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Volume 55, Number 7   October 1, 2007         

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April 2006 Newsmakers


WWII Remembered
Professor Emeritus of Economics William Mason has never forgotten the brutal, vivid images from his time during World War II as a gunner aboard a gunnery support ship. In a Sept. 23 San Francisco Chronicle article, Mason recounted his experience as a 19-year-old fighting in the Battle of Okinawa, when his ship (which was slower and smaller than a San Francisco ferry boat) pulled close to a destroyer that was hit by a kamikaze and engulfed in flames. Mason said he can still see the fallen men, “lying there, burned, dead. You never forget that."

Mason's efforts to preserve one of these gunnery support ships (dubbed "Mighty Midgets" by the U.S. Navy) were profiled in a second San Francisco Chronicle article on Sept. 26. Mason chairs a group of veterans responsible for bringing one of the last Mighty Midgets to a memorial on Mare Island in Vallejo. Mason explained that for the 65 men he served with, ships like these were their homes and their lives. " 'This is our ship,' we thought. 'It's gonna take care of you. It's gonna get you home.' "That's why they call ships 'she.' It's like your mother."

Raising Cane
Melissa Camacho, associate professor of broadcast and electronic communication arts, discussed the new CBS drama "Cane," which centers on a Cuban-American family. "Not only is it bringing a Latino family to television -- a rarity in itself," said Camacho, "it's a Latino family with wealth and power making an extraordinary contribution to society, instead of a Latino family living in a barrio in East L.A. It's a very different portrayal." Camacho also commented on some of the reasons why Latino-themed dramas have been missing from prime time, network television. "It's not for a lack of ideas and/or talented people. It's just that the networks haven't been willing to accept the fact that Latinos are a viable segment of the audience," she said. "It gets to the point where you have to have that rare Latino with a lot of power in Hollywood to push your project through."

Mike on "Off Mike"
Professor of English Michael Krasny, who hosts KQED radio's "Forum" program, talked about his new book, "Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life," with the Sacramento Bee on Sept. 25. Krasny discussed a wide range of topics in the interview including his academic interests, his interview style, and his lifelong desire to be a novelist. He said the reasons for writing a memoir vary. "Why did I write this book? It fluctuates, depends on what my interpretation of the past is. But I think it has to do with always wanting to be a writer and realizing a novel was not going to come out. So I did the foolish and somewhat execrable thing and wrote about myself."


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Last modified September 14, 2007, by University Communications.