Discourse

Survivor’s Most Troubling, Yet Beautiful Moment Ever

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Still processing what happened on Survivor this past Wednesday. What happened transcended the game, and one castaway crossed a line that couldn’t be un-crossed, doing something awful that had nothing to do with gameplay: he outed someone as transgender that wasn’t wanting or asking to be outed. Sometimes Survivor brings out the worst in people, albeit usually within the confines of gameplay with the result of being entertaining TV for those watching (case in point: Johnny Fairplay’s lie about a dead grandma who wasn’t really dead! It was wickedly epic.). This was something different altogether. But then, as we see in the other tribemates’ reactions and Zeke’s courage and grace under unthinkable circumstances, Survivor brings out the best in people too. The Tribal Council was upsetting, repulsive, and moving all at once. There’s much to learn here about how such an act can hurt someone (and in some cases put them in physical danger or worse). Just as there are plenty of moral dilemmas that arise on whether CBS should have aired this in the first place. But I think they made the right choice—this is a real thing that happened, and it has consequences for real people. Props to Probst for handling this how he did and being an ally for Zeke. You can read Zeke’s powerful essay to get his perspective and learn how growing up watching Survivor, and now playing Survivor, has impacted his life for the better…and hopefully continues to do so!

Zeke in his own words: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/…/survivor-zeke-smith-oute…

Wednesday night’s Tribal Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BXqrOSNKn0

Resource for being a better ally of transgender people: http://www.glaad.org/transgender/allies

 

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The Problem with Our Coverage of Islam

There is something very wrong and unsettling about a lot of our commercial news media. And especially when it comes to recent coverage, or non-coverage that is, of “Muslims.” There is far too much generalizing, and far too much sensationalizing. This compilation from Media Matters of Reza Aslan on CNN – discussing what he sees as overblown generalizations and incorrect facts on Islam in the wake of the developments of ISIS – is a great example of the misinformation, and ultimately discrimination, that is exacerbated through our news outlets.

Media’s War on Carbon

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One of the many reasons why I studied media is to better understand its role in society, both at a macro and micro level. Media is made up of various discourses and within discourse there is power – power to influence, power to mold public perceptions. That said, this ‘war on carbon’ enrages me to no end because climate change is a real issue that is being politicized and manipulated by continually being referred to as ‘global warming’ (for starters) by unfortunate influencers like Donald Trump and all the ‘experts’ at Fox News (How do so many people not believe in science these days?!). By continuing to label climate change as global warming, it gives gatekeepers of news and information the opportunity to say it doesn’t exist, simply because of the record low temperatures this winter in some parts of the country (meanwhile there’s record heat in other parts of the country/world). This allows them to wag their fingers at scientists and science itself. It becomes a one-sided debate, usually of anchors on TV yelling at…someone? And this gives everyone at FOX News, and other outlets too, the upper hand in the public discourse. Ultimately, this not only puts their viewers at a disadvantage, but it also, unfortunately, pervades the attitudes of our politicians.

It is a disservice to all of us (read: humanity) to not appropriately and maturely address this issue. As with countess other issues, there is a need to un-politicize and course-correct the discourse. Once again, “The Daily Show” sums it up perfectly…and in a much more entertaining way than anything I just wrote! Watch the full segment here.