June 27, 2007

a good man is so hard to find

**Note: I started this entry a couple weeks ago but didn't get a chance to finish and post it till now.**

I'm back working on the Huntley newspaper and I've been digging around for some story ideas. Shaw Newspapers, which owns the Northwest Herald and the Kane County Chronicle, has a weekly paper in Huntley. I was looking through some old stories online when I came across this a story about Huntley High School board member Larry Snow, who objected to an English teacher teaching Flannery O'Connor's 1955 short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find," because he "took issue with its violent imagery, which ends with an escaped prisoner killing a family after they are involved in a car accident."

He goes on to say that, ďItís not about censorship. Itís about asking the question of whether this is appropriate content. It hasnít been approved. Itís not on any approved [reading] list.Ē

I'm still amazed whenever I see something like this. What country and what century are we living in? Whenever I hear about a school board member wanting to censor stories or novels that are taught in English classes, it reminds me of the oath that elected officials take when they are sworn in. Part of that oath is to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Last time I checked, the First Amendment was still part of the constitution.

Now, I know there are limits on First Amendment freedoms when it comes to schools. Schools are allowed to enforce dress-code policies banning clothing with certain words or pictures. They are allowed to punish students for saying or writing things in class. But when it comes to literature that is taught in class, I can't believe there are members of school boards across the country that try to ban material their personal tastes find "innappropriate."

The argument that it's not about censorship is ridiculous, especially since he says it's about regulating content. That's the definition of censorship.

SONG OF THE MOMENT:
"Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" - U2

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June 5, 2007

stay for a while

As everyone who's reading this probably already know, I was recently offered a reporting job by the daily newspaper in Bloomington. I would have been the lone reporter in their Pontiac bureau. I also would have been required to live in the town. After a lot of thought and consideration, I let them know today that I won't be taking the job.

It was a really difficult decision for me and it required that I weigh a lot of different financial, professional and social factors. I'm the kind of person who can be decisive when I need to be. But when it comes to making major life decisions, I can be worse then Hamlet. When trying to make this decision, I found myself leaning in a different direction each day (and sometimes vacillating between the two five or six times in one day).

What made this decision particularly difficult was that when I sat down to weigh the pros and cons, there seemed to be exactly the same amount of weight on each side of the scale. And when I thought of something that might tip it in one direction or the other, I soon came up with an equally weighted something to balance it out.

Finally, like many decisions in life, it came down to money. While it would have been a bit of a step up professionally and would have come with a sizable pay increase, all that extra money would have gone to paying for my living expenses.

I said it came down to money, but really, I think the social implications might have had a bigger part in what I decided. I still worry that maybe I'm afraid to leave the comfort of my little suburban bubble, but I imagined myself getting really bored and lonely down there without any friends or family close by. I think of myself as a pretty independent person and I enjoy my time to myself, but I think I also depend on having people nearby.

Maybe I'm just afraid to take a risk and try something new. That's something that worried me. But at this time, I think I made the right choice.

SONG OF THE MOMENT:
Either Way - Wilco

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