Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Local news

Local newsstand in Chios


What is local news?

When reading newspapers, it is not enough to know what kind of news is being sold to everyone who happens to be passing by. News was defined by Kant as something similar to an accident, that is when the expected collides with the unexpected such as truck with a train. However, the painter Andjei Woron exclaimed that he as a Polish person living and working in Berlin after martial law had forced him to leave Poland, that he would read the same newspapers as the Germans but with a big difference for he would sell  to himself quite some other news. He would attach a different importance to even small details someone integrated into that particular society would not even notice.

News is important not only in terms of knowing what is happening in the world, but what shall require a response such as an outbreak of war or a crisis being caused by floods or an earthquake, that differs then in how organizations and even states initiate something from how oneself reacts to first news coming in when something has happened.

For Kids' Guernica it is crucial how the bombardment of Guernica was reported. At first Franco tried to frame the Left as if they had put the city on fire. Luckily there was a journalist present who could contradict this propaganda and told the world what had really happened in Guernica. 

That then touches different communication and moral levels. It involves as much deception as propaganda efforts which in an age of communication have become much more refined. Crucial in all cases is what awareness continues to persist in terms of being able to do something about what is being reported about e.g. the war in Iraq or climate change. For the news can easily sell at the same time the message that nothing can be done since it is a fait accompli or else too big a problem for anyone to do something about it.

Jean Amery describes his own reaction when he sat on a bench in a park of Zurich. That was in Mai 1933, shortly after Hitler had become chancellor of Germany. He did not need to open up the newspaper as the headline on the first page caught already his attention. He learned that the German government no longer considers people and citizens like him as German but only as a Jew.

Seldom do people make it into the newspaper. If you do, you are considered already to be famous. Of course, it depends for what reasons. In Canada to make it becomes quite easy once a track and field star and especially after having won the race for the school. There are also other reasons for catching the public eye’s attention e.g. saving someone’s life and receiving a medal of honor from the governor general or else being the valedictory speaker for your graduating class. It matters how social integration works as it favors those who contribute themselves to integration by being successful according to criteria of society.

In other words, local news are often not news but a way of propagating something or else by celebrating with those who get medals, it becomes something like a social recognition when local newspapers bring stories about a successful bazaar to collect money for animals astray or else for supporting the war veterans. There are always the enthusiastic wives of successful husbands who can organize these social events and since money is involved, they too shall be mentioned. As if everyone is aware and knows what it takes to achieve things in society. Things follow a materialistic logic.

However, newspapers are equally about forgetfulness: what splashes across the front pages one day is already old snow the next day. Pablo Neruda describes in an epic poem men who are celebrated as big heroes by all newspapers the day they fought off a giant octopus. One of their men was taken by the sea monster to the depth of the sea, the rudder of the ship smashed while the rest fought bravely off those long arms. When they finally returned to the harbor, news spread quickly and so all the local newspapers reported about their great deed. But when they bought the same newspapers the next day, their names had disappeared and not a trace was left. Attention had turned already to something new. Pablo Neruda describes how these strong men “grew afraid of a world filled with so much forgetfulness”. They took to drinking so much till the tracks for the railway leading down to the port became all wobbly. They could no longer make out a straight line in their thoughts.

Newspapers, and in general the media, stand for the oblivion which the world seems to prefer. Today’s scandals are already forgotten the next day. In return, politicians and others count on this forgetfulness. It matches with leaving no traces by having one’s traces being covered up by others. A prerequisite for that is to be pulled out of the limelight.

News is not about human pain, tragedy, happiness and especially about learning processes, but comply with what the philosopher Kant had already defined as news, namely when the expected collides with the unexpected. Any accident of two cars smashing into each other attracts more attention from by standers than what would be needed if to be observant as to the life going on around oneself.

News are exploit the notion of sensations to which scandals are made into before they disappear without the real actors behind the scene having been revealed.

What then can be expected when Kids’ Guernica paintings from different parts of the world are exhibited on the platia on the Greek island of Chios? Will the news about what is happening in Lebanon reach those who pass by the exhibition on their way to work?

There is the peace mural from Chicago. There were involved two Greek American schools as sign of the Greek diaspora and two American schools. It could be expected that some linkages were brought about as there live people in Chicago who had come originally from Chicago. Why does this news from Chicago does not strike a chord amongst the people in Chios?

As all editors and journalists would say, the fine line / small print matters in any contract, but what about our own secret contracts with life? When do we ever receive the news that this contract with life has either been broken or never fulfilled? Sabine would say we suffer then the consequences for the “rest of our lives”!


 Gabriele reading to Stella and Sabine (neary 2 years old in 2006) while sharing a bench with two citizens of Chios



On the other side

of the Atlantic ocean

hear the beat

breathing down 

like hurricanes do

to scatter poems like leaves

written in ancient times

but only now fluttering in

to chatter like geese do

about what they saw

on their way here

for in the dust

stands written:

'don't scream!'

as if to bury

in silence

the last wish

to avoid a waste land 

for who knows

what shall stand

written on the first page

if not the headline:

"poets set free poets"

since that is meant

by passing on news

like pulses of life

to see if mankind

is still alive.

HF 19.7.2013


Written in memory of poets William Carlos Williams and Norb Blei who kept always their ears to the ground and still knew what was happening in the world.

LOCAL COLOR: Fanfare for the (un)Common Man
by Olaf Uffda 


Olaf sits in his comfortable rocker at night, perusing a stack of local papers from all over the Midwest that friends send him or he picks up in his travels. He likes to keep in touch with local stuff. He’s been disenchanted for years with the state of the newspaper business, what passes for news in all the local publications here in DearDourCounty. Papers of little or no substance. Papers and publications owned by chains or transplanted outsiders who profess their undying ‘love’ for the County, pretend to be insiders, but are all in the same boat, selling the place down the river as fast as they can.

He starts reading a story from a local paper, independently owned, in another part of the state. A story about a 100 year old man. Something like a smile comes over Olaf’s face. Yeah, he says to himself, nodding his head. This is some of what it used to be all about. ‘Human interest.’ A real story. Real people. Something these corporate clones, “editor-marketers” have no nose for, no time or space for. Instead, fill their limp publications with postage stamp stories and sleep-inducing columns—leaving plenty of room for advertising. And stories about advertisers.

Olaf likes the story about the 100-year old man so much that he reaches for his scissors to save it. That’s another measure of the writing found in local papers. If you aren’t clipping-out stories occasionally and passing them around, your local paper and publications are pretty much crap.

So Olaf says.


Aage Duch of Sarona observes his 100th birthday on Tuesday. His family is planning a big celebration to mark the milestone on Sunday, April 20.

The longtime Sarona area resident was born in 1908 in Thorning, Denmark. At the age of 21, he set sail on the Scandinavian Line ship the Christian II for the United Stales.

He had $52 to begin life here. His intention was to work in America for 5 years and make enough money to return to Denmark and buy a farm there.

However, his arrival coincided with the Great Depression so his plans went awry. He was lucky to make enough just to subsist.

One winter, he lived on 99 cents worth of groceries— 100 pounds of Red Dog hog feed Hour for 50 cents and 49 cents for a 10-pound can of Karo syrup—enough for pancakes three times a day! To supplement his diet, he hunted small game for meat with a single barrel shotgun that he bought for 50 cents.

Living in a tarpaper shack, Duch chopped wood and did assorted farm work. In 1933. he rented a farm on Shallow Lake Road for $10 a month. When that sold, lie built another tarpaper shack and later rented then bought a farm on Schoolhouse Road, where he still resides.

In 1938. he married Ruby Hendrickson. They raised two foster sons and a niece in addition to two daughters and a son of their own.

In addition to farming, Duch raised rutabagas for Bert Hines Cumberland Co. Store and later for the government during WW II. After the war, he’ raised peas for the canning factory in RiceLake.

In 1953, he bought the Peave Feed Mill in ShellLake with a partner, calling it the Shell Lake Mills Inc. In 1962, they bought
the Doboy feed line and raised 70,000 chickens a year. Each spring, they would give away thousands of chicks, at a value of 1 1/2 cents each. which boosted the feed business. The mill was sold in 1983,

Although a hard-working man. Duch made time for fun. whether he was captain of the tug-of-war team or the bowling team in West Sarona.

The WestSaronaSchool held so many memories for the Duch family that when it closed in 1958, he purchased it, maintaining both the building and yard for use for community functions for many years. In 2003, he donated it to the Town of Sarona. which celebrated its 100th year with an all-school and community reunion picnic in the summer of 2004.

Duch made his first return trip to Denmark in 1972—43 years after arriving in America. Since then he has made 15 trips back and has enjoyed hosting visiting relatives from “the old country.”

He also enjoys fishing, playing cards and visiting “old folks” in the nursing home.

His wife and both foster sons have preceded him in death. Planning his centennial celebration are his niece and three children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

[from the Rice Lake (Wis) Chronotype-January 30, 2008]

This was one of the many things Norb Blei passed on.





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