Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Call me Jessica...

I was somewhat amused Monday when I read Marc Monroe Dion's latest column in the Herald News. Just paint the thing already says Marc. The whole idea is a stupid diversionary tactic by those of us who are too easily diverted. Such simple ideas may work in the land of 5 year olds, such as the imaginary Jessica, a character of Marc's creation, but not in the real world.

I won't flatter myself to think Marc was singling me out, although his scorn for painting it blue makes me wonder.

Marc feels by wasting everyones time with this foolish idea, if he can even call it that, we're ignoring the real issues that face the city. By talking about the bridge color we're taking our eye of the ball!

The problem is this isn't baseball. We're not just standing here waiting for one ball to sail our way, there are tons of balls flying at us all at once. We have to try to keep our eye on all of them, all the issues that we face, even the minor ones.

Nothing has held this city back as much as the mindset that we need to focus on just the big issues, the grim problems that face our city. Folks that mindset has gotten accomplished nothing, except to provide good ol' Marc with an endless supply of things to christen with his wit.

Is the color of the Braga Bridge the most important issue in Fall River? No! Is it worthy of discussion? Definitely. Nobody thinks painting the bridge red or orange or whatever color is going to bring in tourists, jobs and prosperity. What is being suggested is a change of color might bring a change of attitude, a little pride, and maybe generate a little buzz. I certainly don't think painting my living room will somehow restore the carpet and fix the bad outlet, but it will make me feel better about my house. It will make me feel more positive about its appearance and its potential. Why shouldn't we consider that on a larger scale?

Certainly the Herald didn't think is was a waste of ink when they ran the article stating that the bridge would not be changing color. Turns out they were a little premature in that statement. They certainly didn't feel it was a waste of your time to put up an online poll, which they conveniently pulled by the time Marc's column ran.

Marc himself didn't feel it was a waste of time to continue the diversion by writing yet another column about the color of the bridge. This last part is particularly insulting, if Marc thought there were other topics in need of discussion why didn't he just WRITE about one of them?

When I read Marc's column I was reminded of a documentary I had seen on President Lincoln. It was mentioned that while the Lincoln presidency was consumed by the Civil War the President still focused on several progressive policies and domestic issues. Gee you don't face much larger problems than a civil war! I couldn't help but think of Providence's renaissance. How did Providence move forward on this long term goal with all the real issues they faced. Providence certainly faces issues with crime and poverty and education and drugs and to think how much time they have wasted on stupid diversions. It's scandal!

Marc certainly doesn't think painting the bridge a different color is a good idea. Why should he? Can you imagine if we actually did little things like this? Can you imagine if we started making changes to move toward a better Fall River? If that were to happen what in the world would Marc Monroe Dion have to write about?


Tom Paine said...

Remember this, Marc is a columnist. He gets paid to rant and rave. The unfortunate thing about Marc is that he has a very simplistic mind.

He does not realize that there are always going to be big problems that must be handled but in this world you cannot ignore the small one either.

For instance, in Marc's small tiny world if his car blew up that would be a huge problem, just as it would be a huge problem in all our lives. But in Marc's small world he would be able to concentrate only on that one problem.

Now while that huge problem was taking place a bird crapped on his shirt, Marc would say:

"Duh, I have to leave that crap on the shirt because I have a bigger problem with my car"

The rest of us would say:

"I have to change this shirt so I can continue getting the car fixed."

Some day the HN will hire (I Hope) a columnist with a more expansive brain, but until then we have to accept Marc's ranting, raving, and dribble.

Faye Musselman said...

Frankly, I think changing the color of the Braga Bridge could have been incorporated with a massive PR campaign of "Change is on the Way".

Crossing that bridge with a new color would have invoked the obvious question: "Wonder why they changed the color?" There could have been media interviews, press releases, signage within town, promotion by the Chamber, window front posters, a special event - family and business focused - on City Hall plaza, promoting "Changing Fall River".

But then you have to put some money where your mouth is - and most obviously identify and have a plan for what's to change and in what direction. And that latter bit has been what's held Fall River in a chokehold for decades.

Still, I think changing the color of the Bridge would have sent a message.

reality check said...

Personally I really have no opinion, nor preference, on the color of the Braga Bridge. Sorry Faye but the last thing we need is another PR event that goes nowhere. Then again if "Change is on the Way", or "Changing Fall River" means getting rid of the mayor and a few city councilors, then that's change people can believe in.

Scout said...

To me, the specific color of the bridge (although I would def support a more vibrant color than the green) matters less than the fact that it's ALWAYS rusty.

[Why is it always rusty, btw? Do other communities just paint their bridges more often?]

Combined with the constant highway construction, the under-City Hall construction, the blind merges with no breakdown lanes, etc. the apparent lack of upkeep on this iconic symbol of FR sends a very unfortunate message about the city. And, as Lefty so eloquently points out, it's a downer for residents and visitors alike. It's like the suspension bridge version of broken window syndrome.

Whether it's painted yellow, red, or purple, I hope there's an effort to keep it in good REPAIR.

New England Bites said...

My friend Gregg wrote a letter to the editor about this a few days ago. It seems that The Herald is just now catching up.