Two versions of this broadcast originally aired: one, for the local news, and one for the national. It’s a challenge to describe architecture — especially complicated, unusual architecture — on the radio. What follows is both scripts.
Original air dates: August 8 and September 5, 2008.
Yale University is in the last stages of renovating one of its most important pieces of architectural history: the Rudolph Building, formerly called the Art and Architecture Building, on the corner of Chapel and York Streets. The protective sheeting has come off the exterior, to reveal, once again, its large, tall slabs of concrete, its blocky structure, its giant windows. The building is the work of Paul Rudolph, who headed up the university’s architecture department in the late 50s and early 60s, and it is considered just about the first example in America of the style of architecture known as “brutalism”. WSHU’s Erik Campano looked at the building, inside and out.
Health crises in the Global South cannot be underreported. In the United States, they get far, far too little media attention, proportionate to the amount of coverage of the latest fad diet or cosmetic surgery trend. For example, 780 million people do not have access to clean water. 3.4 million die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene related causes. How many stories have you seen in the last year in American media about water in the developing world? You can probably count them on one hand.
Health care is a moral issue. That’s what makes it, by nature, a religious issue. So I’ve made global health and humanitarian aid the focus of an ongoing series of articles as part of my work on journalism of religion at Stories Untold.
Trigger warning: sexual assault and gender-based violence.
A shorter — although incomplete — version of this story is told in another article: 11 Reasons Why Pastors Should Never Date Their Parishioners. The complete story is not fundamentally about parishioners dating their pastors. It’s about how society fails to respond to people with the courage to report gender-based violence.
We all have the power to work together to stop sexual assault and rape victims from being blamed, ignored, or falsely discredited, and ensure that organizations like churches, schools, and businesses have transparent and fair procedures and documentation about sexual abuse.
This multi-media essay, both investigative journalism and memoir, is copyrighted to me, Erik Campano. Please ask my permission before reproducing it in whole or large part. And please don’t quote it out of context.
It’s also a work in progress. I think it always will be. It’s one of those stories that’s impossible to tell fully, or with all the nuance it deserves. That’s because the psychological and political interplay is so complex, and there are so many unanswered questions: what motivated Ginger Strickland, how church leaders were strategizing behind the scenes, why my own family over-reacted, why I became so anxious by the church’s attempts to bury the case. So many people who have read this story have had questions about it, and so I find myself going back, adding, clarifying. So if there’s something you don’t understand — or if you have a similar story — do not hesitate to let me know.
This essay is Part II of my series at Patheos, Clergy Sexual Boundary Violations. I have posted it on my website rather than directly on Patheos, because I do not believe that I should be making money off the incredible amount of suffering involved. However, if you would like to provide some compensation for these writings, I’d ask that you donate to The Faith Trust Institute or The Hope Of Survivors.
It’s a good hour read. I’ll try to keep it snappy, with pictures. I’m happy to take feedback at the end.
* * * * *
I’m going public today with something I’ve kept inside for almost two years. In 2011, an Episcopal pastor initated an ultimately abusive “relationship” with me, and I ended up attempting suicide. One summer later, my story appeared in the New York Post, and Episcopal officials made a legal agreement with the paper to print a partially false, trivialized version of the events. How? Why?
My story is incredibly hard to write about, because I face not one, not two, but three stigmas. You face a stigma if you admit that:
1) you’ve been the victim of an abusive relationship (yes, I now use the word victim)
2) you are male and were the victim of an abusive relationship
3) you attempted suicide
Furthermore, I risk the wrath of certain Episcopal officials by publishing this. The church has communications staff, lawyers, risk management specialists, and so forth, whose job it is to keep such stories from going public. However, and this is a big however, there have been many Episcopal leaders — clergy and lay — who have demonstrated great courage in telling the truth about this case. I can’t do most of them justice by mentioning them in this essay, because of privacy concerns. But the key point is: in matters of dealing with sexual misconduct, parts of the Episcopal Church are corrupt, but other parts are working very well, with compassion, grace, and a progressive stance.
Writing this is also difficult simply because I’m describing the most painful events of my life, by far. They took me through sadness, guilt, anxiety, and loneliness so profound that many friends and family felt helpless in trying to alleviate it. I’ll try to articulate it as best I can, but no words will ever capture how black the darkness was during my particular night of the soul. There are also some happy moments, and I’ll have to use some humor, just as a mechanism to cope with what I saw and felt.
I’m also glad to tell my story, though, because it serves the healing process. And in order to explain how the church and the Post ended up making their deal, I have to include the abuse and the suicidality. They’re key to understanding whole sequence of events.
What makes my case so interesting is that it is well-documented. We all know that churches try to cover up sexual abuse, but because it is so often reported among the very secretive Roman Catholic leadership, we are rarely able to get a window into the details of how and why they do it. Decisions are made in hushed conversations behind closed doors, and they leave little paper trail.
My case, however, happened in the much smaller Episcopal Church, which has a very similar structure — bishops, priests, deacons — but is slightly more transparent. The Episcopal Church has brand new and mostly untested rules in place for dealing with sexual misconduct reports. These procedures, called “Title IV” should, at least in theory, create a written record of what happened. But because in my case, the clergy wasn’t caught red-handed in, say, child sex abuse — that is, because officials had to evaluate whether policy was broken — they had the wiggle room to trivialize the events publicly.
We’re going to attempt the impossible here, which is to summarize a complex, 2-year psychodrama. I have no idea what the right way to tell this story is. So let’s go with a timeline.
Ever since American architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House was opened to the public in 2007, people have had the chance to inspect, close up, the house and its plot — which includes some traditional buildings, an artificial lake, and an art museum. Inspired by the Glass House, a beautiful conversation about modern versus contemporary styles was recently hosted online by John Hill, a blogger, architect and professor based here in New York City. One of the commentators, architect and preservationist John Montague Massengale, grew up in the New York suburbs, near the Glass House. So did I. Massengale wrote about an experience rather idiosyncratic to our little corner of the world — an adventure also mentioned in the radio piece below.
After I got my driver’s license, I used to sometimes go peer over the wall at the edge of the property, and once or twice Johnson came out and shook his fist before I drove away.
It was sort of a rite of passage for kids in the area who cared about architecture to have Philip Johnson’s fist shaken at them. Massengale has since argued trenchantly that a lot of suburban corporate architectural components are now being incorporated into new New York business headquarters — like the World Trade Center complex — and this is a development of which, perhaps, he’s not particularly fond.
…they are purposely isolated and apart form the surrounding city like a suburban, gated community … from the look of it, it will be a monstrously scaled landscape of foreboding spaces, underground shopping, and bland skyscrapers landing on bare concrete. The quality of the area is typified by Tower One: the 1,776-foot-tall boring and bland middle finger to the rest of the city.
The audio below is a segment for the Fairfield County Business Showcase, a weekly series I produced for WSTC/WNLK in 2007. (My General Manager required me to use this cumbersome name for the program, but I preferred just to call it, The Showcase, because, well, it wasn’t just about business.) A group of Darien High School music students provided the a capella jingle at the beginning.
Here’s the audio, and the transcript is pasted below.
[ca_audio url="http://www.erikcampano.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/segment20623.mp3" width="500" height="27" css_class="codeart-google-mp3-player" autoplay="false"]
WSTC/WNLK: The Gala Civic Opening of Philip Johnson’s Glass House (Air date: June 23, 2007)
Erik Campano: Right now, on Ponus Ridge in New Canaan, the Glass House is holding its inaugural gala picnic. Members of the inviting committee include the great painter Frank Stella, and groundbreaking architect Robert A. M. Stern. One of the tour guides at the Glass House, Peter, says the celebration includes one very big act.
Peter: …the Merce Cunningham dance troupe, who actually performed here and they’re gonna’ perform their exact same routine as they did in 1967.
Campano: Are they the same –
Peter: It won’t be the same people. [laughs] I knew you were gonna’ ask that!
Over a century ago, James O’Rourke made the first base hit in the National League. He played major league ball until the age of 54 — all the while a practicing lawyer with his LL.B. from Yale University. Later, as president of the Connecticut League, he hired the first minor league African-American player in baseball history.
O’Rourke is a proud son of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a once-booming city which now is among the poorest in the nation. An unfinished urban planning project had the entire neighborhood surrounding O’Rourke’s house destroyed in the 1990s — but preservationists managed to keep it up. It sat prominently, alone, among acres of weeds, and was viewable both from Bridgeport’s Harbor Yard ballpark, completed in 1998, and from I-95, the super-highway which split the city into two parts in the mid-20th century.
This 2008 radio piece for WSHU won first prize in the enterprise category from the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcaster’s Association. I created a version with still pictures so people could have a visual experience of the house and the people who fought — unsuccessfully — for its existence. It was demolished in 2009.
The script is pasted below.
Next to I-95 in Bridgeport sits a single, abandoned house surrounded by vacant lots. It’s fenced off, and it’s left legions of drivers – and Bridgeporters – wondering what it’s doing there. WSHU’s Erik Campano got a rare look inside that house – and learned how from, one day to the next, it risks disappearing into history.
Prompted by an editor who has worked at NGOs for years fighting human trafficking, this series started with an interview with an Evangelical megapastor, and then an academic who raises questions about whether Evangelicals are monopolizing American anti-trafficking efforts. A lively debate proceeded from there, which took us from Nepal to South Africa and back to New York City.
A 2009 piece of long-form (20 min.) radio journalism, this feature for Rendezvous, a program on French culture, explores the Michelin Guide, the pioneering restaurant review publication. It’s influential — and some say, influenced.
The draft script is pasted below. You’ll notice some differences between my version and the one that aired. The editor took out some of the best jokes. :l
Click the link to hear the piece: The Myths and Mysteries of the Michelin Stars
RENDEZ-VOUS APRIL 16, 2009
MICHELIN GUIDE 10TH EDITION
NARRATION IN BOLD IS RECORDED IN STUDIO
CHANGES TO FIRST DRAFT ARE UNDERLINED
- ROMAN NUMERAL.ARABIC NUMERAL INDICATES AUDIO TITLES
- IF YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO THE SOUND IN THE ORIGINAL AUDIO, THE ROMAN NUMERAL INDICATES THE AUDIO FILE (PRECEDED BY CM) AND THE ARABIC NUMERAL INDICATES THE APPROXIMATE MARKER INSIDE THAT FILE.
- X“ DENOTES RAW AUDIO LENGTH WITHOUT INTERIOR CUTS
- … NOTATES A SUBSTANTIAL INTERIOR CUT IN THE RAW ACTUALITY
(XVI MUSIC UP A FEW SECONDS THEN FADE TO BED)
WHEN ANCIENT CAPTAINS WERE NAVIGATING THE OCEANS, THEY USED THE STARS AS THEIR GUIDE. AND WHEN MODERN FRENCH GOURMETS NAVIGATE THE COUNTRY LOOKING FOR THE BEST FOOD, THEY ALSO USE STARS – MICHELIN STARS. THAT IS, THE STARS THATMICHELIN INCLUDES IN ITS TRAVEL GUIDE BOOKS, PROBABLY THE MOST INFLUENTIAL RESTAURANT REVIEW SYSTEM IN THE WORLD.
(MUSIC UP FOR A FEW SECONDS AND DOWN TO BED)
I’M ERIK CAMPANO. THIS WEEK ON RENDEZ-VOUS: THE MICHELINGUIDE IS CELEBRATING ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY, AND WE’LL USE THAT OCCASION TO LOOK AT THE IDIOSYNCRATIC CULTURE SURROUNDING THE MICHELIN STAR. THE COMPANY HAS A SECRETIVE PROCESS OF AWARDING THEM; CHEFS UNDERGO TURMOIL TO GET AND KEEP THEM; AND OUTSIDERS TELL STORIES OF RESTAURANT REVIEWERS GONE CORRUPT.
It was suggested to me that I interview popular preacher R.J. Sproul, Jr., about his new DVD series, Economics for Everybody. The interview ultimately raised not just questions about goods and services, but about how clerics use their discipline to try to promote economic ideologies.