Happy holidays! The Echo Times has finished its last issue for the semester, which is now available on stands around campus. Check out our new articles which feature former reporter Michael Dougan’s stories of his days as a journalist, a touching story about a Samoan student’s return to his family roots, the worrisome future of the Media Center, and a write-up on the jazz ensemble’s recent gig with the Tommy Igoe Big Bad. For a little holiday commentary, Managing Editor Nash Kurilko has written about the controversy surrounding Christmas and its roots. Also featured is a write-up on COM’s latest production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,” plus the recent ups and downs of our women’s basketball team.
It’s been a great semester and everyone on our team has done a fantastic job. Once our new staff is formed for the Spring semester, the first issue should be out during February. Meanwhile, we invite you to join our team of editors, photographers and writers next semester. Sign up for JOUN 115 and JOUN 122 at www.marin.edu. We’ll see you then!
By R.J. Heckelman
A saxophonist in Tommy Igoe’s Big Band, who played at COM earlier this month.
The College of Marin jazz ensemble played their final show of the semester on December 5, in the James Dunn Theatre. The concert was opened by some little guests from Mill Valley Middle School, directed by COM Jazz instructor Cayce Carnahan.
The Jazz Band was backed by the Tommy Igoe Big Band, a nationally revered ensemble which included special guests like the former guitarist for Steely Dan, Drew Zingg.
The College band portion of the concert started with the slower jazz tune, “Lester Leaps In,” followed by a trumpet solo-led song, “Boy Meets Horn,” which featured COM jazz student Phil Lieb on trumpet.
By Brady Meyring
Nancy Kutcher, who runs the Media Center, is set to retire by the end of the month. Her absence leaves some uncertainty about the Media Center’s immediate future.
When speaking about her 15-year career at the College of Marin, Nancy Kutcher’s passion for helping students is clearly evident. What is unclear is exactly what will happen to the Media Center after she leaves. She is set to retire on December 31st of this year. According to VP of Student Services, Jonathan Eldridge, “[Kutcher’s] position will not be filled, at least not in the short term.” The most likely scenario is that the Media Center computers and other resources will be moved into the library.
Eldridge says that the process of moving the Media Center, if it goes through, will not be completed by the start of Spring semester but should be done soon thereafter.
The Media Center, on the top floor of the Learning Center Building, offers 18 computers networked to printers for student use. Many of these computers are loaded with specialized software that students need for certain classes. In addition, teachers often place DVDs and other media on reserve in the Center for students to access. Kutcher is present to manage the Center and help students troubleshoot issues with the Microsoft Office suite, printers and other equipment.
By Nash Kurilko
How FOX News and the radical right are co-opting the holidays
The latest argument on FOX News is that Santa is white.
For years now, prominent right-wing politicians and pundits on FOX News have been warning Americans of an insidious left-wing secularist plot to take ‘Christ’ out of Christmas and subvert the holiday into some sort of non-Christian, pagan ritual of gift-giving.
The irony of this right-wing, FOX News propagated controversy, is that Christmas itself has mostly pagan origins, and as a holiday, has already been converted into a celebration of mass consumerism.
Consider the following. The ancient Roman holiday “Saturnalia” – celebrated from the 17th to the 25th – commemorated citizens’ disregard for the laws of the time.
Sometime in the 4th century A.D., Christian leaders converted large numbers of Roman pagans, who were numerous throughout the sprawling empire, by promising that despite whatever huge demands Christianity would have on their daily lives, they would still be able to practice Saturnalia. Only now it would be a one-day holiday on the 25th of December – and not one commemorating lawlessness, but Christ’s birth.
The Christmas tree itself, arguably the most prominent image associated with the holiday, was co-opted as well from other pagan religions, as tree worship was common throughout most of the pagan world.