Gatekeepers and party crashers

We have a new gate between the goat pasture and the hay field.  The neighbor’s longhorn bull wandered into the pasture to the beds we will be turrning into a greenhouse soon.  Those long horns would have wreaked havoc on the plastic if it had been up.

Gate_Keeper,_SrivaikundamWe needed a gate to dissuade roaming cows.  We settled on the quick, easy and cheap Ozark gate design.  All it requires is two hickory or oak staves and a few yards of barbed wire.  We already had those lying around.  So we have a passable gate and the longhorn hasn’t been in that pasture since.

Some vegan, animal rightist women and Hindus object to our constraining the freedom of cows.  The sacred cows get to walk wherever they like in the streets of Mumbai.

We are pretty much the same at Meadowcreek.  We really don’t like gates and gatekeepers.  And we  mostly ignore them.

Once we visited  Mackinac Island during a power outage.  Our hotel rate dropped to rock botttom because everyone else cancelled their reservations.  We were the only ones in the dark hotel, or at least the only people.  Bats invaded the structure almost immediately.  One blonde in our party was not happy when one got stuck in her hair.

Gas generators allowed the most fancy hotels to stay open.  We decided to walk to the most famous of all the Grand Hotel.  Anyone can enter the enormous lobby, but only the lobby.  Placards to dissuade the poor and unwashed were posted at all the hallways leading off to banquet rooms, massages, and other activities necessary for rich vacationers.

Such a sign stopped most in our party, but two of us didn’t see any signs and just walked around the hotel like we belonged there.  We weren’t challenged because we adopted the haughty demeanor of the rich.

At Meadowcreek there are visitors who don’t obey the signs.  We get poachers now and then.  Signs alone just don’t work.

Only people deter other people from poaching.  So we drive up and down our roads on Saturday mornings early.  That’s when we have the most problems.  Lazy riflemen from the city cruise down, see a deer in the field, shoot it from their car window, drag it across the field to their car.  Leave it bleeding a while on the road so their trunk isn’t so messed up, but not so long that anyone comes by to catch them.

I guess you could call us gatekeepers.  Kurt Lewin coined the term gatekeeping in his book, Forces Behind Food Habits and Methods of Change. The woman in most households is the person deciding what food is placed on the dinner table. The theory of channels and gatekeepers was elaborated in Lewin’s Field Theory of Social Science in 1951. The influence of gatekeepers and their decisions was further developed by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw in what they called agenda setting theory in the 1970s..

gatkeeping theoryDavid Manning White, of the University of Iowa, first showed the power of media gatekeeping.  In 1949, Manning asked newspaper editor Mr. Gates to keep all copy that came into his office from three wire services in one week.  Gates agreed to provide an explanation for why rejected stories were not used.

Our access to world events is tightly constricted.  Of the thousands of stories a newscast could run, only those which fit the editor gatekeeper’s worldview get on.

Gatekeeping can be a lucrative business.  Those burly guys standing  between you and the entrance to that swanky club can pocket all kinds of favors from the desperate.

The university types who keep you from getting the grade or degree you want also wield lots of power.  In the worst cases, “Those who can’t do teach.  And those who can’t teach teach teachers.”

People who have never and will never accomplish anything constructive in life can make a living as gatekeepers.  How do you deal with them?

If you can’t go through them, go around, go over or just change the rules of the game.  It doesn’t pay to just bull your way through.  Skilled gatekeepers love that sort of confrontation and are much better at blocking you than you are at being a jerk.

So we are polite and hospitable until we can’t take it any more.  Then we quietly and gracefully excuse ourselves and head up to Bee Bluff to bellow our frustrations.

The life of many gatekeepers is sad.  All they know how to do is make others’ lives miserable.  As the Fabulous Thunderbirds told us, they build a fence around the only coconut tree to keep the other monkeys out.  The other monkeys can pay the gatekeeper or starve.

it’s too bad gatekeepers can’t find something productive to do with their lives.

Gates are a reality as are gatekeepers.  So we try to smile and joke and play nice.  Don’t always succeed.  Sometimes you just have to brazenly crash the party.  A good lesson for you on this Halloween.


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