Art Gallery Twitter-style with #VisibleWomen

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If you’re into art – illustrations particularly – it might not hurt to take a moment and look up #VisibleWomen on Twitter. A significant number of female artists have taken to social media to show their work:

Yes, these women are out there doing their work in places you actually know about.

Here’s some from Disney:

And Cartoon Network:

And the world of comic books:

And fantasy/video games:

All I can say is drop by Twitter, check out #VisibleWomen, and keep scrolling to see the work from these remarkable women.

Image: Twitter/Maria Nguyen/@DTNart

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Art Gallery Twitter-style with #VisibleWomen

Misspent Outrage about ‘Peter Rabbit’

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Yes, Sony did put a scene in Peter Rabbit about severe food allergies. Yes, it is a serious subject. No, it probably wasn’t necessary for anyone to start calling for boycotts.

It’s been a long time since our society responded to situations like this in a more adult manner, so bear with me here. While I’m tempted to just relegate this to the “faux outrage” pile, I can’t, but that’s only because Sony chose to depict a potentially fatal allergy on the big screen.

But, instead of the extreme response we’ve seen from parents and groups on social media, perhaps the better route would have been to turn this into a teaching moment – for everyone. Saying that Sony was insensitive and calling for a boycott of the film forced the corporation to apologize publicly. Simply pointing out that the film showed a behavior that everyone needs to know is wrong would have left the door open for a deeper conversation about potentially deadly allergies in general.

Now, it’s not likely that many health teachers will think about pulling that scene from the film for class as an object lesson about what not to do. They will be rightfully concerned about reigniting the current outrage.

The fact remains that this film is pure fiction, and showing it as a dramatization of what not to do offers more than one lesson for kids. It also offers the opportunity to reinforce the ongoing lessons about the difference between fantasy and reality. No matter what, because of this outrage, Peter Rabbit has probably been lost as a teaching tool in general, and not just for learning about food allergies.

Maybe the outrage itself can be a teaching tool. When people are upset about something they see in media or entertainment, perhaps they need to think twice before crying for boycotts or other extreme actions. While many people might seem supportive of the outraged people, sharing that feeling doesn’t educate anyone on anything except the fine art of getting upset. Righteous indignation might feel good for a moment, but in the end it doesn’t promote discussion on what caused it in the first place. That discussion falls too far below the headlines, and isn’t tweetable. In the case of Peter Rabbit, even asking why Sony decided to put a poorly done Jackass stunt in the film would have brought more attention to real issue – food allergies. At least then, people might have asked why Sony got it so wrong.

Image: YouTube Capture

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Misspent Outrage about ‘Peter Rabbit’

Media and Participation Trophies

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Over the past few days, there has been a pile of righteously indignant (and ridiculing) posts on social media about the fact that GQ decided to make Colin Kaepernick their “Citizen of the Year.” While the general sentiments of people are probably understandable, one thing doesn’t seem to be coming up often:

What exactly is the GQ Citizen of the Year Award?

A quick search on Google for “GQ Citizen of the Year 2016” yields the following:

No, you’re not missing something, and no Google isn’t simply flooded with this year’s recipient. There wasn’t a “Citizen of the Year” named by GQ last year. It’s a new invention this year, and only time will tell whether or not it will be repeated.

So, for anyone who was thinking that this was some kind of important honor, it’s most likely that the editors of GQ were looking for a way to elevate Kaepernick in the eyes of the public by calling him “Citizen of the Year” – basically, a magazine version of a participation trophy. It’s possible that they will name someone next year, and the year after that, but no matter what it’s going to take years for this “honor” to hold any real value – if it ever does.

Frankly, these things are becoming a marketing tool for print magazines that are trying to occasionally boost their hard copy sales throughout the year. Time magazine has been devaluing the honor of being named “Person of the Year” by repeatedly choosing either groups of people or highly controversial individuals. It is becoming obvious that the only real reasons the magazine editors are giving out awards are about selling magazines. It’s certainly not about any real accomplishments of the winners. In the case of Kaepernick, it’s probably best to say that he’s becoming the political activism version of the Kardashians. If people are brutally honest with themselves, they can’t truthfully point out where the noble cause really is for him, since his activism is swimming neck deep in self-interest. Kaepernick would just be yet another pro-athlete who ceased to be valuable to pro-teams because of under-performing on the field. No one would be talking about him if he hadn’t turned what probably was a session of sulking on the sideline into a political statement. That’s even a stretch, since the “movement” he started still hasn’t clearly stated what it is protesting or more importantly, what concrete changes it wants to see in society. It is an amorphous feeling that attaches itself to various headlines along the way, pushing indignation and disrespect without a substantial purpose that could promote real change.

As for GQ, we have about a year to wait and see if this was just a one-off stunt for sales, or if they’re really going to try to offer a quasi-real award for citizenship each year. No matter what, don’t expect much. These awards still aren’t about anything except the bottom line for media companies that are desperately trying to sell more glossy print.

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Media and Participation Trophies