Monthly Archives: June 2009

True/Slant

Everyone knows it’s not the most secure time to be a writer. There’s a lot of doomsday rhetoric out there, which I really try to stay away from. I believe that people will always be hungry for stories–well-crafted, beautifully told, reflective. Those take time and, therefore, money, to create. Twitter, in other words, isn’t going to displace people’s interest in nonfiction and novels. Or at least that’s my belief.

Plenty of people are trying to innovate new ways of organizing the news, however. One of the latest is True-Slant. According to the site:

True/Slant is the digital home for the “Entrepreneurial Journalist.” Knowledgeable and credible contributors anchor and build their digital brands on True/Slant using tools that enable them to easily create content and craft stories filtered through human perspective (not an algorithm)…Our goal is to build a community that is as engaged with the news as we are. With that in mind, we opened up the site even though we are not quite ready to launch a finished product. We consider this our Alpha version, and ask you to remember that as you explore the site.

It will be interesting to follow this experiment as it develops.

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Filed under Generation Overwhelmed, In The News, Writing

Brag Round-Up for Monday, June 29

Courtney Martin

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Filed under Brag Round-Up

Thoughts of a Child

A bag of blood hung from a pole. “It’s not my type,” the eleven year old informed the nurse, spurring a lecture on the capabilities of a universal donor.

BET played “Thriller,” which she and the nurse watched on the small television hanging over her chair. “This video used to scare me,” the girl told me. Amazing that someone so calm in the face of blood transfusions would be scared of dancing zombies, but I nodded. “Me too.” The nurse flushed her IV and walked away. The girl returned to her watercolor painting and her haunted house story. Then she paused. She looked at Michael Jackson’s face with such empathy and said to me, “I wasn’t even thinking of him yesterday.”

“I don’t think anyone thought this would happen,” I assured her. The news hit me like the end of an era the night before. She persisted– of course she didn’t think he would pass away, but more importantly, she didn’t think of him before he was gone forever. I lingered, wondering if the thoughts of a child can save someone.

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Filed under All The World, General

Sea Creatures and Us

blueHave you ever looked under the lip of the ocean? I hadn’t. But last week in the Virgin Islands, I floated on the surface as the entire back of my body crisped red under the sun. An interloper. I snorkeled three times a day and marveled at the world beneath me. If only I could feel half as acclimated to my environment as these fish and sea creatures seemed to be. With each wave gust, they moved gracefully–never bumping into one another, never losing orientation, assured of place, part of a greater flow. The immediacy of this collective reaction is something I’ve rarely seen on land. These under water inhabitants seemed to have mastered a Taoist bending principle that I hadn’t (and haven’t).

Items to note. Underwater bubbles sound like crackling. Being in the water with a nurse shark is not as scary as I anticipated. Angel fish hide by sliding their flat colorful bodies in between rocks. Trumpet fish skim the surface like a troupe of swords. Barracuda stare right into your eyes. Squid travel in families and line up in perfect formation, like jet fighters. Sea turtles coast along like mellow dudes and dudettes of the ocean. Black spiny sea urchins dance about with their 12-inch long spines. You part through long wide schools of glimmering bait fish, creating an illusion of closeness. Somehow when you swim down deep and look up, bait fish shine like raindrops.

Extract the blue and this landscape is desert-like. A similar starkness punctuated by bright colors–a place of canyons and flats, grays, mustard yellows and deep reds. It is what I imagine the moon to be. I loved being part of two worlds at once. Face down to the peaceful hum of the ocean. Face up to thrashing waves, squawking seagulls and pelicans diving in for bait fish. And then, … the human element. Continue reading

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Filed under Environment, Orienting

What Does It Mean To Live In Your Integrity?

Please reply in 500 words or less! GO!

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Kimmi
Therapy Thursdays

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Filed under Career/Life, Therapy Thursdays

The Social Media Moment + Sidelined Communities

deannazandtThis week, I got an exciting e-mail from my friend and fellow 2006 REAL Hot 100 winner, Deanna Zandt. She’s a media technologist and a leading expert in women and technology, and she’s about to add “first-time author” to her resume.

She’s signed with the Berrett-Koehler publishing group to write a book about “the social media moment as a huge opportunity for social change and action.” Women, people of color, queer people, and many more have too often been left in the dust of technological advances (see film, TV, and radio in their formative years). Deanna will use her experience in the feminist community and bring in experts from the fields of racial justice, LGBTQQI organizing, the front lines of the class warfare, and more, to assemble strategies for widening the diversity of voices in social media.

Deanna is a sharp, compassionate, thoughtful person, and her book is going to help women and other sidelined communities release their fear and take advantage of the new technologies. The last thing we need is another place where the dominant culture creates uncontested content that blocks out all other perspectives.

If you’re interested in technology and social justice, you should be reading Deanna’s blog. Also, the publisher doesn’t offer advances, so Deanna is fundraising for living expenses this summer while she writes the book in 4 short months. Even if you have $10 to spare, visit her Feed The Author page and join supporters like the Hightower Lowdown, and Don Hazen and Doug Kreeger (editor and board member of AlterNet). It’s a fantastic project in which to invest.

Her full fundraising letter below the cut.

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Filed under Beauty in a Wicked World, Education, Gender, Politics, Race, Science & Technology, Writing

Hot Male Action

I’ve been fantasizing about men a lot lately. No, not that kind of fantasizing you dirty birds…I’ve been fantasizing about them getting involved in activism around family-friendly work policy, subsidized childcare, sexist mainstream media, violence against women, and a range of other fields that have too long been framed as “women’s issues.” An excerpt from a column of mine that ran yesterday sums it up:

The truth is our fates are inextricably tied together, not running on two parallel tracks. When men lose their jobs — and, indeed, they have at a higher rate than women recently — American families all suffer, just as they suffer when women are paid unequal wages or fired for missing work to take care of sick kids or an elderly parent. Newsflash: Men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus; we’re all struggling to make healthy, meaningful lives on the same damn planet — and it’s time we started acting like it.

At the end of my panel on feminism and men on Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the unstoppable Daniel May asked a question about the language that we use to frame such issues and it got me thinking…maybe feminists do need to let go of a bit of the ownership. But if we step back, dudes, will you step forward?

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Filed under General, Generation Overwhelmed