Media & the Arts – Doing Inclusion Wrong

Media & the Arts – Doing Inclusion Wrong

Many cultural and humanist advocates have fought for their interest group (races, cultural, LGBTQ+, disabled, elderly people) to be included in TV and movies, to have their arts and music part of the industry. So they can not only be represented in media of the various kinds, but also get awards for this body of art.

And technically there is progress, in that their faces/bodies are on media now….But whether that is a positive thing is still up for discussion.

The tools used to allow them to be included are bigoted/racist. Whether that is thru cultural appropriation or out and out theft of their art, and artifacts. Or whether it’s thru forwarding stereotypes of the people and their history rather than who they actually are. Whether they are viewed as adults or regressed or infantilized. Or a false story or jigsaw puzzle of truths is told that barely reduces the Colonial (whether called Christian or ‘philosophies’) efforts to white wash or delete their history or even them as a people. Or criminalizes their efforts to keep their culture in their own hands and to resist it’s theft. To be in control of their legacy and heritage.

So have the people who society has disenfranchised actually been included in arts and media fairly? It’d be a hard sell to say ‘yes’ when they haven’t even been included fairly in society. Have they heard their real story told? If they have, it’s in a piecemeal fashion.

And what about the peoples and history that have been lost? Is there any fair way to talk about them? When they cannot tell their story, their naming is in racist/bigoted terms and armchair experts (outsiders who may or may not have a good agenda) are the ones claiming to tell and know their story.

So how can this be changed? Or can it be? And in the cry for truth, is there a way to reduce the inevitable pushback by the dominant culture?

IMO there is a LOT of work left to be done. And I’m not sure it’s going in the right direction yet. What do you think?

Are you part of an excluded or revised group? I can remember when I was a kid, my parents’ church community was invited to view a movie made about us. Only a small part of the entire community under our auspices was shown, and it was washed by outsiders. But at the time, it seemed like progress. 40 years later, the same stereotype of the church is still being used to describe us. Like we’re all frozen in time. And that doesn’t sit well now. So I do have a small idea of what that feels like. I’m not a fan of a lot of the industry as a result and have gotten a LOT more careful of what my impression of people is and where it’s coming from now.

Culture and Counter Culture – Thru the Eyes of Philosophers & Artists

Culture and Counter Culture – Thru the Eyes of Philosophers & Artists

Many people who study society look at the common journey. One of duty, belonging and content. Where one in the journey is so compliant to their society, they are almost sedated. Or robotic. Where authority is bowed to. And anyone who disagrees is the odd duck who must be ignored. These eyes want to see the rules of the group.

But then there are others who look at the institutions of authority and see it’s hypocrisy and oppressions. And they try to change it for the better. Or at least buffer the bad for the inmates of the institutions.

And still others who look at the people and groups who refuse to travel inside the ordinary. Those who are ostracised by the larger society and called deviants, mad, slow and criminals.

But do they then take what they learn to change things for the better? To buffer the experience? Or do they fall down the rabbit hole of the counter culture? Separate from the larger society?

And in their quest, do they become themselves? Or do they lose who they were before to become what they now wish to be? Or lose themselves?

We now have people who have followed all these paths and seen their works discussed. Seen their vision and any changes that society tolerated. In some cases, we’ve even seen the pushback from authority and an ill society’s sycophants. In some cases, patterns of change regressed. Will it return when the next tidal wave between liberal and conservative comes along? It’s hard to say. But we can’t continue to say that we’re ignorant of reality or the alternate institutions we could have.

Some of the brightest minds have set their eyes to each factor of this quest of knowing humanity and it’s rules, it’s societies and institutions. Some see the larger picture, the arch that supersedes all these elements. That transcends ages and empires. And you’d think we’d hear them out, consider what they have to say. But no, we tend to not want to know ourselves that well. So the geniuses who reach this level are excommunicated and mocked. And society resists change. Till it cannot stay the same anymore.

Some of these people stand up to the status quo and envision something new. They are the trend setters, the rebels, and the outsiders who refuse to see the vision of what society says we must be. Instead they see who we could become.

People like Charles DickensÉmile Zola and philosophers like Michel Foucault and R. D. Laing & Thomas Szasz.

Misinformation in politics and news -thetrustproject.org

Misinformation in politics and news -thetrustproject.org

Last night I watched an amazing discussion on youtube that was hosted by Stanford univ a few years ago. If you want the recommendations of what you can do (but don’t want to watch the panel discussion) it’s at the end approx 1:42:00.

Today it feels like that was auspicious timing when I heard about the misinformation that was spread about the Tennessee shooting at the Christian private school and who was spreading it all over social media. It was heartbreaking and horrendous. It was foul.

I thought I’d share some good questions from the Trust Project we should ask when we hear such stories:

Best Practices

  • Who funds the site? What is its mission?
  • What standards and ethics guide the process of gathering news?
  • What happens if a journalist has ties to the topic covered?

Journalist Expertise

  • Who made this?
  • Are there details about the journalist, including contact information, areas of knowledge and other stories they’ve worked on?

Type of Work

  • What is this?
  • Do you see story labels with clear definitions to distinguish opinion, analysis and advertiser (or sponsored) content from news reports?

Citations and References

  • What is the source?
  • Does the site tell you where it got its information?
  • For investigative, controversial or in-depth stories, are you given access to the original materials behind the facts and assertions?

Methods

  • Why was it a priority?
  • For investigations, in-depth or controversial stories, why did they pursue the topic?
  • How did they go about the process?

Locally Sourced

  • Do they know the community?
  • Was the reporting done on the scene?
  • Is there evidence of deep knowledge about the local situation or community?

Diverse Voices

  • What are the newsroom’s efforts and commitments to bring in diverse perspectives across social and demographic differences?
  • Are some communities or perspectives included only in stereotypical ways, or even completely missing?

Actionable Feedback

  • What does the site do to engage your help in setting coverage priorities, asking good questions and finding the answers, holding powerful people and institutions accountable and ensuring accuracy?
  • Can you provide feedback that might provoke, alter or expand a story?

As well as this, there are multiple fact checking sites online. So if you hear a story that is being spread in the news, or by politicians, please check before you spread false info. What happened today is being spread by people who have an agenda(s) and they don’t include the truth.

The Fragile Artist

The Fragile Artist

The role of the artist in society is such a complicated one. It’s hard on all involved. To the point where sometimes it breaks society when the artist is an advocate for change. And sometimes the artist gets broken when they can’t handle the pressure of their role.

What is the difference between someone who seeks money and fame and an artist? Who can only succeed due to technology rather than talent. Their audience looks for talent, and a larger attachment. To their gods, country and community. To their own journey and family. In a way that allows others to feel empathy &/or identify with the artists’ work.

Artists need to find a way to express their self and culture, without being fake, falsely positive or an apologist for it’s ills. To be an honest critic. To advocate for positive change. To avoid being a negative influence. And to be a safe place for people to feel what the art evokes. For the art to be a distraction from real life and a social and moral model. While being an escape from reality.

It’s hard to be an artist now when your life is on display, with either the media, paparazzi &/or social media. It’s difficult to find the sweet spot where you are allowing your audience to connect with you. Without being a cult of personality, or opening your gut for them to feed on you. Or working to a place of depletion and destruction. Where not only does your art no longer matter, but neither does your life. So many works of art are lost when the artists achieves this state of being.

And then you worry if something you’ve done offends your audience or backers. And you lose your investment in your image. That could come from something in your history, or how you live the artistic ‘lifestyle’.

In all the genres and styles of art in each type, looking for the novel in loops of sameness is a pretty hard thing to do. And very few survive the struggle with honour and dignity.

Which leaves us questioning if we can still love our idol when they’ve fallen off the pedestal. The ones who stand the test of time tend to be ones people don’t actually know much about. They just show us their genius.

The Church of ‘Peace and Love’

The Church of ‘Peace and Love’

This writing is not intended to convert people to the Christian faith. It is meant to dispute the authority and ‘divine mandate’ of the Church. To show the history.

…… on Jesus

  • Who was Jesus by line of prophecy?
    He was related to King David’s son Nathan thru his mother Mary. He was born in Bethlehem, as was King David. He was a Jew as were his disciples:
  • (Matthew 10)
    2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
    5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’

…….

  • Who was Jesus historically?
    At the time that Jesus was said to be alive, there was a cultural practice of mysticism and miracle working. Nothing the Bible said he did was outside of that culture.

……

Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene lovers or married? In the culture of the time, she wouldn’t have been allowed as close to him and his friends if they weren’t. And his Jewish followers wouldn’t have addressed him as ‘Rabbi’ if he weren’t married.

…….

The only POV we have of what Jesus himself asked of his followers is The Sermon on the Mount or Beatitudes (Matthew 5):

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
  • Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

……. a fractured church

Issues of contention:

  • The fallibility of the Bible
  • The fallibility of the Pope and as an extension, the priests/pastors and church
  • the rites, indulgences and relics
  • recently, the theory of Creationism vs Evolution

………

  • exclusion of women – Nicene Creed. 325 CE

……

  • Crusades against Christians
    Albigensian Crusade of 1209-1229 CE
    Drenther Crusade 1228–1232 CE
    The Stedinger Crusade 1233–1234 CE
    Bosnian Crusade 1235–1241 CE
    Despenser’s Crusade 1382 – 1383 CE

…….

  • The Spanish Inquisition – 1478 to 1834. CE
  • The Counter-Reformation (also known as the Catholic Reformation) 1545 to c. 1700 CE
  • Witch Trials in Europe 1500 and 1660 CE

…….

  • Paulicians (7th-9th centuries)
  • Bogomils (11th century)
  • Cathars (11th-13th centuries)
  • Waldensians (12th century)
  • Lollards (14th century)
  • Hussites ( 1419 – 1434 CE)

…….

  • East–West Schism, Coptic Orthodox split from Catholic Church 451 CE

……..

  • monophysites and dyophisites occurred following the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE or 553 CE.

……

  • Gnostic Christians and Orthodox Christians occurred in the 2nd century.

……

  • The Great Schism Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. 1054 CE

…….

  • Martin Luther 1517 CE – Sola gratia, sola fide and sola scriptura — by faith alone, by grace alone and by scripture alone.
    His ‘Ninety-five Theses’ began the Protestant Reformation.

…….

  • The Anabaptists John (Jan) of Leiden and Menno Simmons. originated in the 1520s CE in Europe at the time of the Christian Reformation.

……

  • Ulrich Zwingli (followers Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz) and John Calvin (you could argue that Calvin influenced a lot of Capitalist attitudes toward the poor and disabled) were active in the Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva in the 1500s CE. They both called for the reform of church doctrines and practices, and advocated the elimination of many elements of the Catholic faith and worship.
  • …….
  • When did Henry VIII start Anglican Church? 1534

…… Solomon’s temple

  • The First Crusade lasted from 1096 to 1099.
  • The Second Crusade began in 1147 and ended in 1149.
  • The Third Crusade started in 1189 and was concluded in 1192.
  • The Fourth Crusade got underway in 1202 and ended in 1204.
  • The Fifth Crusade lasted from 1217 until 1221.
  • The Sixth Crusade occurred in 1228–29.
  • The Seventh Crusade began in 1248 and ended in 1254. * And the Eighth Crusade took place in 1270.

…… the heathens

  • And you could argue Colonialism (15th to 20th centuries) was the Church’s issue as well. Since the countries all claimed to be spreading Christianity to the ‘heathens’. Which may lead to a claim that Christianity is responsible for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade (approx 1526 to 1867) though not slavery itself since there is historical evidence of it’s existence back to the Stone Age.

is there a church?

  • Not as directed by Jesus, whether one sees him as divine of origin (which was a common trope in the religions of that time) or not.
  • Have the leaders followed Jesus’ teachings about the separation of church and state? No.
  • Have the leaders been who they were instructed to be in the Beatitudes? No.
  • And one could argue that since the church was spread thru the Roman Empire, it would have been bordering on blasphemy to participate in the cult of those who took his life. Something to consider?

Darwin & Spencer vs Marx & Epigenetics – Natural Selection vs Social Struggles

Darwin & Spencer vs Marx & Epigenetics – Natural Selection vs Social Struggles

When Darwin is discussed, the focus is usually more on genes than on environment.

And very carefully, Darwin avoids the human variance that he could have discussed. Probably because then you have to discuss the responsibility of people in how they collaborate to form societies and care for themselves. What their moral responsibility is to themselves, their gods, and their group. (John Calvin, Max Weber – The protestant ethic) And what society asks of and can do to shape how people respond when there are misfits in the group (eugenics) . Who appear to drain excessive resources. (Spencer, Durkheim – Altruistic suicide) While forgetting some of the basic fundamentals of natural selection and evolution. Change doesn’t always happen in ways that are best for the individual or group. That’s not guaranteed. And it also forgets that oppression can affect how genes are expressed. (Marx, epigenetics) Which has no supposition that the genes are available in the first place. Or that they can be safely triggered to come to the surface,

Society, authority and the states are not moral entities in themselves. They are meant to serve the people within. But they don’t. At best they serve the majority. At worst they serve the actors within the system when you consider such things as corruption, grifting and bribery.

There is a presumption that society must be good, which isn’t always true. (War, slavery) And hierarchy always serves the bottom tiers. Which it doesn’t, and it can’t. Natural or not. So it is necessary to review this independent of attachment to the group.

….

But this video puts it a LOT easier, in a more theatrical way and the host of Philosophy Tube is very charming. You don’t have to be a MA or PHD to get what is discussed in the video. It’s quite enjoyable. Worth a watch! IMO

As of Today: The Status of Trump

As of Today: The Status of Trump

What do you think he would be facing if after being defeated in the election he just retired to his golf course home and lived out his days in a dignified manner? It’s what Nixon did when he retired, isn’t it? Well at least Nixon didn’t try to run again. Which is probably why he was pardoned by Ford. A plea deal to make him go away.

But that’s not who Trump is, is it?

And it’s not who Trump’s opponents are either.

….. recap

So what is Trump facing?

  • election fraud in Georgia
    plus multiple lost law suits to challenge the election he lost
  • secrecy violations/ documents at Mar-a-Lago he was asked to return
  • tax fraud in New York
  • inciting a riot/sedition in the Capitol leading up to Jan 6
  • Stormy Daniels payment for her silence in New York.

….. chum in the waters

  • He’s certainly made the USA govt look inept and continued to play kingpin behind the REPs actions on abortion and transgender rights/autonomy.
  • And with his tour of speeches and rallies has continued to rabble rouse.
  • Plus he entered his name again as a candidate for POTUS.

…… and this week

  • He’s tried to initiate a protest if he gets arrested in New York.
  • And tried to get the New York police to stand back if there are protests.

…..

Not Nixon then?
Not even Bill Clinton, who supported his wife’s run rather than try his own ticket after being impeached….

…..

But this is not coming from no where. Trump was the wild card candidate in 2016. The REPs knew he was a racist, sexist pig when he ran then. They knew he had no intention of being a ‘good boy’ candidate or president. Yet they ran him anyways. And still seem to be supporting him. To the point of intruding in the case against Trump in New York.

…..

I’m pretty sure I’ll regret asking this since there are conservatives on the internet, but is this criminal who you want representing your country to the world? The answer since 2016 seems to be ‘yes’. At least far too many have said that.

……. oath

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” source

…..

Do you think he will leave office if he is allowed back in?

Q – What is Society? And How Do We Fit In?

Q – What is Society? And How Do We Fit In?

I think humanity has done a bit of just about everything during our evolution….

  • lived in caves, wearing skins, fished or hunted and gathered
  • lived in cottages and grew a few plants, reared a few animals
  • worked in factories and lived in small homes
  • worked in offices and lived in apartments.
  • I don’t know how they are today, but some people have lived in bio-spheres

I can’t think of another option we can try, can you? Unless it’s on a space ship? But is that possible? Really?

….

So having tried different societies, and not really having changed as a species, what do we think our nature is? Do you think you could live in any other type of social system our ancestors (and some rare people of today still live in) lived in?

  • Could you forage or hunt and not kill yourself on what you gathered for your meal?
  • Could you make your own clothes and tools?
  • Could you make your own meal from scratch?
  • Could you defend yourself if a thief or thug came at you or your family?
  • Are you versatile in your skills and thinking?
  • In these systems, which gender role could you more easily adapt to?

…..

What system do you think is our true human nature?

The ‘Ground Hog Day’ of Oppression and Allyship

The ‘Ground Hog Day’ of Oppression and Allyship

Whether on social media, major media like radio, tv, movies or news, or real interactions in our lives, we do see repeated issues of oppression. And we see the systemic factors and institutions that perpetuate them. It’s what humanity has always done in it’s efforts to ‘other’ so we can feel better about ourselves. So we can continue our privilege. Without being uncomfortable.

We enforce stereotypes, we feel the feelings and communicate based on how we are shown people are. Rather than getting to know actual people and what their lives are like. Any people who don’t fit into those stereotypes are the ‘good ones’ or the exceptions. Rather than realizing that they just don’t fit anyone.

The systems stay, with little change. The activism done is a series of small acts that don’t really change things. Certainly not the systems.

Even in the pandemic, we have seen how BIPOC are more adversely affected. In the USA’s legal changes that affect the autonomy of LGBTQ and women, we see the slope they could go on. Are going on. And people are trying to advocate for the most affected. But we’re actually at a point where the best thing we may be able to do, is offer them asylum. And I know there’s a petition thru Canada’s Green Party to do just that. (Current ## signed is almost 140,000) I think Canada as a country is trying to grow. I think we also know we have work to do among our own. And given that, how do we ask others to be better? At least we’re trying? At least we know we have work to do? But we’re not that. Nor do we want to be.

It’s a process. And it does need to be that to be effective change. But it is frustrating when you’re the one who is harassed or in danger.

So in the interim, how do we support people most affected by the oppression? Who have to slug it out everyday?

  • Listen to their stories
  • Try to show humility, grace, kindness
  • Try not to take over because they do need to be part of the journey. The plan and the process have to come from them.

….

You can stop here or you can watch this video. It’s about how media portrays the role of the ally. And it’s not that great. I think it’s an interesting and necessary take on that paradigm that’s worth the almost hour it takes to watch it. It may help you be a better ally, if you wish to be.

Seeking EL DORADO in your Life

Seeking EL DORADO in your Life

The worst thing you can do when your life is not going right is to compare yourself with others. They don’t have the same struggles, nor have they had the same experiences.

And there are some things to keep in mind:
every successful person has a whole crew behind them

  • the model on that magazine just spent an hour in makeup and had her/his hair styled by one of the top people in the biz… They have a trained photographer take shots that are flattering.
  • the person who is telling you how to be fit doesn’t have a job or kids to distract them. They can afford all those foods they tell you to eat. They get them shipped to their house and cooked by a chef. No two people need the exact same diet so check with your doctor if that recommended diet is something you can have,
  • that singer has a vocal coach and a guy with a wicked sound board laying their tracks. Plus their writer & composer wrote a song that was perfect for their vocal range.
  • that dancer, boxer or weight lifter can spend all day every day practicing.
  • Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk had wealthy parents. They did NOT start off in debt.

So be realistic in your expectations.

  • If your parents and siblings are in problematic marriages, you’ll have a harder go to be in a healthy one. Therapy is your friend.
  • You may finish HS or get a GED if your parents didn’t go beyond gr 10. Or you might go to trade school or get an apprenticeship. You might be able to take a course or two a year after work at a community college.
  • You might be able to pay your bills each month, if you don’t live on credit cards that you will never pay off. Or win big on lotto or at the race track. There is no quick way to be wealthy.
  • You will more likely make a real mac and cheese (not the boxed stuff) than fettucine alfredo.
  • And you won’t move into a mansion tomorrow. But if you save a little, you might be able to paint the front room. Possibly get a few new throw pillows and a rug to make it look fresh.

It’s all about realistic expectations
And that may seem depressing. But life isn’t about reaching the gold city no one else or few others have found. That’s pretty delusional.
The people who do reach El Dorado have teams behind them. They’re not oppressed by systemic problems like poor white people, LGBTQ and BIPOC are. They fit the current preferred model for capitalism.

The way to realistically improve your life is to find hobbies and friends you enjoy spending time with. So you will at least enjoy the time you spend inside your own head.

Your life can improve if you look for things that you CAN do and change them