For literature is often controversial. It...


October 13, 1997

THE NOBEL PRIZE for literature is often controversial. It is not given for popularity or sales success. Instead, the Nobel committee wants to spotlight obscure talent from countries that usually do not win recognition.

This year's award to Dario Fo, 71, will get more plaudits in Europe than here. The Italian is well known not only as a biting political observer but also as the performer of one-man shows that have won him theatrical fame.

Dario Fo's works are a translator's nightmare. He uses a dialect-based jesting language and onomatopoeia (the use of words whose sounds reinforce their meaning). Because of his leftist politics, he was long barred from the U.S. But in 1986, he performed in Baltimore, giving his audience a hint of his enormous talents.

SOME MEMBERS of the Jewish community in Harford County took issue recently with the County Council's scheduling of a meeting about the critical issue of countywide rezoning on the night when Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, began.

Council members shrugged that they were alerted too late to change the meeting. Council President Joanne S. Parrott patronizingly shifted the responsibility to a Jewish resident who happened to be a volunteer on a government committee for not alerting the council.

The government body might take a cue, in its own backyard, from the Emmorton Recreation Council, which organizes sports programs for hundreds of boys and girls in southern Harford.

The council rescheduled youth basketball tryouts after learning of a conflict with Yom Kippur last Friday night, also part of the Jewish High Holiday season.

That meant re-contacting 140 families that had already been notified of the original date.

Conflicts will arise, but a community is built on respect for all residents. Members of an elected government body should surely understand that.

PERHAPS THIS explains why the Orioles' faithful have been singing "Thank God, I'm a country boy" all these years. O's fans truly are a wholesome lot. Some recent examples:

At Yankees Stadium in the first game of American League Championship Series a year ago, a kid reached into the field of play to turn an out into a home run for the home nine -- and was lionized. At Oriole Park in the first game of the league series this month, a young O's fans in the stands made an equally impressive snare of Brady Anderson's lead-off home run. Only in this case, the youngster was beyond the field of play, did not interfere with the game and did not become some anti-hero -- just a kid with a souvenir.

That same day, Orioles relief pitcher Terry Mathews opened stacks of mail -- from fans apologizing for booing his appearance in a previous playoff game. That was rude, according to the fan mail, which included balloons and inspirational verses. New York fans, by comparison, might think contrition is someone who works for their electric company.

Then there were the letters to The Sun complaining about news photos of the players spraying each other with alcoholic beverages, an expected, though trite, tradition in sports. How wholesome can you get?

Pub Date: 10/13/97

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