public-media

On Wednesdays We Wear Ink: Finding the 'I' in 'TEAM' - Minority Representation In Team Comics

January 28, 2015
by Andy Waterfield

On Wednesdays We Wear Ink is a weekly column about comics and comics culture. For past columns, click here.

Mainstream comics, like most of popular culture in the anglophone world, cater predominantly to affluent heterosexual, cisgender, white people. The affluent part is easy to justify, at least from a business perspective. Media companies (public service broadcasters notwithstanding) are businesses, after all, not charities, so why wouldn’t they aim their content at people with plenty of disposable income? The heteronormative and white-centric bent is harder to square, and I would argue impossible, without acknowledging the strong bias within dominant cultural narratives to consider heterosexuality, cisgender, and whiteness a kind of default position, where all variance from that position is some kind of peculiar outlier, as opposed to the product of natural variation across our species.

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Here’s a cheat-sheet guide to the protests in Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/18/world/world-protests-explainer/

UKRAINE
What are the protesters’ demands?

Who’s a better economic ally, Europe or Russia? That’s the key issue at the heart of Ukraine’s protests. Demonstrators want the government to forge closer ties with Europe and turn away from Russia.
But the dispute is also about power. Many in the opposition have called for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the ordering of new elections. And both on the streets and in parliament, they’ve also pushed to alter the government’s overall power structure, feeling that too much of it rests with Yanukovych and not enough with parliament.

Who’s protesting?
An opposition coalition has been leading the charge against Yanukovych and his allies.
On CNN iReport, protesters and onlookers have shared more than 100 photos and videos of clashes between demonstrators and police. The nighttime images are especially striking — figures are silhouetted against large bonfires set alight in the streets.

When did the demonstrations start?
In November, thousands spilled onto the streets after Yanukovych did a U-turn over a trade pact with the European Union that had been years in the making — with Yanukovych favoring closer relations with Russia instead.

What’s the latest?
Long-simmering tensions exploded anew in Ukraine on Tuesday as clashes between police and anti-government protesters left more than 25 people dead and the capital’s central square on fire.
A shaky truce agreed to late Wednesday disintegrated by the next morning, as gunfire erupted again in the square. At least 100 people have died and 500 have been injured since Thursday morning, the head of the protesters’ medical service told CNN.
The Ukrainian government has not released an updated figure, but the Interior Ministry said earlier that one police officer was among the dead.
Foreign ministers from Germany, France and Poland met with Yanukovych on Thursday and are to meet with opposition leaders too. European foreign ministers convened an emergency meeting in Brussels, Belgium, where they are considering sanctions against Ukraine.

VENEZUELA
What are the protesters’ demands?

Demonstrators are demanding better security, an end to goods shortages and protected freedom of speech.
They blame Venezuela’s government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, for those problems. Maduro and other officials blame the opposition for the country’s security and economic problems.

Who’s protesting?
Many demonstrators across the country are students. Prominent opposition politicians have also led protests and joined marches.
Since February 13, more than 1,100 images have been uploaded to iReport, CNN’s user-generated platform. Many of the videos and photos are gruesome and depict violent scenes between demonstrators and police.

When did the demonstrations start?
Nationwide student protests started this month. On February 12, the demonstrations drew global attention after three people were killed.

What’s the latest?
As throngs of supporters chanted their support, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in to authorities Tuesday.
Lopez remained in a military prison Thursday as the government pressed terrorism and murder charges against him, his wife said. Lopez has denied the charges, which are connected with violence during the protests.
Maduro, meanwhile, has called members of the opposition fascists and compared them to an infection that needs to be cured. Officials have also accused the United States of plotting to destabilize the government.

THAILAND
What are the protesters’ demands?

Protesters in Bangkok have been calling for months for the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who they allege is a puppet of her billionaire brother, the deposed, exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Who’s protesting?
Opposition to Thaksin and Yingluck is strongest among the urban elites and middle class. That’s why the demonstrations have been concentrated in Bangkok. The protesters want to replace Yingluck’s government with an unelected “people’s council” to see through electoral and political changes.
Thailand residents and visitors have shared dozens of stories of unrest on CNN iReport over the past month. The latest approved photos show demonstrators sleeping in the streets in Bangkok as a form of peaceful protest.

When did the demonstrations start?
Protests began in November after Yingluck’s government tried to pass an amnesty bill that would have paved the way for her brother’s return to the political fray.

What’s the latest?
Deadly violence erupted in the heart of Bangkok on Tuesday as anti-government protesters clashed with police, and the country’s anti-corruption commission filed charges against the Prime Minister.

On Friday, we’ll be airing a very special episode of Sesame Street.

A hurricane has swept through Sesame Street and everyone is working together to clean up the neighborhood. When Big Bird checks on his home, he is heartbroken to find that the storm has destroyed his nest. Big Bird’s friends and neighbors gather to show their support and let him know they can fix his home, but it will take time. 

While everyone on Sesame Street spends the next few days cleaning up and making repairs, Big Bird still has moments where he is sad, angry, and confused. His friends help him cope with his emotions by talking about what happened, drawing pictures together, and giving him lots of hugs. They also comfort Big Bird by offering him temporary places he can eat, sleep, and play. Big Bird remembers all the good times he had at his nest and realizes that once it is rebuilt, there are more good times and memories to come. Finally the day has come where most of the repairs to Big Bird’s home are done and his nest is complete. As he is about to try it out, though, the city nest inspector says it not safe, yet, because the mud isn’t dry. Big Bird is sad that he has to wait another day, but Snuffy comes to the rescue and blows the nest dry and he passes the test! Big Bird thanks everyone for being his friend and helping to rebuild his nest and his home.

Please check your local listings to see what time the episode will air on PBS. (via

the other day i posted a link to an article called Why Male Pregnancy Matters, which discusses some of the implications and consequences of the Chicago Department of Public Health’s anti-teen pregnancy campaign depicting teenage boys with pregnant bellies. The purpose of the original campaign is to shock viewers with the supposedly impossible and absurd notion that anyone other than cis ladies can become pregnant, while asserting that boys bear equal responsibility for an unexpected pregnancy. Like many anti-teen pregnancy ads, these ones rely on shaming teenage parents; however, they also have the added douche-bonus of being extremely ciscentric and transphobic.

as a reaction to this regressive campaign (and others like it) the Media Literacy Project (MLP) developed the above counter ad. They accompanied the ad with an article that asks questions including: “In what ways does or doesn’t our counter ad transform the meanings of the pregnant boy ads? How does changing the text reposition an image? What role, if any, do you think counter ads play in reshaping the media landscape?”

As we all know and are excited for, November is Native American Heritage Month! How do you plan on celebrating?

To embrace this time of year check your local PBS listings to view Native Stories such as “Standing Bear’s Footsteps”, “GRAB”, “Racing the Rez”, “Sun Kissed”, “Smokin’ Fish”, “The Thick Dark Fog" and "Barking Water”!

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Let’s Look out for Each Other, Land a hand at Surf Rider - Surfrider Foundation Ad Campaign

Agency: Saatchi, USA

Very cute cartoony ad from Surfrider Foundation.  The print ad focuses on animals helping each other out, trying to create sympathy from human perspective to look after the animals.  My favorite one being polar bear sitting on top of the whale.

Jim Lehrer’s MacNeil / Lehrer Editorial Guidelines.

They are as follows:

Do nothing I cannot defend.
Cover, write, and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am.
Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.
Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything.
Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions.
No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
And finally, I am not in the entertainment business.

— 

Jim Lehrer  (link to the news today)

(reposting our first ever Tumblr post. I think it is fitting ^TG)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is joining NPR!

It’s official: starting in April, Bullseye with Jesse Thorn will be distributed by National Public Radio! This is the culmination of months and months of meetings, negotiations and planning, and we’re so, so proud to make it public today. (And so, so proud of the sweet illustration that we just made (above).)

We’re excited to be joining forces with the big dogs in public radio, and excited that we’ll no longer have to spend like half of every conversation at every cocktail party explain the complicated square-rectangle relationship between “public radio” and “NPR.” (From now on, we can just be all, “yup, I do a show on NPR.” It’s gonna be great.)

We’ll be on the same team as our all-time favorites like Terry Gross and Brooke Gladstone, and our new jack favorites like Glynn Washington and Jad Abumrad. It’s an ideal situation.

If you’re a longstanding Bullseye listener, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The show will continue to be produce independently by MaximumFun.org, but now we’ll also have the cachet and manpower of NPR helping us to bring it to public radio stations around the country. Our hope is that this partnership will mean a better show, better guests and a bigger station lineup.

This is the next chapter in a story that started at my college radio station when I was 19. Twelve years later, I think our show is the best it’s ever been, and now we’re in position to take advantage of that fact.

As a great American once said… haters don’t be mad, ‘cause it’s all about progression… loiterers should be arrested.

Ad astra!