Friday, May 10, 2013

Leaving The Star


The first time someone used the budding cliche  "It is what it is" in a conversation with me, an awkward silence followed.  It was my awkwardness, because I was thinking to myself:  "I bet you believe you just said something that has meaning, but darned if I know what that might be."

The more I heard the expression, the less awkward I felt about the silence. In fact, I inferred that the more I heard people offer the sentiment to signal that acceptance of a situation was called for, the more it became clear that they expected a brief silence to follow, which they took as respectful.  So I grew accustomed to nodding my head slowly, as if processing the wisdom of "It is what it is."  I knew better than to respond with something like "Boy, you got that right!  It certainly isn't what it isn't!"

I'm starting to feel it's important sometimes to just put a moratorium on delving into complexity. Thus, I no longer feel very superior to "It is what it is." And there is complexity behind my decision to resign my position at The Indianapolis Star.  I've worked for The Star for 26 years and 8 months and change.  And goodness gracious was there change!  In future posts in the next few days I will look back -- I hope not too tediously -- on some of the ways in which my career in newspapering came during the last great era when working on a newspaper was far different from "being media." I've had a lot of luck, most of it the good kind.

So I still resist the sense of shoulder-shrugging -- "What can you do?" -- that lies complacently in "It is what it is." There is certainly -- in the First World, at least, despite all its troubles -- much you can do about sauntering down a blind alley that at one time looked like it led somewhere.  There are ways to back out, there are hidden turns you really ought to explore, there's likely a path that wants to be broken through dense foliage.

I see myself thriving on this blog, responding to the arts scene around me, making it clear that I'm not in love with my opinions (I hope), but that my perspective after so much practice of cultural journalism in central Indiana might contribute fruitfully to the arts conversation. I like to think I can encourage people to develop their own thoughtful responses to the arts just by modeling that behavior. I'm dreaming that ever more significant numbers of people will join me.

In the meantime, it is what it is.