Thursday, June 19, 2014

Letter Writing

Two days ago, KPCC's Take Two had Wall Street Journal reporter Joel Millman on air summarizing his longer piece on LGBT asylum seekers in the US. Slate did a decent breakdown of the issues in his reporting over here. My first exposure to the story, however was (as with many things) in the car driving home from work. The radio segment can be found on KPCC's website. Here's what I sent to the Take Two catch-all email at 11 am yesterday:

To Whom It May Concern,

I just wanted to take some time to let you know how disappointed I was in your coverage of this sensitive issue. I have been listening to KPCC since I was a child, and have always respected your standards of reporting and high quality programming. That made it all the more upsetting to tune in to the evening edition of Take Two to find gross misrepresentation of trans* people on your show. Your guest, Joel Millman, consistently referred to a transgender woman by male pronouns, going so far as to use her birth name rather than her preferred name. Since he was reporting on her attempts to seek asylum due to her status as a transgender woman, these incidents of misgendering clearly come from a hostility towards transgender people rather than a lack of understanding.

Misgendering one's source is sloppy and inaccurate reporting, and publicizing this woman's birth name could place her further at risk, an ethically unsound decision. This behavior engenders mistrust in news media in general, and will lose you listeners if it continues.

Again, I am extremely disappointed.

Sincerely,

Sarah Livingston, Lab Assistant, Sexual Health Program
Health Services
Los Angeles LGBT Center

After receiving no response in what was, admittedly, a shorter time period than I would usually wait, I decided to forward the original email to all eleven people listed on the KPCC website as producing or reporting for Take Two individually. I added:

After receiving no response from the generic email, I'm forwarding this to the Take Two team individually.

As an addendum, there are plenty of more professional ways to balance such hatefulness in a guest reporter, perhaps by allowing members of the LGBT asylum community to speak for themselves, as in this piece: http://lalgbtcenter.tumblr.com/post/77752926890/the-great-escape
It was also suggested that I attach the GLAAD media guidelines: http://www.glaad.org/reference
specifically for transgender related reporting: http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

Milllman's original WSJ piece was blatantly in violation of these guidelines on multiple counts, which should have suggested to your team that he would continue to act outside of them on air.

-Sarah

We'll see if this generates a response once work hours get started over here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

White Privilege, Unexamined and On Display

This evening, my aunt texted me offering to take me out to dinner. While there:

-I related a story of my boss's contempt for/unfamiliarity with tofu. My aunt replies 'What race is she?!" I ignored her, and she revised, "what's her background?" to which I replied "die hard carnivore". My aunt went on a brief rant about how some people are just so uneducated and uncultured.
-On the ride home, without a bat of an eye or a trace of irony, she completely fails to even attempt to pronounce quincenera. Her son (who's just so good at languages) jumps in with, "At her Cuisinart..."
-Also, as we left the restaurant, "well, this location [Pasadena] certainly has a different clientele than the one in Santa Monica..." As in, not 100% white. Just 60%.

Ugh. I skipped out on a pretty girl for this.

[Not sure why this didn't post when I wrote it. Going up now. Written Oct. 27, 2012]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sometimes TV Just Sucks

Today I came home from work to find LA polo's board breakdown crew sprawled out in the living room watching 'The Deadliest Warrior' on Netflix. The show really disturbed me, and as I watched I started teasing out exactly what I so disliked about it. List time!

-Glorification of violence and brutality.
-The disembodying of the violence from the very real men and women it was carried out on historically.
-How much the above ties into our current tolerance of the bloated military industrial complex in this country.
-Also, such a boys club. Only Manly Men can know anything about guns, amirite?
-Also, the historical inaccuracy of it all- we were watching the Waffen SS vs the Viet Cong. Those two groups went to war at very different times in history, under very different circumstances. Had the two actually engaged, it would have been under very different terms than either of them engaged the American army on.
-Oh hey, a woman! ...oh she's just a whore. Right. Whore with a gun, poor persecuted menz, being tricked by the evil women they sleep with.
-So much posturing and bullshit. Blegh.
-Oh, and those Vietnamese are just so weird, right? Like, totally backwards junglemen. And the Waffen SS's Aryan-only requirements, were just, y'know, what it takes to get the best of the best.

In summary: Explosions? Cool. Blood and guts? Cool. Both those things in the explicit context of separating them from any notion of accuracy and, more importantly, human empathy? So very not cool.

On a lighter note, I'm pretty sure that my annual NaNoWriMo attempt will actually be a NaNoBlogMo, hopefully I'll break the 5,000 word wall I seem to hit each year that way. I have over a dozen unfinished posts already, I'd like to go through and actually tease out all those ideas floating around in my head and wasting brain-RAM. To 50,000 words!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Editing is hard

I spent ages and ages on this video, and when I compiled it into a .wma file, all the precision timing was lost. but it's still awesome and worth watching for the lulz.
It seriously bummed me out to see that I'd have to go back and redo everything to fully realize the video in my head after months of working on this intermittently, amounting to several hours of my life for a one minute video using someone else's footage and someone else's music. I have even more respect for editors now.

And if that didn't cheer you up, here's my new favorite song:
video
Cut from "Burning Low" in the fourth season of Adventure Time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just Your Average Othering

So this it what I saw when I opened my Yahoo email today:
[photo shows Sikh men in prayer, headline reads "Temple gunman was on feds' radar, warned friend of 'racial holy war'"]
Leaving writing about the actual tragedy that occurred to those with more knowledge and authority than I, I'd like to focus on the conjunction of this headline and image. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed if the two hadn't been so close together, but the coverage of the Aurora shooting was always accompanied by photos of Holmes or photos of the aftermath- victims crying, police arriving, etc. Why would they choose to use a (seemingly*) random shot of Sikhs in prayer? This photo only serves to Other the Sikh community, as if their appearance is so novel that even as victims they must be shown, displayed in their day to day environment instead of in a sympathetic portrayal based on a common humanity.

I also worry about the connotations of this photo in connection with the headline. Of course, we know the phrase 'holy war' is a loaded one, most commonly associated with 9/11 and its subsequent Islamophobia. Which, by the way, is the reason this temple had been targeted by extremists in the past. So why place the two together? It's a valid news item, to see that a white extremist uses the same language as the heavily vilified non-white extremists, but this photo doesn't help subvert any norms, especially when the public is used to seeing the killer's face next to the sensationalist pieces about him.

*I can't find any citation for this photo, as it is not in the article once you click through. Even if it is a photo of members of the targeted temple, it's a poor choice compared to the candlelit vigil, etc. that are on the other thumbnails related to this event.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

So apparently Santa Cruz

is a bastion of pretty redheads.
...fuck me.

This is now the fifth city I've been to in the last two weeks. If I wasn't so attached to LA, I wouldn't want to go home at all. But this trip has also been filled with plenty of angst and drama (lost bags, broken bikes... booo!) so I'm looking forward to being back to the usual routine. I have a feeling I'll be back on the road pretty soon though- Seattle and Portland have me fairly motivated, and maybe I'll even find my way back to the Midwest. I'm hoping to write up a few more ideas that are hanging out at the back of my head too. Tentative increase in productivity, woo!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just Want to Note

that I am so over the U.S. government. This 'democracy' is a joke.