And here it is folks. Post number 100 for the Fermatd blog. Two key items to discuss in this historic entry: First, the marching band at the University of Nevada. Second, the tag I use to sign off all of my blogs…
In 1994, I moved to Reno to attend the University of Nevada on a music scholarship. If you participated in the marching band, you earned a full tuition wavier worth 12 units. That was just the kind of help I needed to go to college. After four years I graduated. I went back and played in the band for homecoming a few times, but I really didn’t think much more about it.
Though it always surprises me, it usually takes some kind of crisis for you to stand up and take notice of something that you didn’t fully appreciate. In this case, the president of the University of Nevada had slated the marching band for elimination due to budget cuts.
I am going to take the opportunity to do something I seldom do here:
The arts are inextricably linked to humanity. Without the arts, it would become difficult to distinguish ourselves from our closest genetic relatives. The arts challenge us and bring us to a better place in our lives. By taking the time to create and appreciate, we can further refine our senses, making us much more perceptive to those around us. Lamentably, the general direction of society is moving to the ‘least common denominator’ style of thinking. Music does not seem to serve much of a purpose, so it is taught less and less in school. As it is taught less, people understand it less and music becomes something that is hard to do, therefore, not worth doing. Appreciation of art requires time, study and commitment. We often lambast those who take the time to learn and study the arts as snobby and elite. That gesture then pulls us lower into the mental primordial ooze. Now we perceive a distance between ‘us’ and ‘them’, a distance that does not exist per se. That distance requires our ignorance and consent. As we continue to sink, the ‘lofty’ ideal of the arts becomes more and more ludicrous and we begin to lose sight of the reason for the arts. Finally we take the universal action towards the things we do not understand. We try to eliminate it. Now all that is left is a football team.
The juxtaposition of a marching band to a football team is a close pairing relative to their parents, being music and sports; however, woe to the person who suggests that we impose a limitation on the football team! The sad fact is that the football team makes money, whereas the marching band takes money. So we eliminate the marching band and continue our slide into the cultural sewer. And here is the worst part:
We feel good because we think we made progress on a problem.
I am happy to say that the marching band was saved, at least for another year. The mayor of Reno, Bob Cashell, along with countless others, like Kiara Wolfe, led the effort to save the band. Only time will tell if we can keep the band, but it will be there for the 2009 marching season. Now we just need a new sign to tell the football team to get off our damn field.
Now, to the sign off. I have lost track of the number of people who have asked me what the:
And so it goes.
means. The ‘And so it goes.’ Is from the novel, Slaughterhouse-Five by the late Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Every time someone dies, Vonnegut writes, ‘And so it goes.’ To me it represents the end of something (a life, a blog entry) and the beginning of a new something (a life, a blog entry).
The ‘f’ is just the first letter of ‘fermatd’. For Fermat, go to one of my first posts. What’s the ‘d’ all about? I’ll tell you at post 200…
And so it goes.