5/25/2010 11:45:43 AM
Chloe Angyal over at Feministing has a smart essay on a recent Paley Center for Media panel on women writers working in late-night television comedy. Sensing that the female panelists didn’t think gender was the true explanation for the dearth of women in comedy, Angyal draws an acute connection between women comedy writers and female traders on Wall Street:
It is no coincidence that the discussion of why there are so few women in late night comedy sounded so similar to a discussion of why there are so few women on the trading floor. In both industries, women are perceived to be naturally less gifted, ensuring that only the best women will put themselves forward. And in both industries, being loud and aggressive is a job requirement. Given that women in our society are discouraged from being loud and aggressive, the real failure of the women who can't hack it in a male-dominated work environment seems to be that they are, well, women.
Listening to the panelists on Thursday night, I was frustrated, but hardly surprised, that they insisted on portraying what is partly a cultural problem as a purely individual one. In late night as on Wall Street, the stakes are high. Speak out too loudly and you risk rocking the boat. You risk inviting the disapproval of the many men, and the few women, around you. You might end up as a cautionary tale, one of those women who couldn't hack it. You might even lose your job.
Image by TheeErin, licensed under Creative Commons.
5/19/2010 2:06:20 PM
I've been reading Matt Novak's Paleo-Future blog since it launched in 2007. His obsession with "retro-futurism" has made him something of a scholar on the subject. Visit the blog today and you'll find posts on a "mechanical man" from 1930 and the futuristic visions of a French commercial artist in 1899.Now Novak wants to make a magazine, and you can help.
He's fundraising over at the collaborative fundraising site Indiegogo, and here's his vision for the magazine and the benefits of funding it into reality:
Paleo-Future Magazine will look at past visions of the future including: jetpacks, flying cars, meal pills, end of the world prophecies, robots, gender roles, architecture, fashion, videophones, monorails, space travel and much more!
If you're the podcast type, you can hear our interview with Novak last year for the UtneCast. You can also read Novak's Utne.com guest post about the best online archives you've probably never heard of.
5/18/2010 10:02:56 AM
In Utne Visionary Cory Doctorow's latest Guardian column, he calls for the death of the "information wants to be free" argument. This is not a new argument for Doctorow, but it is damn well formed this time around:
it's become the easiest, laziest straw man for Hollywood's authoritarian bullies to throw up as a justification for the monotonic increase of surveillance, control, and censorship in our networks and tools. I can imagine them saying: "These people only want network freedom because they believe that 'information wants to be free'. They pretend to be concerned about freedom, but the only 'free' they care about is 'free of charge.'"
But this is just wrong. "Information wants to be free" has the same relationship to the digital rights movement that "kill whitey" has to the racial equality movement: a thoughtless caricature that replaces a nuanced, principled stand with a cartoon character. Calling IWTBF the ideological basis of the movement is like characterising bra burning as the primary preoccupation of feminists (in reality, the number of bras burned by feminists in the history of the struggle for gender equality appears to be zero, or as close to it as makes no difference).
Image by Horia Varian, licensed under Creative Commons.
5/17/2010 11:14:20 AM
When Anderson Cooper is late to your local disaster, you know something is wrong. But it wasn't just the Silver Fox who sat out the devastating Nashville floods. Here's Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post:
The New York Times sent a reporter to Nashville, but the story never made the front page. The Washington Post relied solely on the Associated Press. The Los Angeles Times used a staffer who did not travel to Tennessee. ABC, CBS and NBC sent correspondents whose pieces aired for a day or two on the morning and evening newscasts. Such reports often mentioned that the Opryland Hotel was under nearly 10 feet of water but had little time to explore the scope and texture of the human suffering.
...There's little question that the other two mega-stories had far greater national implications. The Times Square plot exposed gaps in the country's terrorism defenses, and administration officials have linked the unsuccessful attack to the Pakistani Taliban. The BP debacle threatens the coastline of several states and has reshaped the debate over the safety of offshore drilling.
In Nashville, though, a storied American city suffered a devastating blow and many lives were lost. It's too bad the news business seems able to juggle only one or two crises at a time.
Bob Sellers was a bit more pointed over at Huffington Post:
It took well known musicians like Keith Urban and Vince Gill to get the concerted attention of the national media. On Thursday the 6th, Anderson Cooper came to town and gave a voice to flood victims who, with the spirit of the deeply faithful, resolutely face their uncertain future. It was late in the week, but Tennesseans appreciate gracious guests, even when they don't show up on time.
Yes, terrorism is a threat. But nobody died with the bomb that didn't go off in Times Square. Twenty-three people lost their lives in the flood, and roughly twenty-thousand individuals so far have applied for federal aid to get them back on their feet. And while the oil leak in the gulf allowed cable networks to fill hours of programming by calling upon their usual political guests inside the Beltway to talk about the blessings and curses of drilling offshore, the reality is that the debate over drilling will not end with this spill--or the next.
We know from experience that when it rains in New York, the whole country gets wet. When it snows there, the Ice Age is upon us. But news goes on outside of New York and Washington. There's a whole country out there. And stories worth telling.
Sources: Washington Post, Huffington Post
Image by president raygun, licensed under Creative Commons.
5/13/2010 11:34:14 AM
I just ordered Issue Zero of 48 HR Magazine, and now I'm all excited about what I'm calling "magazine gymnastics"—the art of maximum agility in magazine production.
If you missed the hurricane that was 48 HR Magazine last week, here's a recap: On May 7th the editors of 48 HR announced a theme for the debut issue: Hustle. Interested writers and artists had 24 hours to produce and submit work. The next 24 hours were for the editorial team to "snip, mash and gild" the best submissions until they had a magazine. At the end of that period, the magazine was avaialble for purchase at MagCloud. And it's beautiful.
Also this week I downloaded the iPhone app by British design magazine Creative Review. It's an interactive adaptation of their annual design showcase issue and it's an incredible piece of work (built by Russell Quinn, the fellow behind the also amazing McSweeney's iPhone app). Every time I open the app I'm gone from the world for at least 15 minutes. For every featured project there are photos, the occasional video, and text. When the big news magazines talk about releasing each issue as an app, I bristle—but special issues as apps? I'm a believer.
Finally there is a tiny magazine published in South Africa called Goodwill Fernandes. I want it bad. Real bad. Here's what Creative Review (yeah, those folks again) had to say about this 5x8 cm adventure in publishing: "The magazine comes in a tiny slipcase which can be removed to reveal the tiny, landscape format magazine. Inside there are short stories from both sides of the Atlantic and an interview by Pienaar with Francois van Coke—South Africa's most controversial rock star; a story on a group called Jesus Saves that cleans up Cape Town's graffiti by painting block shapes or stripes over the old graffiti; and a look at how Argentina's government uses the medium of graffiti (which is otherwise banned in the country) as its most effective medium for propaganda and campaigning. And a whole lot more including a selection of knock knock jokes..." How do I get my hands on this thing?
I'm hooked—and I am on the magazine gymnastics beat from this day forward. If you come across anything I ought to know about, find me at jguntzel [at] utne [dot] com. Onward!
Sources: 48 HR, Creative Review
5/11/2010 3:57:37 PM
When the Brooklyn Public Library temporarily suspended service on Sundays last summer, residents improvised and set up shop on the sidewalk instead, reports Marianne Do in Next American City. Volunteers set up the library dubbed “Branch,” and gathered hundreds of books to lend out from their card table and crate stacks. Patrons filled out “memory cards” for the books they checked out, scrawling a message about the neighborhood on a card kept inside the book. Do reports that since closing last December, the library has been housed at the Brooklyn Hospital Center.
Source: Next American City
5/4/2010 3:02:23 PM
Cuts at your favorite media organizations? Take comfort in the probability that the executives in charge are doing just fine.
From a New York Times story:
Top executives at the country’s largest media companies continued to reel in multimillion-dollar pay packages in 2009, a year of widespread cost-cutting throughout the industry. In several cases, the packages even increased from the year before.
At the top of the list is
, chief executive of the , whose pay package in 2009 totaled almost $43 million, more than twice what he made in 2008, according to an analysis by Equilar, an research firm.
Not far behind was
’s chief executive, , who was paid nearly $34 million, a 22 percent increase over 2008. , who controls CBS and Viacom, was paid more than $33 million from the two companies combined.
“Anybody who reads the business section knows the margins are being squeezed at media companies, so the fact that there are these huge packages makes no sense,” said James F. Reda, the founder of James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm with offices in New York and Atlanta.
Hey, it's lonely at the top! You've got to get something out of the deal.
Source: New York Times
Image by kevindooley, licensed under Creative Commons.
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