Listening to Wesleyan

This morning as I was preparing my class, I smiled as I heard yet another report on the impact of campaign spending on the primary elections. The ads in this election cycle, the NPR reporter stressed, have been among the most negative we have ever seen. So, why was I smiling? The analysis was based on reports from the Wesleyan Media Project. Erika Franklin Fowler and her colleagues and students have been busy coding and analyzing data from around the country, enabling us to better understand the impact of big spenders, especially from SuperPacs, on our civic discourse. I wonder if our guest Thursday night will speak to this topic, and to the role of the Citizens United decision in creating our current political climate.

Over the weekend I heard a radio report about Paul Weitz’s (’88) new film, About Flynn. Paul is a proud Wes alumnus who has remained very connected to alma mater. He made a splash not long after graduation with the comedy American Pie (and later Meet the Fockers), and he has worked on animation films (Antz), television (Fantasy Island), and now written and directed the drama About Flynn. Paul also has had a hand in independent movies, online shows, documentaries as well as theater. His play, Lonely, I’m Not, is currently being cast for a run in New York.

On campus the season for senior theses plays and recitals is picking up steam. Sophie and I enjoyed Mao The Musical recently, Alan Rodi’s (’12) opera. When we return from Spring Break there will be a great series of performances by our soon-to-be Wes grads.

On Thursday, March 8 at 3:15 and 4:15, Professor Neely Bruce will lead two performances of The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets for two performances in the Wesleyan’s Memorial Chapel. You can read an interview with Prof. Bruce about his music here.

And don’t forget about AuralWes, the website about student music events/concerts on campus. The website is looking for good listeners who are also good writers.


2 thoughts on “Listening to Wesleyan”

  1. Michael-we’ve met several times. I’m class of ’74 (religion major, but did my thesis on Brecht, Lukacs and Marxist aesthetic theory w our late friend/mentor Norman Rudich in COL). You may remember my son Sam is a sophomore and I’m thrilled that my daughter Emma will be a Wes freshman next yr.
    I’m a union lawyer, which has taken me from NYC to investigations of death squad killings of labor activists in El Salvador (and I’m happy to see last week’s news that the despicable former Salvadoran defense minister, whom I interviewed in his bunker surrounded by his American PR advisors, has finally been called to acount and deported from his comfortable Fla retirement for, among many other atrocities, ordering the infamous murders of 4 US churchwomen), investigation of US-supported contra atrocities in Nicaragua to the Teamster reform movement to serving as General Counsel of the Teamsters in DC during a time of massive oversight and reform, and many stops in between. So, I have a longstanding interest in, and antipathy toward, all the damage Justice Scalia and his ilk of so-called “originalists” have done to individual rights, labor rights and the electoral process. Although I will be on campus tomorrow evening, to watch Sam’s band play, then to head out with him Fri when his break starts, I undertstand the Scalia lecture is sold out. I assume he’ll be asked questions about Bush v Gore and the ludicrous and intelelctually bankrupt Citizens United decision, which has deeply harmed our electoral system and pushed it even more toward the oligarchical model I saw in Central America, where a few families control the wealth and the government. But I hope he’s also asked to opine on a corollary to Citizens United, namely, if corporations are people and their money is speech, so they enjoy those RIGHTS, why arent corporations held to the OBLIGATIONS individual citizens are? Does he support, for example, jurisdiction of international tribunals investigating corporate involvement in corruption and human rights cases abroad? If Amanda Knox can sit in an Italian prison for years, why not Coca Cola? Of course, the list is long,but I wonder what his views are. Having worked on corporate liability under state constitutions and laws for the labor movement, I can say that one might be suprised to see the restrictive language on corporations in many state laws and codes from back in the day when corporations-a relatively recent “innovation” in human history- were not considered the fount of all wisdom (and wealth). I’ve gone on too long, but I hope someone asks the usually charming Scalia, who is unjustly touted for his intellect, why his Court insists on undermining individual rights (surely something conservatives and the infallible “Founders” should agree on), while expanding the rights of corporations which, of course, are nowhere found in the sacred text of the Constitution. Finally, I’d be curious to know good Catholic Scalia’s views on the current odious attacks on women under the guise of protecting Catholic religious freedom, as well as his response to papist Santorum’s comments that JFK’s tremendous speech on the role of religion in American political life made him want “to throw up” (just the kind of statesmanlike formulation you want in a president). While I applaud the decison to have Scalia speak, I hope he gets the reception he deserves, in the best Wes tradition of tolerance and civility, of course. Regards, Rick Gilberg

  2. Hi, Rick,
    The alumni listserv is currently emboiled in a spirited discussion of what different people saw and heard (or, think they did) during Scalia’s visit. You also just missed a post from Bud Spurgeon with a link to some incredible photographs of Wesleyan from the seventies. Send a blank e-mail to with subject line “subscribe weschat-l.”

    Wonderful hearing about your work and children.

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