Commentary

The Great Kansas Sea

Feb 17, 2016
courtesy of Robyn O'Neil

Think of a mechanical pencil and the cylinder of graphite peeking out of end—just a half-millimeter thick. Now, imagine a long, white sheet of paper, unfurled in front of you. Where do you make the first mark? It’s daunting to think about drawing this way, but this is what artist Robyn O’Neil is known for.

Every community has a musical history. Most of the time, that history gets confused and hazy, but every once in a while somebody does us the favor of writing things down. Luckily for us, there was a Wichita native named Joan O’Bryant, a WSU alum who taught in the university’s English department in the 1950s.

In 1999, four New York City police officers shot and killed Amadou Diallo, a 22-year old immigrant from Guinea. Diallo was struck by nineteen bullets—the police had ultimately fired 41 times. It was a fatal case of mistaken identity: the police thought Diallo was someone else, he ran and they fired.

Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King, was performed in Athens approximately between 430 and 426 BC. It was considered the best of the tragedies written by Sophocles, and the best example of drama that ancient Greece had to offer. Sophocles was a prolific writer—24 of his plays took first prize in contests, and he never placed lower than second. Sophocles was the first to introduce painted scenery, and he was the first to add a third actor to the stage. He also set the number of chorus members at 15.

Randi Baird

Although she has written three books of nonfiction, Geraldine Brooks is best known as an author of historical fiction. But her brand of historical fiction has a way of enriching stories that are already familiar to readers, taking us along as she traces the spread of the bubonic plague to a small English village, or discovers the history of a 15th century Haggadah through the eyes of a book conservator, or as she follows the absent father in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women to the battlefields of the Civil War. (She won a Pulitzer for that one.)

 

courtesy Fireshark

This commentary originally aired August 13, 2015.

Here in Wichita, we have access to what is, as far as I know, a completely unique gaming experience.

Fireshark Gaming is a gaming center where you can play a game that takes place all around you, and even underneath you. The game is played in a 33-by-20-foot room with up to 10 people. On the ceiling are a bunch of projectors, pointed both at the walls and the floor.

'Hail, Caesar!' is a Collection of Fun Fragments

Feb 11, 2016

Writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen can be depended upon always to present us with something unusual, and Hail, Caesar! is their most unconventional offering to date. 

This Valentine's Day I want to send a cartoonist’s hugs and kisses all the way up to Topeka:

 

 

I love you truly, Sam Brownback,
But I also love Secretary of State Kobach,
And I love each person in the Legislative zoo
For you all make cartooning so easy to do

I love the Kansas voters for each election’s results
My job would be much harder if they elected adults
And I love Fox News for how it spreads fear so slyly
I love Hannity and I love Bill O’Reilly

kscourts.org

Governor Sam Brownback suffered political defeat this past week. The governor wants the power to appoint Supreme Court justices with the approval of the Kansas Senate. The Kansas House of Representatives could muster only 68 of the 84 votes needed for the governor’s proposal to go to the Senate and eventually to the voters of Kansas.

Time-shifting technologies such as DVRs and Netflix have created the need for the term “spoiler alert.” Since not all of us access our favorite movies and TV shows at the same time these days, those who saw them first can reveal things we’d rather see ourselves.

“Spoiler alert,” though, tells us a lot about how contemporary storytelling gets done and what kind of stories we now find compelling.

The “spoiler” is usually tied to an unexpected plot twist or shocking revelation, a deus ex machina (define) for the online era.

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