I got a letter from the orchestra management on Wednesday--a long time after when the musicians responded, but timing is not everything--and the number of rhetorical tricks it included to try to imply that there's been full financial disclosure, when in fact there has not, without actually coming out and saying so...well, it was an impressive piece of work. I managed to remain polite when I wrote back and not say, "Don't bullshit a bullshitter," because there are more delicate ways to put that, but seriously: professional writers know these tricks. They are transparent. They have been about as bad as having a movie quote reading, "...fascinating..." when the full quote is actually, "It's a fascinating insight into the studio's process that such a terrible movie even got made in today's climate."
I find the "publicity stunt" remarks particularly damning, because--as I mentioned in my letter--most of what the musicians have been doing is playing concerts. Another thing that the management might regard as a publicity stunt is the vote of no confidence in the Orchestra CEO. It's appalling that the management does not even seem to be considering that that might be absolutely sincere--heaven knows my confidence has plummeted there, and I don't even work for the guy--and that their own behavior might impede musicians' ability to work well under this management. The management appears only to be thinking in propaganda terms at this point, not negotiating with their own musicians in good faith. What may be even more insulting is that they're just not very good propagandists.
The musicians' site is here. It goes into what, exactly, they're looking for from management. When it quotes current and past conductors, it quotes their pieces in full rather than pulling a phrase or two. It's also got some ideas for people who want to do something helpful; I've written to Gov. Dayton and Mayor Rybak this week (on Tim Cooper Photography Minneapolis cards!), as well as the letter to the Strib. Not all of you will feel moved to help out in the ways suggested on the site, but I figured in case you were wondering, that's where it is.
There's also an ongoing analysis on this blog, which is about the business of running orchestras. Possibly of more interest to people who want geeky nuts and bolts, but...geeky nuts and bolts, I know you guys, that's at least some of you on every topic I can think of.
I'm going off to hum Woody Guthrie songs and have my workout now.