Archive for the ‘media’ Tag

Locker Rooms and Sexual Harassment: 90s Style

The recent spate of announcements regarding sexual harassment has been amazing. We may not have been surprised by the harassment in Hollywood with its “casting couch” history.We aren’t surprised about these activities in sports, we can’t be surprised about this occurring in the halls of media organizations either. One incident from the long history of harassment appears in my book, Terry Bradshaw: From Super Bowl Champion to Television Personality.

Fewer than three months into their jobs and co-anchors of CBS’ The NFL Today Pregame show, Terry Bradshaw and Greg Gumbel faced a major incident. Five New England Patriots players had told crude jokes and two fondled their genitals as Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson was covering their locker room after a Monday Night Football game in mid-September 1990. Olson issued a complaint.

Then Patriots owner Victor Kiam, of Gillette Razor fame made things worse. Kiam had a brief exchange with the reporter in the locker room the following week. He turned to a member of his entourage who was standing by his side and said sotto voce, “She’s a classic bitch. No wonder the players don’t like her.” Patriots’ fans piled on, showering her with obscenities and vile suggestions and statements as “If you want
to go into the men’s locker room, you get what you deserve.”

The case of Melissa Ludtke v. Bowie Kuhn, in 1978, had opened the doors, literally, for female reporters. The ruling determined that keeping the Sports Illustrated reporter out of the New York Yankees’ locker room during the 1977 World Series deprived her of the equal opportunity to pursue her profession. The NFL did not enact an equal access policy until 1985. Female sportswriters faced frequent discrimination, harassment, and fraternity-type pranks like wet towels being whipped against their behinds as they waded through the male athletes to reach the person they wanted to interview.

How would Bradshaw and Gumbel address the explosive situation? A Dayton sportswriter described Patriots fans as Puritans.
The abuse they directed toward Olson betrayed their male chauvinism, which basically said, “You are a woman; know your place.” In contrast, NBC’s pregame analyst Will McDonough rushed a quick response to the incident and claimed Olson “exaggerated her story.”

The CBS pregame show made Leslie Visser the lead in the discussions on the issue. Bradshaw described how he thought the public saw the issue, contending, “We can be as lenient and we can be as accepting to the opposite sex all we want to. But there comes an area where a man just absolutely closes his mind up and says no.” Mary Carillo, analyst for women’s and men’s tennis on CBS and ESPN, responded, “I think
that’s valid, a very valid point. Football always has been perceived as a male domain. Tennis isn’t like that—(John) McEnroe and (Ivan) Lendl
know I have the same skills, so it isn’t a stretch.”

Cathy Barreto who became the first female director for NFL games in the late 1980s, argued for female announcers in football. She thought
that for a female announcer to be accepted, “it’s going to have to be a recurring thing—not just once in a while. . . . Really no different than a
man—except people aren’t used to it.”

Bradshaw recalled growing up in Shreveport and witnessing the slow dissolution of racial segregation, another instance where people needed to get used to change. He listened to women analyze golf on television and accepted them because he learned from them. “I’m looking for knowledge. I don’t care what the sex is,” he said.

Nearly 30 years of past since this incident. The culture has only recently began fleshing out incidents of sexual harassment. Women broadcasters do not regularly in the broadcast booth for football. There is one woman appearing along the sidelines as a reporter but no more than one. ESPN did add one woman to their broadcast booth for major league baseball. As Carillo’s comment suggested, sports still seek an name athlete in the sport to appear in the broadcast booth as a color commentator. But broadcast booths can be expanded as ESPN has done to add a woman, and women can also be given more opportunities as play-by-play announcers. First, the sexism, both overt with the harassment, and covert, with hiring tendencies, needs to be contained then eliminated.

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Best Part of the Debates

After the debate itself, the most intriguing thing is not to see what the pundits think about the Political Campaign Televised debate, but to read what commentators think about the pundits take on the debates. Most of the 26 commentators to the New York Times insisted that the pundits in their view of Hillary Clinton winning last night’s debate got it wrong.

The cynical and exhausted viewpoint is below but it was in the minority:

NYChap

Chappaqua 12 minutes ago

Does it matter? Hillary Clinton was slated to be the Democrats choice in 2016 ever since she screwed up in 2008 and lost to Obama. Hillary will be the Democrats presidency nominee come “Hell or High Water” regardless of what happens as a result of the FBI investigation. I think that is very obvious to all who have been paying attention over the years. The GOP is giving her the election and she is going to sit back and enjoy the ride. What a shame we can’t get our best people into politics. However, I understand why we can’t. Who would want to get into this circus as the main event and get ripped to shreds in public by a bunch of cut throat people who lie for a living.

Most people not only argued that Sanders performed better they expressed how acutely aware they are of the media’s pro-Clinton bias:

Gibson

new york 12 minutes ago

While it was not a runaway success for Bernie, anyone saying that Hillary had the edge must have been watching a different debate. In the first 10 minutes, she struggled to answer a question about holding government officials responsible for Flint, while Bernie was direct in his promise to trim away anyone responsible. Later, she resisted questions about her actions and opinions during Bill’s term, suggesting that words and actions from 20 years ago hold no bearing on the future, that it is foolish to look to the past when looking to the future. And she dodged the (admittedly difficult) question about race and refused to release Wall Street transcripts “unless everybody does,” which is a ridiculous argument. Given how on-point Mr. Cooper and Mr. Lemon were as moderators, I’m surprised they did not push her on this response.

Yes, Bernie was a little angrier than usual, and I agree he came off as disrespectful to Hillary by raising his voice when she tried cutting him off. More annoying still was his tendency to trail off from questions to his more regular stump speech lines about health care and tuition (though this only happened 2 or 3 times). All in all though, my takeaway was that Hillary’s answers were vague and full of platitudes, at worse deflective. I can’t think of an instance where she unequivocally promised any one thing to the audience, even when they asked her too (like the Flint mother demanding action in the first 100 days).

Stop spinning, NYT.

Leon

Earth 15 minutes ago

There seems to be a big disconnect between the pundits in the media and the general public. If you read the NYT or listen to CNN, Hillary “was given the edge” in the debate.
However in a TIME poll taken right after the debate that is still open of more that 58,000 viewers 87 % of them saw Sanders as the winner and only 13 % thought that Mrs. Clinton had performed better.
I find this very interesting.

Panthiest

Texas 15 minutes ago

When Hillary said she’d release her speech to Wall Street “when other people release theirs,” it made me sad to think that she might be the person I will end up voting for in November. While I trust her to support civil and equal rights, she has become entrenched with the 1%.

E. Rodriguez

New York, NY 15 minutes ago

So we’re going to leave out how Hillary was booed when she responded that she was going to keep her speech transcripts secret, that she was absolutely flustered on how to respond when it came to her support of TPP, NAFTA, and other disastrous trade bills. Her lack of enthusiasm for clean energy and acceptance of the woefully inadequate ACA.

These were all things that held her back in the debate, and it’s funny how the pundits conveniently leave out all of Hillary’s mistake but seem to think Sanders had a worse performance.

  • Dave is a trusted commenter Cleveland 17 minutes ago
    “Hillary Clinton Is Given the Edge”

    Passive voice, right in the headline, to dodge responsibility for what is clearly the newsroom’s opinion. Choose a different list of commentators and pundits that you decide matter, or look at the Twitter numbers and online polls, and you could have just as easily written the story “Bernie Sanders Is Given the Edge”.

    And, as some other commenters have pointed out, trying to announce who “won” a political debate is just plain silly when nobody actually knows what the voters thought, and that’s the only opinion that actually matters. But apparently this exercise matters more than what caucusgoers in Maine did, based on the placement and size of the stories.

     

    Carolyn Saint Augustine, Florida 17 minutes ago
    Well, obviously, if it’s the New York Times, it’s going to cherry pick in favor of Clinton, although this piece is milder in its favor. But then, if we had all listened to the media and the pundits instead of our hearts and minds, Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be such a serious contender for the presidency. So, we’ll just keep plugging along despite the lopsided reporting, and support Sanders with our small donations all from average Americans, and enjoy the enormous progress we have made – and continue to make – toward a true democracy and a better nation.

    Reply 16Recommend
    moviebuff Los Angeles 17 minutes ago
    Sanders was more compelling and convincing on the environment, foreign policy, taxes, banking regulation, infrastructure, education, health care, campaign finance reform, fracking, the Flint water crisis and destructive trade agreements. So yeah, of course the Times would say Hillary had the edge.

    Reply 20Recommend
    david root edgartown, ma 18 minutes ago
    Mr. Priebus, Did you watch the Republican debate? I would rather jump off a
    cliff than support one of those candidates. Regards.

    Reply 18Recommend
    Lilburne East Coast 44 minutes ago
    I love Bernie Sanders but he needs to stop waving his finger in the air the whole time Hillary Clinton is responding to a question.

    It seems rude and it is rude.

    Reply 45Recommend
    Rainflowers Nashville 15 minutes ago
    And Hillary, bless her heart, needs to stop shouting and smirking.

    Reply 5Recommend

    ArtUSA New York 15 minutes ago
    I agree 100%. He’s done this in every debate and it’s distracting and intrusive.

    Reply 2Recommend
    SEE ALL REPLIES
    Boonskis Grand Rapids, MI 44 minutes ago
    The stories on “who won the debate” are extremely disingenuous and treat readers as though all they are interested is in performance and not issues. I strongly support Sanders on the issues (climate change, race relationships) and to me the facts speak for themselves. How all the papers are getting that Clinton “did better”, when her answers on these issues are simply “status quo” instead of moving forward, is – to my mind – simply one more reflection of how the media are a little too tight with big business and the status quo. Be honest and give voters the credit they are due: the person who won is the one who is closest to your views on the issues.

    Reply 75Recommend

    serban is a trusted commenter Miller Place 3 minutes ago
    Hillary represents the status quo just as much as Obama represents the status quo. Both are realists that understand that the US is not fertile ground for radical change, there are too many conflicting interests and it is not possible to impose a vision if large segments of the population are opposed to it. Incremental change is possible, radical change without breaking the threads that keep the country together is not. Cruz is the most dangerous candidate because his vision will tear the country apart. Trump is dangerous because he has no clue on how to govern, his only goal is to have his name flashed across the sky. Sanders vision is more appealing as it is at least one that promises a just society, however, it is one that cannot be fulfilled without a mass movement behind it. That movement simply does not exist at this time, enthusiastic young people and progressive democrats are not sufficient. No question that there are people in the US that are hurting and pessimistic about their future, but they are not flocking to him, rather they are going for Trump who is offering scapegoats to blame for their situation. Until those disaffected Americans are brought behind a candidate like Sanders his vision will remain a distant mirage.

    Reply Recommend
    Fred Jones Toronto, Canada 44 minutes ago
    Is it really surprising that folks, who are members of the corrupt elite against whom Bernie crusades, would prefer Hillary, who is one of them after all.

    As a non-member of the US kleptocracy I thought Bernie cleaned the floor with her.

    Reply 73Recommend
    gregory Dutchess County 44 minutes ago
    Hearing the Democratic candidates talk about programs and history and funding and race and so forth was a big change from hearing the Republican candidates call each other names and spout ideological slogans and never mention concrete examples of the problems people face of how they would address them. Building “the wall” and putting our tax returns on a 3×5 card don’t qualify as serious ideas in my book.

    Reply 41Recommend
    Susan Tillinghast Portland Or 45 minutes ago
    These debates have become meaningless. They are about as relevant as waiting to see which candidate wins at tactic toe. Hillary is a master at these things. She is not a master at cleaning up American politics.

    Reply 21Recommend
    linda5 New England 17 minutes ago
    Sanders supporters insisted that Sanders needed more debates so he could show he is , get his name out, etc.
    Now they want no more debates because Sanders comes across as your testy, out-of-touch uncle

    Reply 4Recommend

     

     

Romney’s Tax Returns

MSNBC, Current Television all talk endlessly about Mitt Romney and his releasing only 1 full year and 1 year of projected taxes. The major claim is that every other Presidential candidate has released their returns since 1968 so Romney should also. Seems reasonable. These liberal bent stations tell us that not releasing the information is hurting Romney.

Does the American public care? Apparently, the public is evenly divided with 51% saying it is not something that they need to see. When you divide up the public, liberals are most interested and conservatives are the least concerned. Interestingly, people with lower salaries and younger votes both support the release of the Romney taxes.

 

Columnist Colby King raised this point today in his editorial. It’s not enough for Romney to say he’s paid all taxes that are “legally required.” A person who wants to be president should also be able to say, and to demonstrate, that no ethical lines have been crossed.

The best part of his piece is the succinct explaination for what could be hidden in his tax returns.

Was Romney’s income that was placed in a Swiss bank account reported on his earlier tax returns?

How did Romney’s IRA grow so large (to $100 million) when he could only put in $30,000 over any single year?

Did Romney report and pay gift tax on the funding of these trusts,” or might he have claimed “unreasonable valuations” that “would have exposed him to serious penalties if all the facts were known?”

All of these things raise questions about ethics and legal actions. All US citizens should be following the law when filing taxes; no special deals for the rich. This is especially true for a man who is running to be the person in charge of upholding all US and most international laws as the US President.

DC’s Great Dance Week

Two live shows and representing on So You Think You Can Dance; can we hear it for DC dance!

Carter Barron Ampitheatre hosted Metro DC Dance on Friday. On Saturday, Culture Shock DC filled the place. East Coast Dance Community Concert 2010 featured hip hopers and troupes ranging in ages from 7 to mid-age. Groups came down from Philadelphia and New York City and over from Germany, bringing lots of percision and  and high energy along with individual breakout skills.

They will be holding the free event again next summer so be ready.

The finale of So You Think You Can Dance for 2010 crowned Lauren as the top dancer. It showed us the top dance numbers for the year and, of course, featured Ellen De Generes getting down. The show also put DC dance on the map. Luke came out and showed his tap dance chops. During the DC Hip Hop festival, my partner and I saw Luke come out of the audience to put on his show at Dance Place. Here’s how one reporter saw Luke: Then a 7-year-old kid, Luke, came out to take his place. And by god, can that kid dance. No offense to Melinda (…OK, offense to Melinda), but THAT is what I think of when I think of tap. The kid had rhythm, variation, and style to spare. She always just seemed so messy when she did tap. The other styles she was great on, but tap? I never got it. This kid was great.

Then the Manzari Brothers followed with a tap routine. The two performed in Arena Stage’s Sophisticated Ladies this spring.

Is So You Think You Can Dance Declining?

Some friends are not watching the series this season. I have started to lose my interest in the show. The number of comments on blogs are down.

Is it like American Idol, where I’m seeing a noticeable decline in talent? I would say not. This year’s dancers, particularly Lauren, Robert, Adecheke are all powerful and elegant dancers.

No, SYTYCD is suffering from another of the factors that hurt American Idol: the changes in judges.

Fans have complained about the judging from the start of this season. The comments for the Final Four show are no different.  On the discussion, What’s with the judges the comments range from offering contradictory advice to a dancer to Mia being racist. Other people that I work with raised the latter as a consideration a few weeks ago when Mia found herself needing to offer a lame apology.

Mia is a bad judge to have on the show on a weekly basis. She is better to take in small doses. She has a favorites and dancers that she does not like and she can not stop herself from basing her opinions on how she feels about the dancer.

Mary Murphy was sometimes annoying with her yell but she was also much more good hearted than Mia could ever be. Mary was also better for the ratings.

I understand the producers thinking that the show needed to change in order to stay fresh. I think that they accomplished this with using all-stars as dancing partners. I hope that they reconsider bringing back a rotating judge for the panel in order to keep the juding perspectives fresh.

Media’s Short Memory

Today the New York Times ran an article on the marvel of combining hockey and figure skating to create a successful television program. Nowhere does the piece mention that this is not such a new idea. Have they ever seen the movie, The Cutting Edge from 1992!

Perhaps D.B. Sweeney is not their their favorite actor. Co-star Moira Kelly made a handful of movies. But even several movie guides rate the movie very good. It’s hard not to root for them to win the gold!

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My Yankees Unsung Hero

Been nearly a decade, which for us Yankee fans seems like an eternity. And this is why other baseball and sports fans feel such warmth toward us.

Still, I relish this moment, particularly since many of the pundits who predicted aYankee win began wavering when the Phillies won Game 5.

One player had a major role in influencing several of the post season games and last night’s World Series game: Damaso Marte.  He had a haoorible season and was even injured during much of the regular season.

Joe Girardi deserves great credit for recognizing that this was a new season. Several newspaper columnists and television broadcasters even took issue with him using Marte and what did the player do, he retired all ten batters he faced in the post season.

Lesbian, Gay Film Festivals and the Power of Film

Happy Pride month! Cities are preparing for tons of events from now through the end of June, capped by the big parade. New York has started its eight day, three venue, film festival, Newfest. Check out the schedule.

newfest_logo

The largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender festival, San Francisco‘s Frameline, begins later in the month. Its schedule can be found here.

Should unhappy content and non-affirming actions disqualify a movie from inclusion in a GLBTQ film festival?

Would you exclude a movie if it contained bisexual, gay, or lesbian characters but none were redeeming?

If film does have this power to influence would festival schedulers want to make sure that the influence was beneficial?

OR Is there benefit to seeing lesbian, gay and bisexual characters who are pathetic and so they end their lives?

Washington’s One-In-Ten runs a few days of movies prior to the big weekend. Sometimes the group provides a sampling of what would come during the Reel Affirmations festival in October. Other times they reach back for a Hairspray or another fun movie from the past. I recently watched the movie Jade Teardrop and it caused me to wonder what content from a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movie was appropriate for showing at a festival.

The plot summary makes the movie seem challenging. “A young boy refuses to speak to anyone and only has his caterpillar for a companion. His adoptive gay father desperately tries to fix their broken relationship, but the boy is unwilling to forgive him and seeks to be part of a ‘normal’ family.” The trailer appears below. At the first scene in which the adoptive father pours whiskey from the bottle after a rough moment with the boy, my partner and I began to worry. When we are introduced to the homophobic uncle and his friends, the combination of the performances and the language is an unhappy mixture.

Yet the movie is untypical for any movie, let alone a feature GLBTQ film, in characterization, ethnic depictions, and showing the difficulties of relationships. I kept watching. Without giving away any of the details, the end is unhappy for the two gay characters. Our committee is asked to rate on a 1 to 5 scale if the movie should be included in the upcoming Reel Affirmations film festival. I checked and saw that Newfest included 26 features, but not Jade Teardrop. Frameline had approximately 50 narrative feature films and Miami featured 25 and neither festival included this movie.

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Summer Reading

Everybody hits the beach at least once during the summer. What’s more fun then sitting in a lounge chair with a fun book in your hands and reading as the waves roll in to shore and the sun basks you.

The Philadelphia Gay News offers a list of their top new books, their reading rainbow

Hollywood_Bohemians

Hollywood Bohemians

By Brett Abrams

Nonfiction

Although today’s Hollywood is decidedly different than it was in the early 20th century, one thing has remained true: Sex sells.

Abrams’ “Hollywood Bohemians” explores the growth of Hollywood between 1917-41, examining how some in the film industry challenged societal conceptions of gender. This fueled not only social change, but also Hollywood’s reputation as a place where sexual inhibition is not only uncommon but unexpected. Abrams’ work investigates how novels, films and mass media of the time gave extensive attention not only to gays and lesbians, but also to other such “bohemians” as cross-dressers, effeminate males, butch females, adulterers and others who strayed from the accepted gender concepts of the era.

“Hollywood Bohemians” provides an extensively researched analysis of the history of Hollywood, tracing how sexuality became the ingrained component of the movie industry that it is today. The book details the evolving Hollywood culture — from the movie sets to the nightspots to the parties — focusing on the gender expectations within those environments and how the wave of bohemians drastically changed that landscape. Abrams highlights such stars as Tallulah Bankhead, Clark Gable, William Randolph Hearst, Cary Grant and Greta Garbo, performers whose carefree perceptions of sex and sexuality — and the manner in which their lives were portrayed in the media — paved the way for the increasing risqué nature of Hollywood.

Abrams’ work is written in a way that proffers plentiful scholarly research but also taps into the public’s continued desire to uncover all facets of Hollywood stars’ private lives. It would make an excellent addition to a film-history course, but is also an insightful and intriguing read for anyone bedazzled by the sexual abandon in the American movie industry.

Taxpayers, Stadiums and Political Privilege

Nationals Park
Image by Kevin H. via Flickr

Free tickets are to politicians as blood is to vampires. When not being used by the pols themselves, tickets are the means by which they reward, make up to, gain acceptance from and win favor with people they want or need politically. The recipient may be a donor, a voter or a voter’s child. No matter. Tickets, suites, parking passes, etc., grease the passage to a target’s heart — or wallet. Sucking up to constituents knows no bounds.

The Washington Post columnist Colbert King makes a key point about the food fight between Mayor Adrien Fenty and the Washington DC City Council over the baseball suite tickets.

What of the ironies here.

First, they are fighting over perks that the taxpayers footed the bill for! Nationals Park cost the city at least $650 million and who knows how much in sundry other expenses. Residents paid for that and the politicians that are representatives of those taxpayers are fighting over the expectation that they ought to have free tickets to a luxury suite without much consideration that most of their constituents will not be able to afford to see the inside of the stadium even from the less expansive bleacher seating.

Second, the fight over tickets is going on while the stadium remains no more than one-third filled most of the time. The cost of individual tickets certainly plays a major role in keeping residents and visitors to the nation’s capital from going to the games.

The empty stadium phenomenon is becoming a major issue in Yankee Stadium and Citifield. The cost of the prime tickets results in rows of empty seats being broadcast along with the key action in the games. Meanwhile, the filled seats are in the outfield portions where ticket prices are somewhat accessible to the interested fans who used to fill up the better seating in the old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium.

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