Carving Out The Space for Future Artists

Marlon Riggs talks a great deal about how he has been influenced by other African American leaders. He alludes to the idea that other leaders and artists have laid the foundation for his work. Yet, at the same time he also acknowledges what is missing. He tells the stories that he hopes will serve as a foundation for a future generation of artists. I got the sense for the Resolutions reading that the gay African American community is somewhat resentful of the way heterosexual African Americans have found success in mainstream media. However, I would argue that that success, as limited as it may be, still paves the way for more stories in the future. I see Marlon Riggs as a step in the right direction. Just as he looked to past leaders to create the space for his content, he is creating the space for new artists to tell their stories.

I found this video of Kerry Washington accepting an NAACP Image Award over the summer and I think she does a really good job of articulating the importance of telling stories.

Humans of New York and Police Voilence

I saw this photo on Humans of New York the other day and really thought it captured a lot of what we were talking about in class the other day regarding sexually transmitted diseases and Hepatitis C.

Featured image

(Again, I tried to change the size of the image, but I must be doing something wrong. The text says “I scratch myself every time the cops come because they don’t like to deal with you if you’re bleeding.”)

This image leaves me with so many questions–perhaps both the best and worst thing about Humans of New York. First, why is he trying to get away from the police? I mean I understand WHY he is… But, how did the police system get so messed up that it can’t help people who need it most? And, how did the police system determine who is worth helping and why? I’m not afraid of the police, but that’s because I fall into the privileged category of people the system is designed to help. Also, why do the police leave him alone if he’s bleeding? If they are really trained to help those who need help, then you would think that they would be more inclined to help those who are bleeding. It frustrates me that there are so many people who are completely shut out of resources meant to help them simply because they aren’t considered to be the ones worth helping.


This is a good read with the upcoming “halloweekend” festivities. Halloween has become (always has been?– I really don’t know) such a commercialized holiday. We’ve talked a lot in this class about the problematic nature of making content about a group rather than by a group. Dressing up as a stereotype of a group of people really gets down to the objectifying nature of creating content about a community you aren’t a part of.


Watch this.

I think that this video is a very arresting campaign, and I think it is successful because of this. Seeing little kids swearing or perform actions considered more adult is always impossible to turn away from. I also think that comparing words like “fuck” to words that demean women is successful because it forces the viewers to think about language in a more objective way. I really enjoyed this video, what did you think?


I was really taken by the section in the Resolutions reading that stated, “in community television production the ends are the means because new possibilities emerge when the means of production are in the hands a self-determining group of people representing themselves. A community creates itself as it represents itself.”

To me, this put all of the videos we were watching last Monday into a more meaningful light, and also finally highlighted the importance of “representation” (ie the idea of “giving” someone a voice, forcing ideals upon someone) versus self representation. The only wholly accurate way someone can be represented in the media is if they have created said media themselves. This is why corporate television, no matter how open-minded and seemingly unbiased their projections seem to be, cannot accurately represent all people with different lived experiences, of different classes and of varying races.

I also thought it was interesting to say that “a community creates itself as it represents itself.” I think that this statement is very true because to begin to enlighten others about what you think is important, you yourself have to uncover your own priorities. I think this makes community television, and self representative media, important because it does not only accurately represent individuals, but helps shape the individuals themselves.

Election Season

Maybe it’s just because I haven’t been watching any TV, but I haven’t been seeing any ads for getting out the vote this year. Moreover, everything used to encourage voting I’ve seen has been print based (pretty boring, in my opinion.)

Has anyone seen any great media samples? I haven’t seen anything, even non-partisan media. Do people not care about midterms? Have we finally elected the chosen parties to serve us forever? (I certainly hope not!) Have the people not realized that Presidents don’t make all the decisions?

(Here are some campaigns I’ve seen in the past):



The second of Bordowitz’s “Nine Operative Assumptions” speaks to me the most clearly: “Don’t trust technology.” “Did you have a hand in its development?” Bordowitz writes. “Is it in your interests?” Rarely is this the case, especially for marginalized groups dealing with mainstream media. The first few pages of Bordowitz’s piece focuses on this idea, especially focused around the AIDS crisis.

But I believe this idea expands to our project on Silicon Valley, if not everything else. “Technology” does not explicitly mean “television” in the wider context, or else Bordowitz would have typed “television.” No, “technology” becomes all media we consume, and even how we consume it. To think that your laptop is not as tied into the media you watch as the media you’re watching is a dangerous mindset; why else would we watch movies in theaters? As McLuhan said, “The Medium is the Message,” and the medium of consumption plays just as much of a role as the media of broadcast.

At the core

In The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan talks about how

“all media are extension of some human faculty – psychic or physical.” (p26)

While he uses examples such as radio – an extension of your ears – and TV – and extension of your sight – social media makes his point even more poignant. While facebook might be easy to mock and while incorporating “retweet” on Twitter into an everyday conversation might still feel weird, these mediums are just representing things that humans have been doing for centuries due to Marshall’s theory— but magnified to their maximum potential and broadcast across the web.

I found this really ironical because although people call facebook or twitter “new” media, according to him, those media are not very new at all at the core.

October 22: National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminilazation of a Generation

Tomorrow, October 22, is the National Day to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. Since 1996, people have been mobilizing and uniting as one voice to fight and expose police brutality.

Increased documentation by “citizen journalists” has exposed the reality of police brutality around the country. People have spoken up against this brutality through smartphones and social media networks in ways not seen before. This has been an ongoing thing that is just being exposed to the masses.

Police brutality “will not stop unless and until millions of people, of all nationalities, stand up and say NO MORE, in unmistakable terms. The history of this and every other country shows that without struggle, there can be no positive change; but with struggle this kind of change becomes possible.”[1]


Just read an interesting article on gentrification

The article implies that it can’t be stopped from happening, so here are some ways to lessen its impact – if you are the one gentrifying. It is definitely a different take on the subject. But there is another point of view that may help to strengthen your  argument.