I can’t resist. I’m going to revisit the Sheep To Shawl Contest one more time, then I’ll let it go.
Let’s talk about this picture:
This is Christine Flanagan of Team Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me, being interviewed by a newswoman from ABC 27 News. I took this picture not solely to capture Christine weaving – I took it because it was representative of what was happening on the contest floor about an hour before time was up. As you, dear reader, already know, this is a competition. Every member of every team is focused on what s/he is doing in order to finish on time, and also finish with the finest-quality shawl they can possibly create. Now it’s true: I’m not a sheep shearer, nor have I tried my hand at carding, nor do I spin (I can kind of use a drop spindle, but I need more practice), nor do I weave, but I think I can say with 98% certainty that the last thing I’d want if I were in any of the competitors shoes is to have a news person sticking a microphone in my face, trying to grab that perfect sound bite for the 6:00 News. I’d be happy to oblige the press with an interview or a demonstration after I was finished, but certainly not during a contest that means a great deal to my team and myself. Perhaps Christine agreed to the interview. Or perhaps she felt like she couldn’t say no to an opportunity to educate the public on the art of weaving, even though it might have cost her valuable time or workmanship. I truly don’t know the answer to that. But what I do know is what I saw: many, many members of the press sticking cameras, notebooks, and microphones into the faces of the competitors while they were still competing. Did they do the same at the rodeo, too?
Full disclosure: I’m married to the press. I’m a big fan of the press, free speech, and Freedom of the Press, always have been, and I have great respect for what they do and what they’ve accomplished. I just had to wonder when I took the above picture, how much respect did the press have for the competitors?