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Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017: Anti-monument bias, ‘Henry IV’ review, Stephen and Tabitha King’s generosity

Stephen and Tabitha King’s generosity

Stephen and Tabitha King recently donated a decent amount of money to the town of Searsport. Over the years, the Kings have helped many Maine municipalities along with institutions throughout the state by providing generous contributions to help them succeed financially. Their support should not go unrecognized by others.

Others who have financial resources are a little less willing to share what they have with the rest of society that is less fortunate. Because this is their money, which they have earned through hard work and dedication to their field, they have the right to do as they wish with it. But think how society would benefit if those who are part of the wealthy 1 percent of the population would benefit if this wealth was shared.

There could be less poverty throughout townships and cities in addition to more succeeding businesses. These businesses in turn could provide much needed jobs for their areas of the country that may be struggling. This would in turn make the lives of families easier because they would not necessarily have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.

The point is that the Kings deserve recognition for their donation. They are part of a population in American society that have chosen to give back to its citizens, making the world a better place in which to live.

Benjamin Bucklin


Insulting review

I find Judy Harrison’s Aug. 23 BDN review of Opera House Arts’ production on “Henry IV” utterly baffling. From its weirdly inappropriate likening of the crown that states the theme of the drama to a “flying saucer in some 1950s sci-fi movie” to her savaging of an actor by name, the review seems to take an adversarial attitude toward the theater.

One can dislike a production, of course, and Harrison makes her dislike perfectly clear. Here the casting put six talented actors onstage, switching among male and female characters. Given that, one could hardly expect the female actors to “amble, stride or confront a rival the way a male would” any more than a male actor to behave in stereotypically female fashion.

The reviewer seems unable to get beyond this business of a woman playing a man’s role. “More like an angry, petulant teenager girl than a warrior” and “stomps her feet and waves her arms as if her mother took away her cellphone for a week.” Seriously? How might she describe a male actor not meeting her criteria for feminine behavior? As demeaningly?

But even more disturbing to me is the attitude to the effort of a company of seasoned actors to present such a challenging play with all its risks. Instead of inviting her readers to consider the merits of a production and deciding whether to explore for themselves, she essentially says, “Don’t waste your time.”

What an insult. What utter lack of respect.

Lawrence Estey


Anti-monument bias

I just finished reading Nick Sambides Jr.’s Aug. 25 BDN article on Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to the president about the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

While I’ve often found Sambides’ reporting on the monument to be biased against its supporters, this particular paragraph from the Aug. 25 article really bugs me.

“Overwhelming opposition was evident in every referendum on the park or monument held by towns near Quimby’s land. Park supporters countered that loud applause and hand counts at a May 2016 forum featuring then-National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis showed that Maine supported the monument. The supporters ignored a meeting earlier that same day in which Katahdin-region leaders told Jarvis of their opposition in often bitter tones.”

Sambides should know quite well based on his own reporting that “loud applause and hand counts” were not the only sign of Maine’s support for the Monument. A poll in 2015 showed that 67 percent of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District supported the creation of a national park, and even the “hearings” with representatives from Utah and Arkansas were mostly “dominated by pro-park supporters.” Claiming supporters “ignored” signs of opposition to the monument would ignore extensive reporting on the issue.

The more I read often I read Sambides’ reports, the more I see omissions and false equivalences. Balanced reporting is crucial to the practice of journalism, and this is clearly not balanced.

Ryan Linn



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