The title of this essay is a term minted in this office to describe the rampant and insidious malaise and apathy we as journalists observe from workers in governmental agencies. As Kingstonians, it’s easy to feel this lassitude is confined to Kingston City Hall, but trust us when we say it ain’t unique to Kingston, or even Ulster County for that matter. What’s up with that?
Thing is, there’s cogs and gears in the machine not spinning in their proper direction. Some are jammed. Some spin in opposite directions; others spin too slowly or quickly. There are many cogs with spokes too dulled to reach one another, and some too sharp. Basically, it’s a surliness and a can’t-do attitude which makes those trying to get results from their city government roll their eyes heavenward and utter, either out loud or in their heads, many foul oaths.
So. Mayor Sotille issued an edict a few years ago that there were no more funds in the city’s budget for events like the re-enactment of the burning of Kingston. Fair enough? You decide. Point is, a non-local, early American history re-enactment group felt that Kingston’s Uptown streets and structures were the idyllic setting to re-invent the sounds, smells, colors and bustle of early American history — so much so that it was worth investing more than $5,000 of their members’ personal funds to make it happen.
But rather than blasting the social media pages, magazines and newspapers, as well as city, county, tourism, state and uptown business web pages; alerting Kingston city schools and surrounding town’s schools, SUNY colleges, senior centers, Boy and Girl Scout troops; plastering the city with fliers, informing churches and synagogues and more with invitations to come party with exploding cannons and American rebels there was from the city’s publicity machine a silence as hushed as the day in 1777 the Redcoats landed and found the empty streets of Kingston. Why?