Year of (Carlos) The Bear

By Montecito Journal   |   January 11, 2022
A distant relative of Carlos the Bear (photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin)

Carlos, The Bear, was trimming his claws last week, he couldn’t sleep as rain pounded down on the roof of his den at 2 am. He had Flight Radar 24 on his iPad and was tracking the long-haul flights out of LAX as he thought of the year past. It had been a year filled with some near misses, sad hits, and fun changes.

So much good. The drought, that had him worried for the humans and his animal friends was being washed away as he counted his memories, and he was grateful. Romero Creek was making happy sounds again. There had been no wildfire and no debris flow and for this he gave thanks. The first Montecito Holiday Parade had been a smashing success. Live concerts returned to the Music Academy. The library was open again, with a new reading room. Yay! East Valley Road finally got repaved. So many good things came with 2021, but there was bad too:

COVID morphed into Delta and then Omicron. Cases were on the rise again. Highway 101 construction was still snarling traffic. Cava closed. Little Alex’s closed. Read ‘n’ Post closed. Harry and Meghan were under fire from the Royal Family. The Cate School had a scandal. For some the real estate boom was a bash and for others a bust. Carlos felt lucky to have his new den and a new year ahead.

He made a New Year resolution: Less chicken and fast food and more foraging. He looked forward to next year, 2022. The Year of The Bear.

Michael Edwards

We Love You, Carlos

Loved the Carlos the Bear’s short paragraph on Montecito’s new holiday tradition!

Happy New Year to all.

Jean von Wittenburg  

Joan Didion: ‘Singularly Brave’

RIP Joan Didion (photo by David Shankbone)

In 1988, Joan Didion wrote that members of the media were “a self-creating and self-referring class, a new kind of managerial elite” that “tend to speak of the world not necessarily as it is but as they want people out there to believe it is.”

Joan Didion was a member of the celebrity and ruling class who was courageous and singularly brave enough to skewer her own social-circuit colleagues while maintaining a privileged position within the ranks. No “cancel culture” for her. She was a maven who spoke honestly and with unbelievably precise prose to explain the hidden, mysterious, and inscrutable. The Year Of Magical Thinking (2005) was a monument to the art of essay writing. The reader is disappointed and feels a great let-down when he/she finishes the final page.

Joan Didion will be sorely missed. She died in Manhattan at 87. Her husband and adopted daughter died earlier this century.

Rest-in-Peace. Memory Eternal. May Her Memory Be A Blessing.

David Samuel McCalmont

Lady Justice Wears a Blindfold 

Dan Meisel recently posted an article in the Montecito Journal pages representing the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL’s) position on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and I suppose he was seeking to secure justice and fair treatment for all. He understands that CRT has become a polarizing issue nationally and locally as it is now being taught in our local schools K-12.

Debates are taking place about our schools requiring “anti-bias ethnic studies” and having “mandatory ethnic studies” and discussions about the “meaning/value of equity.” Since a majority of our local public-school students can’t read or do math at grade level, one asks, what is the priority for our students? Is it math and reading, or turning elementary schools into social justice boot camps?

Given Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be lagging academically, it is a question anyone caring deeply about social inequality might consider. Wealthier families worry less about such issues as they can send their kids to private or charter schools while the majority of kids are relegated to traditional but growingly inferior public schools — where progressives now want to prioritize the teaching of Critical Race Theory. This is a terrible idea especially as the country is now rapidly diversifying and growing, mainly driven by Asians and Hispanics. Do we really want to be obsessing about racial and ethnic differences? Do we really need to focus on dividing our current American population into archaic categories of oppressor and oppressed? Minority parents are leading the charge against Critical Race Theory knowing it will only undermine advanced learning standards.

Mr. Meisel offered some cheery thoughts, urging parents to seek information from their school districts about CRT. To not hold advance “opinions” on the subject, so as to continue a conversation with their children at home about race solutions, rather than have their own views become an impediment to CRT. Mr. Meisel thinks such conversations will “provoke inquiry about one’s identities and … self-perception.” Who better, so we imply from Mr. Meisel, to direct the conscience of one’s child than school administrators who prescribe what is best to teach at their failing schools?

It might be trendy to be nonchalant about terms like “implicit bias,” “anti-racism” AND “ethnic studies,” but Black columnist, Jason Riley, is more serious and outraged. He calls CRT a “hustle, that posits that racial inequality today is the fault of whites and the sole responsibility of whites to solve-through racial preferences for blacks… ultimately it’s about blaming your problems on other people – based on race – which should be the last thing we should teach our children.” Amen Mr. Riley.

Let’s not separate ourselves and our youth according to race; Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason.

J.W. Burk  


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