Ranting

A New View

December 29th, 2011

Perception is a funny thing, the same piece of reality offering completely different views according to those observing.

If the reality is seen as too bright, it can blind you to the risks. If too dark, no real vision of what’s possible is possible. If you can see the risks, you can avoid them. If you stay in the dark, you run into walls.

In my view, we should look for the light.

As published in The Daily News, December 30, 2011, and in The Memphis News, December 31, 2011-January 6, 2012

American Queen

NEW YEAR INDEED.

As 2012 dawns, we’ll be able to see a number of things in a positive, new light – if only we’ll allow ourselves to look at it that way.

A Downtown icon that almost became a parking lot is now writing a new song, and praise will be offered in brand-new ways for architect Francis Gassner’s seminal and long-neglected C&I Bank Building. Positive change is being heard in the Visible College of Music.

Or is that just another weird use for a weird building?

A parking lot for a Midtown icon drowning in decline will now save it and keep thousands of heads above water in a creative public/private partnership. Positive change will rise in Overton Square, and flood waters will go down in Lick Creek.

Or is that just pouring more public money down a drain?

A city that hung out of its car windows to bark at bicycles and rushed out of storefronts to nip at them like neighborhood dogs has now made room for them, choosing to fetch progress rather than roll over and play dead. Positive change is pedaling down Southern, North Parkway, and Madison on dedicated lanes with more on the way.

Or is that just more of those irritating jerks in spandex and pointy helmets getting in our way?

In a county whose public school math has always been division, we’re putting our systems and our heads together to address and solve our shared problems as one county, to multiply the chances for our one shared hope – our kids. Positive change is the agenda of the Transition Planning Commission, and the curriculum of the combined city and county school systems.

Or is that just a waste of time since we want nothing to do with Memphis and we’ve already decided to build our own separate school system anyway? You know, separate but equal?

In romantic recognition of our larger-than-life past and riding a current of demand, the largest riverboat ever built will make Memphis its home port in 2012, having already delivered a national headquarters, and now carrying sold-out cargoes of curious and well-heeled passengers. Positive change, the American Queen and the future of the Great American Steamboat Company are docking at the foot of Beale Street.

Or is that just somebody else from out of town with their hand out for subsidies, dropping by for a while and dumping off a couple of boatloads of strangers a year to justify that strange, over-budget, whatever-it-is pod thing they’re building down there?

Song or sour note? Renaissance or rip-off? Progressive move or roadblock? Our best opportunity to get it together or best excuse to tear it apart? Tourist dollars or bilge?

In other words, you can look at the new year as so many around here like to every year, with a cynically dark view informed by a professional inferiority complex and myopic lack of vision, or you can view it from a new perspective.

You can look for positive change.

I’m a Memphian. Positively.

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