenged our critics to produce definitive evidence to support their allegations. They can’t, because they have none. In fact, all they have are generalized slurs, myopic and unfocused slings that use many words to say nothing. On the other hand, THE PLANET has dealt with matters of the fact and the record. In The Baran Case, the record, ultimately, is not something with which our critics are comfortable. To fact, they react as Dracula does to a garlic clove.
At the time of Baran’s ordeal, no one other than his family stepped forward from the community to offer him help. He stood alone, against The Man and The Machine.
We cannot change that, but we can attempt to rectify the wrong. We can do this not simply to redeem the past but to ensure a better future. For if even the smallest residue of corruption that WAS The Baran Case still operates in Pittsfield, Mass., the community will have a better prognosis if it finds the strength to face this horrible chapter of its past and eliminate all traces of it in the present. Remember, the sins committed by officials to waylay Bernie Baran were committed on your name. Prosecutors acted for “The People.” We need to come clean.
At its most benign, the best we can say about The Baran Case was that officials made a grave but honest mistake that robbed an innocent man of the best years of his life. At worst, we can wonder if the Baran Case might be the Achilles Heel that opens up vulnerability for a much larger issue than the innocence of one man.
For all these reason, Pittsfield, Mass., M-U-S-T be allowed to see the film, Freeing Bernie Baran.
Here is one review for the film, published at smellslikescreenspirit.com. The underlines are THE PLANET’s:
We shall take our leave here, rather than at the end. We did you all a great weekend.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.
—– 00 —–
Director: Daniel Alexander
Writer(s): Daniel Alexander
Bernie Baran had one strike against him when he took a job at a daycare center—he was gay. By today’s standards (not that today’s standards are great), Baran’s sexuality would not have been a big deal, but in the homophobic environment festering in the 1980s, Bernie became the target of a bizarre hatred toward gays gripping not only the small town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he lived, but of a nation blinded by the fear of homosexuals and the recent spread of AIDS.
Baran would eventually be tried and convicted of a crime that never took place, a fact that would play a pivotal role in future legal battles. With Bernie’s case so unbelievably fraudulent, it is hard to imagine that any human being possessing cognitive thought could not see through the lies that would take twenty-one years of a man’s life. What is most shocking is that literally no one in this community (with the exception of his family) offered to help Bernie Baran out a predicament that was so unjust; still, to his detriment, Baran continued to have faith in a justice system that had completely ignored the truth.
Director Daniel Alexander takes the PowerPoint presentation approach with Freeing Bernie Baran, and while it could be argued that this is a low-budget technique (it does look a little low-budget), it is nonetheless a rather effective tool in showing the extreme absurdity of the events that transpired. Through this point-by-point analysis, the audience is able to follow the freakish contradictions and inaccuracies that make Bernie’s ordeal so mind-boggling. In addition, this method not only makes the film easy to follow, but was also a nice way to break up various segments of the documentary.
The majority of the documentary is divided between Bernie’s family and his legal battle. The former shows Baran to be a loving kid with no hang-ups or eccentricities to speak of. This helps to reinforce the fact that Baran was not some twisted, evil “gay” bent on molesting children. The latter deals with the astounding circumstances surrounding Baran’s case. The most prevalent issue that comes to mind is that there seemed to be more concern over the possible negative impact the truth might have on prominent officials involved in the trial. It is shocking that, considering their erroneous behavior, these individuals would be shown any leniency whatsoever, and in the end, not be held responsible for what is nothing less than criminal activity.
Freeing Bernie Baran is an engrossing documentary that will leave you pondering the legitimacy of the American justice system. Where once racial profiling in the prison system seemed to be the iniquité du jour for media outlets to report, this is the first time I have seen anything so blatant dealing with an individual being convicted based solely on their sexual orientation; if ever there was a case of someone being railroaded, this is that case. For all those that have believed the justice system in our nation exists without fault, this documentary should change your views. if you are in the camp that has little faith in the system, Freeing Bernie Baran will help only to further your distrust.
Freeing Bernie Baran will be premiering at aGLIFF on Saturday, September 11, 2010 (1:30pm) at the Alamo South Lamar in Austin, Texas. For more information visit aGLIFF at http://www.agliff.org/ or at the Freeing Bernie BaranFacebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Freeing-Bernie-Baran/324974408062.