#770 – Dick Bernard: Exorcising "Power"

The word in the subject line, “exorcising”, is not misspelled, and the quotation marks around “Power” are intended.
This morning’s Minneapolis Star Tribune had as it’s primary front page story, “[Minnesota] Orchestra board firm in face of the risks”. The story runs 36 column inches and (as of 9:30 a.m.) if it is in the on-line edition as yet, it is in hiding somewhere within that on-line edition.
It will probably be on-line sometime later today.
In addition to the length and placement of the story, I noted the emphasis. Four lines of the story, one on page one, and the rest on page three, and another column inch or so later in the story, were devoted to the Musicians Union position.
My constituency – we’re called “listeners” or “audience” usually – didn’t seem to merit attention, as has been the case till now.
The three top officials of the Orchestra board met on “Tuesday [Sep 4?] with the Star Tribune editorial board”, the story said. For each of them, the trip to the Star Tribune would be an easy walk from their offices in downtown Minneapolis. One of the Orchestra board’s members is noted on page two of the paper as Publisher and CEO of the Minneapolis Star Tribune Co.
The seeming life or death struggle in downtown Minneapolis at 1111 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis 55403 is a classic example of exercise of brute strength – “Power” in the traditional hierarchical sense.
There is really nothing very complicated about Power. More than 25 years ago I heard a talk which pretty much laid out the potential – and peril – of seemingly invincible “Power”. I wrote about it some time ago, here, Nov. 17, 2011. It is fairly short and speaks for itself.
The tiny minority who exercise “Power”, such as those three Orchestra Board chieftains who went in to meet with the Star Tribune Editorial Board (there’s probably an editorial ahead), know how to leverage their brands of power, such as described in the above referenced blog post.
But my guess is that the architects of the crisis at Orchestra Hall are also terrified about being found out and exposed for what they are, a tiny group who managed to take over and is blaming the victims for their own self-made problem, which is rapidly becoming a looming disaster.
“The people” in this case is probably not the general public, as most folks don’t go to the Orchestra and have only a vague notion of how important that institution is, or how little spade work the Board did to get support from the audience when they were supposedly in crisis.
“The people” are the folks who have been in the audience – the listeners – who in many and diverse ways have power to influence the future of this Orchestra we love.
Playing by the “Power folks” rules won’t solve things. All that is required is a bit of thinking outside of the box.
I know what I’m going to do personally. I’ve stated it publicly.
To everyone else, your call.
from Jim P. Sep 4, 2013:
Just a thought on your meaningful blog title – it’s disastrous when people who grew up outside the walls get in charge inside the walls, especially for those who remain outside.

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