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DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER: On The Sunny Side  

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Without Lex Luther, Clark Kent was just a mild-manner newspaper reporter (although we’d like to think that a mild manner newspaperman is something powerful as well). And, with that in mind, as America has adjusted to a new president over the past several weeks, we have been encouraged and impressed by the superhero alter egos millions of Americans are displaying, as millions (and, yes, literally and factually millions) of citizens are flexing their political muscles. From street protests the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration to smaller gestures like donations to organizations protecting immigration, free speech and choice.

However, narcissist win, in part, because they can suck all the oxygen from the room. The news feeds in the country have been dominated by the scatter shot of policy changes from the White House, and while we agree that now is an important time to voice concern, we also want to score our own minor victory by focusing and profiling what is good and exciting in the Rogue Valley, and controlling our own conversations.

Towards that end, this is our Restaurant Issue, and we are so proud and impressed by how the American dream is playing out; each restaurant is an individual’s dream, and its own community of servers, patrons and food suppliers. Truly, within each restaurant, the American dream is on full display, and that alone deserves recognition and celebration.

Our oh-so-wonderful food reviewer Melissa Haskin has been busy these past few weeks. She has been visiting and talking with chefs in the area as they prepare for Ashland Restaurant Week. Her interviews are published in this issue’s feature (page XX), and we hope that better understanding the people who prepare your meals make that dining experience more interesting and profound.

Also, Melissa visited Si Casa Xpress in Grants Pass for her regular column, Cheap Eats. And yes, it is worth pointing out here how much food is one of the strongest representations about how much this country is built on immigrants, and their unique cultures.  

Our food “reporting” for this issue is rounded out by our writer Charles Fischman who talks with Jefferson Public Radio about their 36th annual wine tasting. Again, in how many ways can we identify the various threads and connections that build a community: This is an event about celebrating a local radio station that brings so much information and entertainment to the region, with about three dozen vineyards from the area, and layered on with about a dozen Rogue Valley restaurants.

And, moving from food and drink to news, we are pleased to report on a new radio station in Cave Junction. For the past few years, residents there have been gathering funds and equipment to launch a radio station that will be truly locally-grown. And really, should the media be much different than how we value our food? That is, we truly believe that locally-grown media is as important to the health of a community as locally-grown food; specifically, consider that the state of the media in America has paralleled the concerns many of you have for the state of the food systems—and eating habits—in this country, that much of the news we consume is not produced locally, and tends to deliver fluff rather than information that is nutritional to our lives. Consider that two years ago Kim Kardashian received 40 times more media coverage than environmental threats to the world’s oceans. And, the impact from this focus of the media is troubling:  In a recent survey, more Americans can name contestants on “American Idol” than the mayor of their city. Yes, OMG!

But again, we are happy to report on important countertrends, like the new radio station in Cave Junction, and we believe that the Messenger, which starts its fourth year of publication this month, is an important addition.

Finally, this issue kicks off voting for our annual Best Of. For the next three weeks, we ask each of you to tell us where you find your favorite burrito, your favorite karaoke, and (thinking ahead to summer) your favorite swimming hole.

It isn’t trite to say that there is so much good in the world. Yes, it has been a difficult and stressful several weeks, but we are heartened by how we have watched many of you respond with dignity and respect, and also been reminded to look around and see what is going right in our communities, and that is a lot.

 

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