Editor’s Scratchpad

Nothing to get
amplified about ...

So there I was, feeling like a black bean in a bag of Hinode, among the movers and shakers and swells and dandies and backslappers and footkissers and forelock-tuggers that make up your standard-issue opening-night crowd in Honolulu, and we were all standing there dutifully listening to ... nothing.

The event was the opening of the new Hawaii State Art Museum in the old Armed Forces YMCA, and a parade of government honchos were apparently making speeches. That is, from a distance, we could see their lips flapping.

Apparently, the public-address system had only the stage monitors turned on, so they could hear themselves, while the speakers for the couple of thousand in the audience were switched off.

And nobody yelled something obvious like, "No can hear!" Nope. We just waited until they were done. There was something reassuringly Hawaiian about government officials obliviously speaking to the public at a level only the officials themselves can hear, while the public -- with no clue whatsoever of the speech's contents -- waited patiently, politely, for them to shut up.

"What did you expect?" said a lady next to me. "It's a state function. You didn't really want to hear what they had to say, did you?"

Burl Burlingame

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