Thursday, August 07, 2008

Too Danged Dumb to Know What's Good For Ogden

Installment #2 in the Standard-Examiner "Godfreyite Sour Grapes Series"

Just to get the conversation going this morning, we'll highlight what seems to be the second installment in the Standard-Examiner "Godfreyite Sour Grapes Series," appearing on the Std-Ex editorial pages. Following closely on the heels of last week's Bob Geiger rant, this morning's Rupert Hitzig guest commentary obliquely restates Mr. Geiger's previous (and preposterous) suggestion that the folks at Weber State University are somehow "opposed to Ogden's economic rebirth."

Briefly stated, Mr. Hitzig's narrative begins with his initial infatuation with Ogden's great "potential," and ends with with his dashed dream to establish a film school within the WSU Communications Department. Here's the gist:

We contacted Weber State University to find out more about its film program, and found out it didn’t have one. But, determined to get interested students involved, we connected with the Department of Communications and the university kindly gathered over 20 members of the faculty to hear our ideas. We proposed an offshoot of the Communications Department that would provide paid, on-set experience as part of the curriculum. We would get affordable labor, and the students would get actual experience on commercial films.
There was some initial resistance at the beginning of the meeting, because it was new and different, but by the time we adjourned, both sides agreed to pursue the idea. It seemed like a win-win situation, or so I thought.
Unfortunately, our fruit died on the vine. Even though we offered to financially underwrite the program, we never got any more interest. After repeated attempts to contact the principals at the university, the vision of cooperation with Weber State and an Ogden rife with production withered to nothing. The enthusiasm for the program and a possible new agenda for affordable production and educational opportunity was just not there.
The problem, suggests Mr. Producer Rupert: We provincial lumpencitizens are just too danged dumb to know what's good for Ogden.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

33 comments:

althepal said...

Seriously, how is it possible that the people at WSU could possibly blow off the genius whose most memorable film masterpiece was "Jaws III?"

danny said...

What's going on here - a tag team attack on the education system because they wouldn't bend over for Chris Peterson the way Godfrey did?

It took these guys this long to bellyache about that? Or is Godfrey getting ready to fire up the "sell the mountain coalition" once again and this is the first salvo?

Either way, in the case of Rupert Hitzig, this guy is such a nothing it's a wonder WSU listened to him at all. And as far as Bobby Geiger, he's Mr. Irrelevant to everyone except the SE editors who give him carte blanche for his vacuous commentaries.

These guys have become SoooOOOOooo boring.

If Hitzig had any sense, he'd make a documentary on government folly called "Gadi and Me". He could be another Michael Moore instead of another would-be producer. At least that way he'd be another rich Hollywood jackass instead of another poor pretender.

dan s. said...

Among the credits under his name, I wonder why Producer Rupert doesn't list the delightful little video that he made two and a half years ago, starring Godfrey, Geiger, and Peterson, with a simulated gondola ride to Malan's Basin and a cameo by his friend Gadi Leshem: "During the next seven minutes, your heart may beat a little faster... your curiosity will run away with itself... as you experience the magic of a city with explosive potential!" I urge everyone to watch this video and then decide whether this guy should be taken seriously.

I have no idea why Producer Rupert's fruit "died on the vine", has he puts it. But I'm sure there's another side to the story.

Yes, we're definitely looking at an organized attempt to put pressure on WSU to sell its land. Why else would Rupert dredge up this two-year-old anecdote?

friend of WSU said...

What I heard was Rupert's presentation to the Communication dept was less than enthusiastically received. He seemed to have little to no knowledge of WSU and its student body. Moreover, he seemed to be asking the Comm dept to pay students and give them course credit to work on his movies.
As to motive behind these two recent commentaries - I'd guess another move to get the Board of Regents to agree to sell WSU land to Peterson. Remember it is the Board of Regents that ultimately makes the decision, not WSU Pres Milner.

Moroni McConkie said...

This is the first time I have seen Rupert Hitzig's "plans" as a matter of public record; they have only been rumors heretofore.

The elephant in the room on which Hitzig's commentary remains strategically silent is: What kind of fundings from the public trough did he demand in return for a promise to transform Ogden into Hollywood-on-the-Weber?

Hitzig links himself to Gadi Leshem, a self-inflicted wound. Why would we consider any Gadi-branded scheme attractive? Gadi's Ogden River project has amounted to nothing so far and shows no signs of life. Does any rational person think this is about to move forward? Or that the condemned river project neighborhood is better off now than before it fell into Gadi's hands?

what will it costs us said...

The only award Rupert was nominated for was a RAZZIE for the worse film of the year. If you google him you don't find much, just like if you google Ogden Gondola.
I do think it is the begining to sell the land for Petersons folly. How many more out of state cronies can be lined up to lock step behind these people who want to feed at the public trough.
Concerned citizens want more city services, diversity in their city, clubs, restraurants and gyms that are open on Sunday and not a mere kiddy playground that will not generate enough revenue to support a vibrant city.

Bill C. said...

Oh folks, it's all comin back. This time there will a couple different twists schemed up to try and divide the opposition. Gondolas, big hillside housing the whole ball of wax.
The little trolley buses represent the first step in saving his gondola money for peterson. His new golf course committee, with no representation of current users and stakeholders is another. ( note, there is a sub-committee, that has some fine folks on it, well intentioned but not represenative of the people that have supported and used the facility since it opened.)
The real committee is headed by none other than the rejected gondolaist candidate for City Council, Kent Perterson and of course lying little matty gondola godfrey. It's hard to expect any objectivity coming from them. Oh, I forgot, Big D construction is also represented.
Looks like we'll be busy the rest of the summer.

On the inside said...

Danny, you're right on the mark! You asked: "Or is Godfrey getting ready to fire up the "sell the mountain coalition" once again and this is the first salvo?"

Godfrey has not given up on the gondola -- in fact he tried to force it down everyone's throat last spring by making it Ogden's # 1 Joint Goal with the City Council, except the Council wouldn't buy it, even after 5 hours of "discussion." NOW he has established a committee of his FOMs to come up with a solution for the golf course. Godfrey's "nightmare" for it is to bond for $6 million and start all over. He's even had a golf pro look at it and design the new course. He knows that the residents and Council will not go for that proposal, so his plan is to say, "Well, we have to do SOMETHING! We can't afford to lose over $300,000. year after year!." (But Ogden can afford to subsidize the airport for more than $2 million each year and the Junction for another $1.5 million. He doesn't want you to know that!)

When he starts his "Sell the golf course!" campaign, I hope the community reminds him of the eggs that he's laid and they ain't "golden eggs!"

Mayor Matthew Godfrey said...

Dear friends,

It’s been awhile since I spoke to you here on the “forum”, but I can see it’s once again time to clear up a few things.

First of all, when Rupert Hitzig went to WSU a few years back he was only trying to do them what he’s done to me so many times. Let me explain.

When I was younger, my mother caught me waxing one of my teacher’s cars. His name was Mr. Bunning. I was leaning far, far over the hood of his Buick as he stood behind me telling me to reach harder, harder, harder, when my mother saw me. She had not ever told me about the birds and the bees until now, but she said, “Matt, you’re short and girlish, and soon you’ll be bald. No girl will ever want you. But if anyone does, give her whatever she wants, fast, no questions asked, and maybe you’ll end up better than spending time with Mr. Bunning.”

This has been my standard. It’s what I did when I gave my 21st Street pond to Dave Goode. It’s what I tried to do with Chris Peterson when he wanted my golf course, and what I did do with him when he took me to Europe. It’s what I did with Gadi, with Kurt and Bobbie, with Jeff Lowe, with Mel Kemp, with Orluff Ophiekens, Steve Kier, Dave Wadman, and lots of other people. I’ve given it all away fast and free, for the asking, like my mommy told me.

When Rupert needs work, he finds what they call in Hollywood a “honey dripper”. That’s how he made his movie “Cattle Annie and Little Britches.” Some honey dripper from Texas came to town with his family savings, wanting to make a movie. So Rupert lined up a few hacks and has-beens and went through the guy’s money. It happens all the time. Rupert was offering WSU the chance to be a honey dripper, and they turned him down. I guess none of those professors had a mother that loved them like mine did.

As far as selling the golf course, yes, it’s back on the table. Dave Harmer told me that my downtown deals are falling apart left and right. I told him since he’s never been right about anything why should I believe him this time, but I think he may be right. So I have to do something to bring back the magic, and that means giving something away fast and easy. It’s my way, and it works. If you’ve seen all the kids I have, you can’t doubt that my mother’s advice works, and I stick with what I know works, like any of you have a plan anyway.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny asks What's going on here - a tag team attack on the education system because they wouldn't bend over for Chris Peterson the way Godfrey did? That's exactly what's going on here. I wonder how many more op-ed attacks on WSU are in the SE's op-ed pipeline?

But let's take Mr. Hitzig's column seriously, and examine what it says. First note that he dismisses any doubt about his proposal by the WSU communications faculty as motivated by fear of a new idea. [That's a synonym for "naysayers."] In Mr. Hitzig's mind, it seems, there can not conceivably be any reason to question what he wants other than fear of the new.

Secondly, Mr. H. seems to think the University and its departments can simply create new programs willy nilly, because somebody, anybody, wants one. They can't. New programs require approval by, first, the University administration, then the Supervisors, then the Regents. And along the way, they're likely to ask questions Mr. H. never mentions. Like, are there already film programs in the state that this new program would compete with? Are existing programs now serving those who want to take them, or is there some evidence that there is enough demand for a new program at WSU to permit it to succeed? What other new programs is the University proposing, and how would this fit in the priority list of what the University is asking for? What are the financial commitments the University would have to make to staff, equip and operate the new program? Is funding in place or likely to support it? And so on and so on. Somehow, "Mr. Hitzig wants it" is not likely to carry the day with the people who must make decisions about scarce resources and how best to allocate them for the good of the University, the city and the state.

Recently, the TV series "Everwood" was filmed in Ogden for several years, and its producers managed to do it without demanding that WSU inaugurate a new program to support their efforts.

Would a film program at WSU be a good idea? Hell, I don't know. Maybe it would. I've never worked at a campus this big that did not have at least one film society. [And I'm still smarting because my suggestion, made six years ago now, that WSU inaugurate an annual Randolph Scott Film Festival never got out of the starting blocks. Talk about lack of cooperation with a good idea....]

But the people who have to make decisions about creating new programs for the university, right up through the Regents, have to take into consideration a lot more than Mr. H. seems to be aware of.

Actually, I think this is the third salvo attacking the U., not the second. The first came when Mr. Peterson first presented his grand vision in the Union ballroom on campus about two years ago. Mr. Ed Allen, noted gondolista and ardent supporter of the Peterson proposal, was seriously annoyed when campus people had the temerity to actually ask questions about Peterson's plan. Like, "is it feasible?" Like "is it safe to have hiking trails crossing fairways, as this plan does?" Like "can you really run a fairway along the side of a mountain, with a fifty or sixty foot difference in elevation from one side of the fairway to the other, as this plan does?" [Hmmmm... wasn't Mt. Ogden Park Golf Course not having dead flat fairways offered by Hizzonah as evidence of its being "not golfer friendly"? I seem to recall....]

Mr. Allen was so annoyed that campus people were daring to ask questions about the Peterson plan rather than simply tugging their forelocks in awe and approval, that he was heard to say "they're all idiots up here." "Asking questions," it seems, he thought synonymous with "failing to cooperate." That was salvo one.

Then Mr. Geiger's recent blast in the SE. He too was annoyed that WSU's president, and the faculty committee charged with looking into selling the college's land to Peterson, and the Board of Regents all decided the sale was not in WSU's best interest. Their daring to ask questions and their having the temerity to reach a conclusion other than Mr. Geiger's was, again, "failing to cooperate."

And now Mr. Hitzig's little essay complaining that his wonderful idea about creating a new university program [that would assist his business plans] did not receive immediate approval and enthusiastic implementation. And so he trotted out "naysaying" and "lack of cooperation" yet again.

I wonder who will write the next one? Mr. Mylar perhaps, attacking WSU for not establishing scholarships for a varsity synchronized swimming team that could have performed at his indoor water park. Perhaps we will soon be told on the SE's op-ed page that WSU's "failure to cooperate" was the real reason he pulled out of the project. I can hardly wait....

PS: Althepal: actually, Mr. Hitzing's most memorable film, to date anyway, was "Electra-glide in Blue." It has become something of a cult classic. No need to demean his work as a film maker to criticize his excursions into Ogden politics.

Curmudgeon said...

Hey, amidst all The Producer bashing, don't overlook the SE's front page picture and associated video this morning. It shows folks climbing from Malan's Basin up Mt. Ogden on anchored routes established by Ogden Climbing Parks, as part of the "Outdoor Retailer Open Air Demo." [I wish the SE gave more information about what that is.] Demo continues today at Snowbasin and Pineview. Not clear if that includes the climbing routes.

The print edition has only the picture and caption, but the on line edition [the free one] includes a video of the climbing, interviews with climbers, etc. Worth a look.

The print edition picture can be found here. You can find the video by going to the SE's free page, link here, and then on the "Standard Live Video" menu, right center on the page, choosing "Climbing the basin." The film will start running after a thirty second ad.

fore!!!!! said...

Bill C. He has Mike Mathieu, the City Fire Chief on the Golf Course committee. Mathieu wouldnt dare oppose anything that Godfrey suggests, Mathieu is a spineless shit, that doesnt care one iota about the Fire Department, he only cares about keeping his sweet retirement in place compensation secure.

Fishy? Yep!!!!

so exactly what said...

So exactly what has WSU actually made happen for Ogden? Absolutely without any doubt- nothing. Proposals, critiques, and blockages of actual attemps to pull the city out of the crapper are not accomplishments.

The vast majority of all you jackasses who oppose the Mayor weren't born here, and won't be staying- leaving the rest of the town folk with your aftermath.

RudiZink said...

"So exactly what has WSU actually made happen for Ogden? Absolutely without any doubt- nothing."

So you're suggesting that WSU, which has an undergraduate enrollment of 18,045,and a grad school enrollment of 385, contributes "absolutely nothing" to our local community?

How do you people expect to be taken seriously when you lead off with boneheaded statements like the one above?

Sheesh!

irony lover said...

Matt Godfrey graduated from WSU.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

Not to mention all the construction that has occurred, and is happening now, on the campus. Plus the University payroll, which is not insignificant, plus the hundreds of staffers and faculty members and administration folk who have bought homes in Ogden, who volunteer a great deal of their time [and often expertise] to city projects, committees and organizations. Not to mention WSU students, and faculty, who do a lot of work with the schools, mostly after school, tutoring at risk students, bringing their language and other skills up to speed. Some of it [minimally] paid, much of it volunteer. Not to mention that the annual meeting of military historians came to Ogden last year, filling the downtown hotels, booking the convention center, and filling downtown restaurants for a weekend. The meeting brought several hundred people in for three days. The meeting coming here was arranged by a WSU History Department member who organized the proposal, made the pitch, and won convention for Ogden. Most local arrangements when Ogden won the convention site organized by that professor and staff from the History Department and the U., working with, of course, the Ogden Convention and Visitors Bureau.

And not to mention that the Western States College Bookstore Association held their annual convention here some years ago --- twice --- which would not have happened if WSU had not been here.

And not to mention the WSU Readers and Writers Conference and the Storytelling Festival, and other similar events, all of which bring people, often hundreds of them at a time, to the city, to its hotels and motels, and to its restaurants.

All that just for openers, of course....

And not to mention that having a university in-town is a not-inconsiderable factor in inducing companies to locate here. It matters, and WSU's being here, right in town, for the employees and families of the companies involved to benefit from is part of the pitch to them to relocate here.

Sometimes, it can be the factor that decides things. I'm not plugged in enough here to know much in detail about recruitment pitches to companies to come here, but I've seen the process a lot more closely elsewhere, and sometimes the factor that determines whether a company will locate at City A or City B is that City A has a university and City B does not. I've seen the correspondence.

beaver said...

Curm:

You wrote:

"not insignificant"

"not-inconsiderable"

I know you're a History professor, but what was your Minor all those years ago, double negatives?

Petty jab, I know, but that shit drives me crazy when you continually hold yourself up to be oh-so intellectually superior.

Moroni McConkie said...

I was born in Ogden.

I'm not sure what the corollary to "jackasses who oppose the mayor weren't born here" would be.

"Jackasses who support the mayor were born here," maybe?

Too dumb to pick his own handle said...

Rudi- you are joking right? you wrote "So you're suggesting that WSU, which has an undergraduate enrollment of 18,045,and a grad school enrollment of 385, contributes "absolutely nothing" to our local community?"

First, over 90% of these 'enrolled' don't live in Ogden, don't pay taxes in Ogden, and don't even spend enough to keep a Starbucks across the street open. Second, these 'enrolled' don't even pay enough fees to support the University which has to be subsidized by MILLIONS of dollars each year. These 'enrolled' of yours contribute inconsequentially to Ogden's economy, the Professors attempt to control the city by blocking real projects, and have come up with ABSOLUTELY NO forward progress on anything that will economically benefit a hurting town. They sit in their houses on the hill and say 'not here not here' claiming reverence in 'saving mother earth's open space' but they're nowhere to be found in South Ogden or North Ogden or anywhere else that houses are going up on the hillside. Why? because they're full of crap- they care about open space, but more about living in a nice section of a cheap city. Don't look toward town- where they've done nothing. Don't care about the city, just their little spec.

RudiZink said...

That's twice now I've wasted my time reposting your juvenile crap under and an acceptable "anonymous" id. Three strikes and you're out.

And no... I wasn't joking... nor am I now.

This board is for grownups, BTW.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Curmudgeon said...

Beaver:

Sorry, but they're not double negatives.

As for this: you continually hold yourself up to be oh-so intellectually superior.

Sorry, again, Beaver, but you must have me confused with someone else who posts here. I can't think of a single post I've ever put up in which I claim to be "oh-so intellectually superior." I don't mind defending the arguments I put up, but it's a little hard being criticized for things I've never said or claimed.

Curmudgeon said...

Too Dumb:

This is probably pointless, but what the hell, it's between terms and I'm looking for reasons to delay mowing the lawn, so here goes:

1. As for the U. contributing nothing to actually help the city. You might want to check out the business incubator program WSU is involved in, providing economic, sometimes technical and other expertise to start-ups to help get them off the ground successfully.

2. Second: folks like you seem always to miss what should be an obvious point. I live in Ogden. This city is my home. I own a house here. My family lives here. We visit 25th with some regularity. To shop. To eat. People like me... who choose to live here... have absolutely nothing to gain from a deteriorating Ogden, and much to gain from an improving one. If faculty members and WSU staff who live in Ogden worked against improving life in the city, we would truly be as dumb, and as irresponsible, as you seem to think we are.

What is behind your complaint, seems to me, is that many in Ogden, not just WSU faculty and staff, think some of the projects you favor will not improve life in the city overall, but diminish it.

Some tactical advice, which I fully expect you to ignore: dismissing those who disagree with you over a matter of policy as dumb, stupid, unprincipled, and so on is generally not a wise policy. It is more likely to lose you support than to win it.

Damn. Nothing more to say. The lawn awaits....

RudiZink said...

Good job, anonymous! You've been banned from the board in just a half-day!

I do believe that's a new record for Godfreyite/Gondolists narcissists such as you!

Have fun posting to yourself in "the dungeon."

RudiZink said...

Beaver & Curm:

The use of the so-called "double negative" is one of those things we learnt from grade-school shoolmarms whose main object was teaching their little semi-literate charges to write coherent written missives.

It's a rule that was NOT designed for writers already competent in English Language expression.

It's a rule that's regularly violated in a time-honored way by competent wordsmiths such as Shakespeare, Huxley, Robert Louis Stevenson and others throughout the course of English language literary history.

For readers who are interested in this, I'd suggest reading this chapter (Chapter 8 -- The Double Negative) from H.L. Mencken's most excellent and seminal work, which is excerpted from H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

To no one's surprise, this truly fantastic book is available for purchase through Rudi's Amazon Online Bookstore:

The American Language -- H.L Mencken

It's all about artistic license, folks.

Buy it... and read up!

Curmudgeon said...

Ah... Mencken. Who set the standard for curmudgeon-hood. Or curmudgeon-ness. Or curmudgeonicity. Take your choice....

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

By the way, "not inconsiderable" and "not insignificant are not double negatives. Not even Mencken thought so.

beaver said...

Curm & Rudi:

Artistic license aside and in deference to your impressive list of great writers, Curm's incessant use of his passive, pseudo-intellectual devise is weak and poorly constructed. Write "Godfrey's forehead is significant"–not "Godfrey's forehead is not insignificant."

Consult your local school marm Rudi-it's popular among lawyers, too, when they want to sound really smart.

And Curm, my assessment of you was perhaps a bit too harsh. I'll temper it some by saying you're at least a condescending, self-import bore.

RudiZink said...

I agree, Curm.

I neverthelss recommend that you buy the book.

A smart guy like you, who's lived in far-flung American places like New York, Louisiana and Utah, with the many diverse American pronunciations of English-derived words, will particularly love the tedious research and true scholarship that Mencken put into this sometimes "overlooked" work.

RudiZink said...

"Artistic license aside and in deference to your impressive list of great writers, Curm's incessant use of his passive, pseudo-intellectual devise is weak and poorly constructed. Write 'Godfrey's forehead is significant'–not 'Godfrey's forehead is not insignificant.'"

My take? Let our readers express themselves in the manner they choose. So long as the expressed message is clear, why harp upon anal-retentive grammatical rules?

Why engage in distracting debates about style and sentence structure?

We're NOT the Harvard Debating Society here, after all.

Just a thought.

Curmudgeon said...

Beaver:

You wrote: I'll temper it some by saying you're at least a condescending, self-import bore.

Well, OK, then. That's more like it. [Grin]

beaver said...

"Let our readers express themselves in the manner in which they choose." (?)

Just as long as it's something you deem worthy, eh Rudi?

As a low-brow, moronic, anti-social malcontent, I'm not too concerned about style of any kind.

I just couldn't help but jab at the good professor. It's just a bit of sport. Hell, even I said it was petty.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled "Look how f***ing smart and reasonable I am" program.

Cheers.

WSU Supporter said...

"Too dumb" and "So exactly" that first moniker describes you both perfectly! You ARE "Too dumb" to know that a university in a any city is a marketing asset that businesses look at when relocating! Universities add culture (something about which you know nothing) and quality of life to a community. Apparently your IQ prohibits you from participating in the many classes that COULD IMPPROVE YOUR LIFE! All that interests you and our immature mayor is play things! Why don't you all grow up?!

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