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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

From The Archives: Media Eating Its Head

In 21st Century Culture on August 4, 2011 at 2:55 AM

Media Eating Its Head.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: POST ONE

Thursday, August 4, 2011

This article remains as relevant today as it was when I published it, October 31, 2009.

The motif of 21st Century news media and information technology affecting our culture demonstrates an unintentional theme manifest throughout this blog. Originally, GidgetWidget 2.0  began as an experiment. I never imagined myself still here and blogging two years later. Most of all, realizing many of my published articles explore and question the affects of media on the social and political theaters. Our ability to distinguish propaganda and how technology affects our understanding, these represent motifs emerging from the Archives. “The Media Eating Its Head,” may be the first, building up to articles like MINING EMOTIONS: WHAT MAKES US SO INVINCIBLE?   or 21st CENTURY STORY TELLING AND ART: PART ONE 

My Twitter bio states that I read the Western Canon for fun. The truth is, I continue reading and learning the Classics not because it is fun, but because of its relevance. Its value, dear reader, diminishes with every ad hominem tweet.

We are very much the same as our Ancestors. Whether we follow the pattern of mistakes, or whether learning from these mistakes we avoid the horrific consequences, remains to be unseen.

Now in many ways it was natural to our ancestors, moved by a single resolve, to fight the battles of justice: for the very beginning of their life was just. They had not been collected, like most nations, from every quarter, and had not settled in a foreign land after driving out its people: they were born of the soil, and possessed in one and the same country their mother and their fatherland. [18] They were the first and the only people in that time to drive out the ruling classes of their state and to establish a democracy, believing the liberty of all to be the strongest bond of agreement; by sharing with each other the hopes born of their perils they had freedom of soul in, their civic life, [19] and used law for honoring the good and punishing the evil. For they deemed that it was the way of wild beasts to be held subject to one another by force, but the duty of men to delimit justice by law, to convince by reason, and to serve these two in act by submitting to the sovereignty of law and the instruction of reason.

— LYSIAS, FUNERAL ORATION [17 – 19] from Perseus

In what manner has the use of reason and logic changed over time? Enough so that in the 21st Century, with access to infinite resources and information, its application is falling into a state of entropy.

If you see the ignorance manifest in our media and in the digital landscape, then how can you not ask your readers to look more closely and notice it? We have intelligence, enormous potential; but will we throw it all away so easily? Our Ancestors have. They chose the Bread and Circuses, and the consequences which followed stand out as the Dark Ages.

We are hardly invincible but yet, why do we presume we are?


*

COPYRIGHT 2011 BY KIMBERLY COX

~ GIDGETWIDGET™

Monday NYC Theatre, 2005: “From Tel Aviv To Ramallah”

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, Millennial Generation, NEW!, NEWS AND COMMENTARY on June 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM

From Tel Aviv To Ramallah  was a production I attended, spontaneously and alone, on a rainy Monday night in Manhattan, late 2005.  As many theatre patrons know, Mondays are the day of the week when many theaters are dark (no performance.) But sometimes, these are the best opportunities to catch the magic of live theatre. And here’s how I managed to catch this one particular night which resonates more and more with each passing year.

Here in New York City, a smorgasbord awaits the avid theater-goer. Even if you are on a budget (students or starving, Bohemian artists; or cash-poor adventurers, like me,) folks have ways of getting tickets. The catch is, most discounts demand the person be ready to go the day-of the performance.

Well, there’s a reason why I love seeing theatre, at the last minute, with no expectations. To elaborate, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict inspired a number New Plays Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway in 2005 and I found myself trying to attend as many as possible. A handful of these plays challenged perceptions, offered insight, a human story, all those things that made other productions worth the risk. To bluntly put it: if I allowed the synopses and especially, the critical reviews, to pick and choose which productions I saw then, I’d have missed the best one.

The habits for overtly political theatre may be a time honored tradition in theatre history but what is it more akin to in the 21st Century? What politics are we addressing and how?

Every time we sit down for a performance arts piece, centered around modern day conflicts and cultural-politico-socio-ideologies, we risk exposing ourselves to the moribundity of Populist Theatre. (Not just theatrical mediums but all media and its audiences are more easily are mistaking political for populist propaganda.) A bad-habit we are all forming, because it is becoming all to “normal.”

That is, to employ mechanisms like “definitive archetypes,” portraying only selective pieces of information, building upon one opinion, one perception of a war, stereotyping each of the cultures involved. Pounding cheap, theoretical conjecture into an audience already over-saturated in Op/Ed news and information.

In the case of certain productions about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and also, the War On Terror, the human experience serves only to cater for the intent of Populism. To add emotional impact, ignite the zeitgeist, am I correct?

A reflection of the humanist struggle when the forces of Political or Cultural Movements subsume a person’s existence?

See, this is why I like walking into a production, understanding the risk, not knowing much about it, and hoping for a jewel.

As part of the Out Loud: New Play Reading Series at Ars Nova in 2005, the show From Tel Aviv To Ramallah performed for only that one night. And for those 75 minutes or so…  Man, I wish I could bring Yuri Lane and his solo production here, today, for people to see. I think its message is more important than ever.

At a small but inviting performance venue on 54th, between 10th and 11th Avenue, I took my seat among the small audience. Two young men, maybe 16 years old, were sitting in front of me, excited to see their favorite beatbox performer and drinking Red Bull. They came in from Connecticut. They were not expecting a powerful piece of theatre and neither was I.

Yuri Lane avoided all the aforementioned pitfalls for the Political and Populist Theatre productions. He did it simply. With minimal design, he told us a story. Using his skills with beatbox, language, rhythm, gesture; using three light cues to distinguish SR, SL and Center; finally inverted pictures, multimedia projected on the backdrop, he set the scene for a fable about one young man from Tel Aviv and one young man from Ramallah.

Instead of showing us who was wrong and who was right, he told us of Amir and of Khalid. The idea that dreams and ideals of youth exist in separate microcosms outside the larger reality of (the Israeli-Palestinian) conflict set the story in motion. We learn about two different, but also similar people, whose goals are not unlike yours or mine. One wants to be a DJ. One wants to own an Internet Cafe. They share the threat of attacks. And their journey shows how a gradual diffusion of the greater reality into each microcosm, negates the youthful idealism for a future independent of violence and injustice. Both have their dreams compromised. Both must transition from adolescent to adulthood. Both must face each other in the end and the choices they make, leading them to the final moment of the play. A vision of peace comes down to two young men, who make one choice. Peace, perhaps, may not be realized by Treaties or United Nations intervening, or a great leader’s solution, but perhaps, it begins with a choice. An understanding.

And the audience is left without any clear answer about who is right, who is wrong and why one side is bad versus the other. Why would we presume an understanding? How to solve the permutations of a conflict, as deep and complicated as the Israeli-Palestinian hostilities?

Rachel Havrelock wrote and directed this play.

Is our civilization so solid that you do not fear to shake the pillars on which it rests? Can you not see that all falls in upon you if one column be shattered? Could you not have learned if not to love one another, at least to tolerate the great virtues and the great vices of each other? Was it not your duty to attempt –you have never attempted it in sincerity– to settle amicably the questions which divided you, the problem of peoples annexed against their will, the equitable division of productive labor and the riches of the world? Must the stronger forever darken the others with the shadow of his pride, and the others forever unite to dissipate it? Is there no end to this bloody and puerile sport, in which the partners change about from century to century– no end, until the whole of humanity is exhausted thereby?

ROMAIN ROLLAND, “Above The Battle,”

Journal de Geneve_, September 15, 1914.

Telephone Games: Today’s News Media Without Journalism

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, NEW!, NEWS AND COMMENTARY on April 6, 2011 at 6:48 PM

PROPAGANDA: Control The Media - The Media Controls Us

CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE?

April 6, 2011 — New York City

So, I’m adding some new links on my Blog Roll and went to the ArtsJournal: Theatre Daily News site for its http address, when an article from a few days ago caught my attention. “The Tangled Web of Broadway’s Spiderman,” read the headline. And like an idiot, I clicked on it, hoping to find something valuable. Of course, what I found and read was exactly the opposite. As 88% of all music has the same chord progressions, 99% of all news media, today, has the same “Opinion Progressions.”

Yes, the Idealist in me proves powerfully stubborn because of a personal faith in our culture’s positive aspects. Especially when it comes to seeking Journalism in an era when News Media has been absolving itself of whatever moral and ethical structure journalists hold as unspoken and sacred. The Newshounds and journalists out there, risking their lives in the field and/or battling to maintain a standard for the moral and ethical guidelines of their profession, DO EXIST. But can we, the readers and consumers, tell the difference between Op/Ed Conjecture and Op/Ed Journalism? Specifically, are we aware of how to differentiate between an article forming its conclusions based on incomplete information and one that forms its opinion from a complete analysis of evidence and source material?

Remember playing “The Telephone Game” or “Operator” when you were a kid? I do. I think my first memory was from around 1984…. The teachers instructing us how to play, as we, little fidgeting students, sit in a circle on our classroom floor….

“Now, I am going to whisper something in Ada’s ear,” the teacher said, “then Ada’s going to whisper it into Nat’s ear, and so on. Now, after you have passed the message along, try to remember what you heard and what you whispered to the person next to you. Once it goes all the way around the circle, I will ask Ada to tell the class what I whispered in her ear. Then, I will ask Tommy, who will be the last person to hear the message, to tell the class what he heard. Let’s see what happens!”

Everyone erupted into astonished giggles when we heard Ada’s answer and then, all began laughing uncontrollably when Tommy answered. I forget exactly what the little messages were, now that I’ve grown up, but I remember how much they were changed as they passed from one person to another. For kids, discovering how easily misinformation occurs and how silly it is that words can be misunderstood or changed, makes for a fun game. We all were shocked and excited by what occurred, eager to play again. All talking at once, telling each other about “what I heard and passed along,” because it all differed from the original message and then, even differed from the final message. For children, this is a wonder to learn and a big deal when first confronted with this kind of inexplicable chain of reaction. I’ll never forget the experience and the lessons of this little childhood exercise in communication.

After a few rounds of playing “Telephone,” eventually someone realized it would be even funnier to deliberately change the message. After the results caused mass hysteria among the 18 pint-sized rugrats, they quieted everyone down and turned the game into a lesson. Suddenly, it was no longer about playing a game and we listened solemnly to our stern teacher. “See what happens when we gossip? When we whisper secrets to each other? How easy it is for us to either misunderstand or, ON PURPOSE, change the story, even by just a little bit?  This is why we do not tell secrets and why you cannot trust gossip to be real. Because even if we are honest and do not mean to, we all can easily miscommunicate and easily misunderstand.”

CONTINUE READING

Read the rest of this entry »

100 Years Lament

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, poetry on November 11, 2010 at 4:13 PM

 

100 Years Lament

(Tune of Traditional Irish Drinking Ballad)

Lost are the boys of yesteryear

Leading triumphant with hurry-some cheer

Gone are the days of remember when

Soon to be forgotten like them

ø

Where did they go, some lament

While others claim, they were wasted and spent

I, by the fire, speak not a word

We all be at fault

as far as I’m concerned

 

ø

 

Broken shadows without hands for soap

No glad tidings before the rope

All is set and quiet my dear

Lighting the candles slowly in fear

Oh the men with their hats

The women with their bras

The chocolate in the grocery store

The writing on the walls

 

The lil’ babies talk

only to them screens

Human flesh to thems’

jus’a screen

 

From one generation

to the next generation

 

It’s your own damn fault

It’s our own damn fault.


Create the image that you will

Fall upon sword after sword

with each kill

Gone are the days of yesteryear

Gone are the sounds of rowdy cheer

 

Lost are the boys of all those years

Leading triumphant future cheers

 

Gone are the days of remember when

Soon to be forgotten like them

Gone are the days of remember when

Soon to be forgotten like them

 

Where did they go, some lament

While others claim, they were wasted and spent

I, by the fire, speak not a word

We be at fault cuz we n’ever learn

Oh the men with their hats

The women with their bras

The chocolate in the grocery store

The writing on the walls

 

The lil’ babies talk

only to them screens

Human flesh to thems’

jus’a screen

 

From one generation

to the next generation

 

It’s your own damn fault

It’s our own damn fault

 

©2010 KHC

24 Hours To Save Sakineh: Stoning A Woman To Death?

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, NEWS AND COMMENTARY on November 3, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Have You Heard Iran WILL STONE TO DEATH Sakineh TODAY?

•••

In a few hours, maybe a day, Iran will execute Sakineh Ashtiani.

Please petition thru Amnesty Organizations and thru the links below.

ººº

Click the link below to send an urgent call to action — it only takes three minutes and we are her last chance:

http://freesakineh.org This website provides links to news coverage, and over 350,000 names who have signed the petition to stop Iran from stoning and executing Sakineh Ashtiani. Among them are names you know and this site can be trusted.

An emergency message is easy to send to Iran’s allies and key UN powers urging them to intervene and help save Sakineh’s life.  Sending a message NOW may save a woman from being STONED TO DEATH

PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO SEND A MESSAGE & FOR PHONE NUMBERS TO INTERNATIONAL EMBASSIES AND REPRESENTATIVES:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/24h_to_save_sakineh/98.php?CLICKTF

PLEASE HELP SEND A MESSAGE, IT’S ALMOST TOO LATE

(UPDATE, 3-NOV)

For a complete report on the entire case, I recommend this article from The Guardian, here.

2-NOV PRESIDENT OBAMA, US CITIZENS, ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION??

IRANIAN REGIME NEVER SENTENCED HER TO EXECUTION

UPDATE: SKY NEWS REPORTING SHE WILL “HANG” BUT STONING STILL POSSIBLE


Our global outcry stopped her unjust stoning sentence in July. Now we have 24 hours to save her life.

Iran’s allies and key UN powers are our best hope — they could persuade Iran of the serious political cost of this high-profile killing.

Sakineh’s adultery case is a tragic sham stacked with human rights violations. First, she was to be stoned to death. But the Iranian government had to revoke the sentence after her children generated a tremendous outcry against the farcical trial — she could not speak the language used in court, and the alleged incidents of adultery took place after her husband’s death.

Then her lawyer was forced into exile, and the prosecution conjured up a new trumped-up charge for which she would be executed — the murder of her husband. Despite this being double jeoprady, as she is already serving time for alleged complicity in this crime, Sakineh was tortured and paraded on national television to ‘confess’, and was found guilty. The regime has now arrested two German journalists, her lawyer and her son, who has bravely led the international campaign to save his mother. All remain in prison and Sakineh’s son and lawyer have been also tortured and have no access to lawyers.

READ FURTHER, CITATION SOURCES INCLUDED

UPDATE (04:18 EST): Hamid Ashani has aggregated many stories over the past 48 hours about the global out-cry against the execution. Please see the site, IRAN DAILY NEWS

UPDATE: (16:27 EST) No word on whether Iranian Regime has either carried out the execution or whether they will respond to International Community’s Outcry IS THE TIMING ANY ACCIDENT

*

Now Iranian human rights activists state an order has just been issued from Tehran to implement her killing immediately, she is on the list and tomorrow is execution day.

Persistent campaigning led Iran to drop Sakineh’s stoning sentence and captured the attention of leaders in countries with influence on Iran, like Turkey and Brazil. Now let’s urgently raise our voices to stop her killing and inhumane treatment and free her, her lawyer, her son and the jailed German journalists.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/24h_to_save_sakineh/98.php?CLICKTF

A massive public outcry has the moral authority to stop heinous crimes. Let’s use these 24 hours to send a clear message — the world is watching and we all stand together today to save Sakineh’s life and against injustice everywhere.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Stephanie, Pascal, Giulia, Benjamin

and the whole of the Avaaz team

Sources:

The Islamic regime of Iran plans to execute Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani immediately

http://stopstonningnow.com/wpress/4194

Sakineh hanging imminent

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/fears-that-alleged-adulterers-execution-by-hanging-is-imminent/story-e6frg6so-1225946610965

Iranian woman could be stoned Wednesday

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hipKgm5UqJOxciOi1f07BwbfRgFg?docId=CNG.6ef6de7af5f33847d19e690e61087c73.811

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani: A life in the Balance (Amnesty International)

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/089/2010/en/589bd56b-49ac-4028-8dc6-abd903ac9bac/mde130892010en.pdf

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