Dorm Duty: Day 1

Friday, Nov 10

Weekend duty team has a 5:30 meeting so we’re all on the same page for the weekend, and then it’s dinner check-in for the kids. After supper I went to the fall play, Radium Girls. It had a huge cast, so it was awesome to see so many kids on stage. And it’s not only the classically attractive and/or popular kids who got parts. The cast was very diverse across many identities, and the roles were not utterly constrained by gender, either.

The story itself is hard to watch, hard to think about. There were some students in my dorm who saw it last night and thought it was boring. If you went in expecting a comedy and slap stick and silly things, sure, it definitely wasn’t that. But the story was so rich. Every character was so human, and the students played the roles beautifully. There was no monster, no villain, just people trying to do the best they could in their own situation, and not really caring about the wider impact of their actions until it became personal.

Imagine that. It’s only a story that has repeated over and over through modern history. A corporation does something that is super profitable. Turns out that thing is harming a lot of people or workers. Company denies it, tries to settle, tries to quiet the complaints, tries to make it go away. Eventually there’s too much evidence that the company made a mistake, whether willfully or no they hurt people, and soon things start getting regulated. Radium. Leaded gasoline. Cigarettes/tobacco. DDT. We’re still in the middle of the narrative with the water supply in Flint, MI, as well as Roundup and feeding livestock antibiotics and a whole host of other issues that in 50 years, boy, will there be egg on our faces!

NB: Flint, MI, has not had clean water since April 2014. 

It’s almost like unfettered capitalism is a toxic system that prizes profit and money over people’s well-being. It’s almost like that. Anyway, the play made me think and feel a lot of things that are very, very current and important to think and feel right now. I hope everyone who saw the play has a good, long think about it. The best line was right at the end of the first half. A consumer advocate is talking to one of the girls (Grace) affected by the radium and is talking about the public news campaign. She cautions Grace not to let her anger show, because the goal is public sympathy, and the public does not have much sympathy for an angry woman. With that line punching me in the gut, the lights went dark. Whew. It was an experience.

After the play I was stationed in the common room for face to face chats with the students to make sure they’re present and safe and healthy, bed checks at 11:30, and then to bed with me.

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