Month Without Metaphor (MWM) director Ronald Grouse announced yesterday that he won’t be issuing the usual “mid-term” report this year. Instead, he said, all statistics on the initiative will be published at the end of May.
Ronald Grouse, the director of Park media’s Month Without Metaphor, has taken Park media to task over what he describes as the manipulation of their readership “in the style of advertisers.”
In a scathing editorial this morning, The Avian Messenger’s chief political analyst criticized Park publications, calling them “complicit with advertisers” in their descriptions of products, places, and events.
Grouse, who has only been at the helm of the media initiative for a month, singled out The Rodent Commoner for its recent article on the shortage of burrows in The Park.
“The use of terms that evoke emotion, such as ‘home,’ ‘hearth,’ ‘shelter,’ and the invocation of ‘family,’ is inexcusable in a publication that is supposed to be dedicated to presenting unembellished facts,” Grouse wrote.
The MWM director didn’t stop at The Rodent Commoner. Using examples from almost every Park newspaper, he demonstrated the manipulation that has come to be seen as the norm.
“News media are not in the business of pulling heartstrings,” he wrote, apologizing in the next sentence for the metaphor. “News media are in the business of presenting the facts as they are known or have come to be known. We are supposed to allow the readers to make their own judgments, based on our presentation. We are not supposed to lead them to feel anything.”
Grouse concluded his editorial by saying that he is deeply disturbed by the growing willingness of publications to shill for companies without thought to the consequences.
“You can be sure that we will take this up further at the Media Circus at the end of the month,” he wrote.
Five years after The Park’s first media circus, the new director of Month Without Metaphor is about to “revise and remake” the event for a different purpose.
In an announcement this morning, Ronald Grouse confirmed rumours of his recent talks with Rodolfo van de Gier, president of the Association of Media Outlets of The Park (AMOP), who was in charge of the 2011 event. Grouse’s announcement said the two have agreed to work together on a “new kind” of media circus that will have an “altogether different” purpose, but it offered scant details.
“We are planning to host a two-day event toward the end of the month that will have the full participation of Park media. We also extended an invitation to The Park’s literary community, including writers, publishing companies, and journal editors, as well as representatives of the University of West Terrier’s Cuthbert School of Journalism. Together, we are hoping to have a full and open discussion about the dissemination of information, the use of language and the responsibility of all those who are involved in communication,” the announcement said.
No exact times or locations were mentioned, nor whether the “fun and games,” such as playing reporter or hosting a mock interview, would be included in the new event.
Ronald Grouse has declared war. But we’ll only be able to print that until Monday.
Just a few days before the start of Park media’s Month Without Metaphor (MWM), The Avian Messenger’s chief political analyst and newly-elected MWM director held a press conference this morning in which he himself used the war metaphor. And many more.
“It’s time we declared war on some of the tools that media use,” he said. “We need to communicate better and more effectively. We need straight talk: just the facts, no hyperbole. And we need to stop manipulating our readers. Our job is to inform, not to perform,” he said.
Grouse, who has in the past criticized the direction in which Park media appeared to be headed, said he is looking forward to May’s event.
“I look forward to steering Month Without Metaphor toward success,” he said. “The challenges we face as Park citizens are serious ones that require us to be clear-eyed and open-minded. I hope to be able to engage the hearts and minds of readers and listeners and build momentum toward creating a more honest and open media that will help with the problems we face.”
The radio station said Struts, who recently returned to The Park after an extended stay in the land of his ancestors, will discuss the budgets of ousted PFO head Valentina Abeja, as well as other economic and social issues facing The Park.
Struts, who oversaw the PFO and served as budget chief for almost a decade, was relieved of his duties in 2014 after a series of scandals involving his relationship with Humans.
The gossip web site headsNtales claims Struts has met with Chief Archon Klarissa Kuttu to discuss returning to his old job. But after the site posted a picture of his newly-refurbished abode under the headline, “He’s baaaack!” Struts issued a statement denying the rumours, saying he had “non-governmental” plans for the next few years.
Ronald Grouse, the newly-elected director of Park media’s Month Without Metaphor, will take control of the event’s Twitter account on Monday, May 1. He made the announcement yesterday while a guest on Toro Talk Radio’s Yannis Tavros show.
The Avian Messenger’s chief political analyst was elected director of the annual event earlier this month and he replaces Alvin Tinamou, who was one of the founders of the initiative and who served as its director the past three years.
In an interview with The Eagle Star the day after he was elected, Grouse said he intended to expand MWM’s reach through the use of social media.
“I think it’s important [for the initiative] that we enter the public forum and explain our raison d’être,” he said. “I think Twitter is a good way to do that, to let readers and listeners know that they can have a say in the degree to which media manipulate them.”
Grouse said he would tweet on a regular basis throughout the month, as well as host live conferences with MWM’s Twitter followers. He also is booked to be a guest on a number of Park radio and television interview shows throughout May and he has been invited to be a Mammalian Daily guest columnist.
THE FIERCE URGENCY OF MIAOW
Jor and the Feline Roots of Zoocracy
by Pieter N. Paard
372 pp. Marcellin de la Griffe Publishers Ftoo 20
Early in his life, George Livingstone Barnaby Cuthbert—known to us all as Jor—went for a short walk outside his home in the arms of the Human who’d adopted him. As they strolled toward a local parkette, they came upon an old woman who asked them to stop. She pointed to his four white paws, which she called gloves, and tapped him on the head with her index finger.
“Someday,” she said, “you’ll be a very big man in the park.”
Virtually all Park Animals have grown up on that story, so it seems surprising to find it told again in the first few pages of Pieter Paard’s new book, The Fierce Urgency of Miaow: Jor and the Feline Roots of Zoocracy.
But Paard’s retelling of the story is very much in keeping with his book’s title and its premise: that Jor’s felinity was central to his vision of Animal self-rule—and to his ability to have that vision.
“Feline culture, as it were, had developed beyond that of any other species in The Park, to the point where Jor was allowed access to ways of thinking that led him to consider the possibility of establishing Animal self-rule. His challenge was to convince those of other species that such a system of government was achievable; his own kind had been contemplating it for years,” Paard writes in the book’s opening pages.
In this way, Paard breathes new life into the “Doctrine of Feline Exceptionalism,” a set of beliefs about the superiority of Felines that is thought to have originated in the decades before zoocracy. At that time, the Felines of The Park—particularly the “Big Cats”—held sway. Hated by all but their own species, they nevertheless used their great intellectual prowess and sophisticated governing skills to bring about a transformation of The Park (then known simply as “the park”) that culminated years later in zoocracy.
The fact that these big Cats were not satisfied with ruling over the other species but sought to share power with them is what gives credence to the Doctrine.
“It is hard to imagine any other species that would have gone to such lengths to divest itself of its political power in order to allow those they considered lesser to achieve some form of equality,” says Paard, himself a proud Equine.
That it ultimately fell to a small Tabby—and a formerly domestic one at that—to fulfil the Big Cats’ dream is further proof for Paard that Felines are intellectually and morally exceptional beings.
“Jor’s leadership qualities and the rôle his sister Zoë played in his political achievements have been the subject of much study of late. But I believe it was his own instincts and his intuitive understanding of other Animals that helped him to establish zoocracy. Jor’s ability to speak to other Animals at an equal level and his mild manner were just two of the qualities that I believe helped him win over his political opponents. To those Animals in The Park who desperately wanted to believe in a government of shared power, Jor presented a trustworthy ally,” Paard writes.
Much has been written about Jor during this year of zoocracy’s thirty-fifth anniversary and many have questioned his motives. But even if, as Yoshita Tigru writes in her book, George Livingstone Barnaby Cuthbert: The Tabby King, he did contemplate establishing a monarchy and installing himself as king, respect for his fellow Animals ultimately won out.
“Jor’s legacy is and always will be that he established zoocracy in a Park that most others believed was ungovernable,” Paard writes.
If Paard commits any error in this book, it may be that he emphasizes Jor’s achievements and downplays his sacrifices. But we must never forget that Jor left a good life in a comfortable domestic situation to work toward making life better for all Animals. In that one act, he became a model of the highest moral stature and a hero to all.
The executive committee of Park media’s annual Month Without Metaphor has named Ronald Grouse as director of the annual initiative.
The Avian Messenger’s chief political analyst will take the reins on Monday and begin by expanding MWM’s reach through social media, says an announcement issued this morning.
A graduate of the Cuthbert School of Journalism at the University of West Terrier, Grouse has been a frequent guest of Yannis Tavros on his Toro Talk Radio show and a regular commentator during coverage of The Park’s Groundhog Day celebrations. He has worked at The Avian Messenger for the past eight years.
Grouse replaces Alvin Tinamou, who was one of the founders of Month Without Metaphor and who served as its director the past three years.
Score one for Gunnar Rotte,
The beleaguered Rodent Commoner reporter and part-time counsellor at The Park’s Extinction Anxiety Clinic (currently on leave), has been campaigning for years to get us to focus on the plight of the Rodent population—both inside and outside The Park—and the damage caused by the “traumatic narrative” on which his species is raised.
After a string of attempts to have the Archons and the Department of Well-Being and Safety (DWBS) declare an official “Rodents’ Day,” Rotte has finally succeeded in getting our attention, albeit on a different stage than he’d planned.
Despite that, he says he is seeing it as a win and a first step toward the “enlightenment of other Park species.”
“My campaign—if that’s what you want to call it—has been misrepresented as one that says, ‘Rodents first.’ That’s nonsense. I would more accurately portray it as, “Rodents, too,’ ” he said in an interview on Mammalian Daily Radio this morning.
Rotte, who says he hopes next Sunday’s event will be only the first of many, told host Cornelio Orsetto that he had “many irons in the fire and many surprises to unleash” in the coming months. He also confirmed rumours that he would be returning to work at the Extinction Anxiety Clinic in May.
“My work there is some of the most important that I’ve ever done,” he said.
The executive committee of Park media’s annual Month Without Metaphor will meet this afternoon, as pressure mounts to replace Alvin Tinamou as chief organizer and director.
The publisher of The Avian Messenger, who was one of the event’s founders, has been on leave since last September, after he suffered the trauma of the theft of his nest and the loss of his and his mate Adela’s eggs.
According to the agenda for the meeting, the possibility exists for not only naming a new director but for splitting the duties that Tinamou performed over the past three years. New positions might include social media director, publicity agent, and outreach manager.
Among those under consideration for the position of director are Nathan R. DiPressa, Editor-in-Chief of The Reptile Register and Executive Director of the Association of Non-Mammlian Park Newspapers (ANMPN), Senior Finance Reporter Antoinette Anhima of The Avian Messenger, Tarrance Turkey, Deputy News Editor at The Galliforme Gazette and an ANMPN founding member, Fannia di Volo, former Editor-in-Chief of The Insect Intelligencer (now The Serangga Star Adviser) and Priscilla Weevil, current Editor-in-Chief of The Serangga Star Adviser.
According to the agenda, the meeting will begin with a tribute to Tinamou, who declined the invitation to attend the afternoon gathering.