Ron Tanner

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Local Art Teacher Shares Four Ways “Whiplash” Gets Art and Aspiration Wrong

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Writer/musician Ron Tanner takes Oscar-contender “Whiplash” to task.

Oscar-contender “Whiplash” — about a talented college drumming student under the tutelage of a maniacal master teacher– has made a well-deserved splash with both critics and viewers. The film’s pyrotechnic student-teacher duel plays like a hot-jazz cutting contest and you’d be the odd exception if you came away from the movie without great admiration for the acting: J. K. Simmons is a marvel. That said, the aptly-named “Whiplash” left me shaken because, as a long-time teacher of the arts, I found so much of its message wrong-headed, if not downright wrong.

Breaking and Entering

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Baltimore writer and Loyola University prof Ron Tanner doesn’t believe all “no trespassing” signs ought to be obeyed.

I break into old houses. Unoccupied houses. Abandoned houses. They have to be architecturally interesting, and the older, the better. I started doing this when I was 10, always in the company of my two older brothers. We never took “no trespassing” signs seriously. This is problematic, I understand. I am now a property owner and think of myself as respectful of other property owners. So, let me admit the obvious: trespassing is wrong. That’s why it’s against the law. Still, a “no trespassing” sign on an old, empty house seems to me more of a suggestion than an injunction.

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