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Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Dear Loyal (?) Readers:

Want to peek into how my mind works? Here you go:

I read a news story about a guy who swallowed a garden slug on a dare and died. (To be clear, it was eight years later from a disease the slug had called RAT LUNGWORM — gross — but still).

So naturally, I thought of that “What are little boys made of?” poem:

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.
That’s what little boys are made of!
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice.
That’s what little girls are made of!

And then I started thinking about what I would be made of (hint: It ain’t sugar and all that). And because I’m a little addicted to TV, here’s a guide to me in shows:

Two parts “Jersey Shore Family Vacation (Truth is stranger than fiction. It’s why I became a journalist.)
Two parts “The Amazing Race (I love to travel, and I’m competitive. I would sell a kidney to be on that show.)
One part “Chopped (I like to cook, and I have a pantry full of odd things from the Buford Highway Farmers Market.)
One part “Oddities(This captures my bad taxidermy obsession.)
A large helping of “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce (Because, you know.)
A pinch of “Naked Attraction (I often work blue in non-work situations. I also love Brits. As you know.)
A dash of “Haunting of Hill House (Gore? Jump scares? True crime? I’m in.)

I don’t know, Michael. I don’t know.

Anyway, if you continue to be amused by what crosses my mind and comes out on the page, please subscribe to this blog. If you do already, thanks!

Yours in slugs, lungworm and guidos,
Beth

 

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Dear Fellow Women:

This week has been illuminating. It’s clear we are going about this whole “gender equality” thing the wrong way. We feminists have been advocating for women’s rights on the basis of equality.

We’ve been wanting people to play by what we think should be the rules (you know: logic, respect, fairness, etc.). But really, we need to be playing by rules already in place: men’s rules.

So here’s the deal: Let’s learn from the Kavanaugh debacle. Don’t get mad. Get even.

1. Deny, deny, deny

This is very freeing. You can do anything you want — especially when you are drunk — and just say you didn’t do it. Boom. Maybe you really did forget. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal to you. Maybe you did it and don’t want to remember. It doesn’t matter. Just say you didn’t do it. Or you don’t recall. Or your accuser is crazy. You know, go full gaslight. The beauty of this is that people will believe you, the perpetrator! Just get super defensive. Don’t stand down — double down!

2. Accuse, accuse, accuse (i.e., the best defense is a good offense)

If you are ever in a jam, make sure you say that the person is making it up for fame. Clearly that works. I know all of us can name every one of Bill Cosby’s accusers. We want autographs of these world-famous women. Who wouldn’t want to be famous for being sexually assaulted? #squadgoals

3. Girls will be girls

We’ve all heard “boys will be boys” so much this week. I always thought that meant chasing each other with stick guns and farting on each other’s heads. But apparently it means that guys can do anything — ANYTHING — when they are 17 and younger, and NOTHING will happen. Clarification: white guys.

So ladies, do whatever you want as long as you are 17 and younger. We all will back you up and say, “Girls will be girls.”

4. Time is on your side

Oh you did something years ago, and someone wants you to answer for it? Pbfft! Who has time for that noise? It was 5, 10, 35 (insert number) years ago. You are important now. You have a whole amazing career ahead of you. Just remember that YOUR career path is much more important than your accuser’s career path and mental health.

5. Take what you want

You think a dude is hot? Grab him by the penis. Try to get inside that bathing suit. Lock the door, drop your skirt, and make demands on your male coworkers. Put your needs/wants first. Don’t think twice. Men need to watch what they wear, how much they drink, where they park, where they jog, what they say. This is your world now. You might even get to be president of the United States someday! (And if they don’t like it, just tell them they’d look better if they smiled more.)

There. Problem solved. I’ll take my thanks in gift cards for bathrobes, cigars and scotch.

Welcome to the jungle,
Beth

P.S. You are a man, and you’re mad at me now for generalizing? Get over yourself. I do not hate men; I hate the double standard. Also, unless you’ve sexually harassed someone, I’m clearly NOT TALKING TO OR ABOUT YOU!

P.P.S. You are outraged at my post, and you want to tell me that there really are false allegations. I’m sure there are. But only 2-10 percent of all rape reports are found to be false. Only 35 percent of rapes are ever reported. Why? I’m sure Christine Blasey Ford can tell you exactly why.

P.P.P.S. You don’t understand sarcasm? You’re reading the wrong blog.

P.P.P.P.S. Of course I am NOT advocating for any kind of sexual assault. By anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. Good grief! See P.P.P.S. above.

 

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Dear Climate Change Deniers,

I know that nothing I say can change your mind, but I can’t sleep unless I try. (I mean I can’t sleep anyway, so … )

Here are my boni fides: I have five college degrees: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D. (not bragging; just offering facts). The second is the one you should care about as it is in Geosciences.

That’s right. I’m a meteorologist.

(Uh oh, trigger warning: a scientist — member of the intellectual elite, blah blah blah.)

I know evidence when I see it with my own eyes. Even without other scientists (and even NASA) saying over and over that global warming is real, I see proof in many ways.

Increasing intensity and number of tropical storms is just one. I mean, just look!

WTF?!

So it’s really hard to deny that climate change is real.

Still with me? Let’s move on.

The second argument is whether it is caused by fellow two-legged menaces. Like most rational humans, I believe it is. That doesn’t really matter, though.

Shouldn’t we still engage in practices that will improve the environment as opposed to destroying it?

Shouldn’t we still explore alternative fuel sources?

Shouldn’t we still recycle, pick up after ourselves, eschew straws in favor of sea turtles and the like?

We all have to live here on Earth, you know. Despite Elon Musk’s attempts, Mars is still not an option.

It’s not like it really costs each of us much more to be responsible land dwellers.

Plus, there are plenty of jobs in new technologies, so it makes fiscal sense.

Come on, folks: Work with me here. Let’s be rational and make some progress together.

You want to, right?

It’d be a lot cooler if you did,
Beth

*Brian Klaas, The Washington Post

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Dear Conference Presenters:

Congratulations on having a research paper or topic deemed worthy of presentation. You cleared the biggest hurdle!

The next hurdle is the actual presentation.

When you are preparing your remarks, keep in mind that the audience members are your peers. They come to your session because there is something about it that seems interesting. They may or may not know as much as you do about your subject.

You have a duty to prepare something interesting. Auntie Beth is here to help.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for presenting (really, any kind of public speaking):

  • DO tell a story to kick off the presentation. You can do this; humans are natural storytellers. For example, tell us how you got interested in your topic.
  • DO think of your presentation as a narrative with a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • DO have visual aids. DON’T write out all your text on the slides.
  • DO show how to use the technology if you are presenting on the benefits of an app. Every conference room has a projector. DON’T walk up and down the aisle waving your phone as a visual aid.
  • DO relax and turn on the charm. Think of it as a conversation, or at least a conversation starter.
  • DO pay attention to your audience. If they are napping, then your storytelling needs some work.
  • DON’T read your research paper, for the love of God. (I will leave your session so fast I’ll just be a blur.)
  • DON’T go over your allotted time. It’s just unprofessional and rude to your co-presenters.
  • DON’T fight with your audience. It’s OK to disagree with various points people make, but it’s not OK to get shouty.
  • DO let organizers know if it seems like the panel makeup is not as diverse as it should be. With all the focus on under-representation, you would think that all white male panels would be a thing of the past. You would be wrong. This guy gets it:

Remember to breathe and have fun. If you aren’t having fun, neither will the people who came to see you.

Go get ’em, Tiger!
Auntie Beth

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Dear Fake News Media:

You don’t exist.

You are a figment of a certain someone‘s overactive imagination and marketing strategy to a willing audience.

You are an oxymoron. If something is fake (i.e., not real), it’s not news (news is real). News is not fake just because someone doesn’t like it.

You know what does exist? Actual news media made up of real people who work their butts off to inform the population and hold people in power accountable — the fourth estate that ensures a strong republic. (Oh that old thing … )

You know what is newsworthy? Here are the criteria:

Timeliness: happening now or just happened
Prominence: the person/entity involved is well known or powerful
Proximity: happening or happened nearby
Impact/consequence: affected or will affect readers/viewers
Novelty/rarity: out of the ordinary
Human interest: the lives of others are interesting

If it’s not out of the ordinary, it wouldn’t bear a mention. That’s just the way it is.

There’s a saying in news:

You don’t cover the planes that land.

You cover the wrecks.

Someone I know on Facebook (name withheld for protection) wrote:

MSM would be lost were it not for [Trump’s] tweets. They hang on every word, analyze them, and re-analyze them.

Um … yeah. He’s the president. What he says is news. Duh.

“Lost,” though? Not likely.

There’s plenty to cover without Trump tweeting.

It blows my mind how much we cover in one day.

That’s from Kristen Welker, White House correspondent for NBC News.

She said that last night in the AEJMC keynote panel, “Covering the White House: From Eisenhower to Trump,” held in Washington, D.C., and broadcast on C-SPAN.

(Yeah, I’m at a journalism education conference with other university professors/administrators — plus news organizations/foundations — and I’m still a journalist. Both of my professions are under fire. Lucky me!)

Those people who are suspicious of the mainstream media, though, should take solace in this fact shared in that same panel by Christi Parsons, former White House correspondent with the Tribune Company.

Because [Trump] is so personally antagonistic, journalists go above and beyond to double check.

The news media is not the “enemy of the people.” The news media consists of real people trying to do important work in a profession under siege by the person in the nation’s highest office.

Those who delight in calling the media “enemy” plus “fake,” think about this:

Do you really want to live in a country without independent media covering people making decisions with your tax money?

The true enemy of the people is the lack of critical thinking.

My advice to those worried about veracity and bias? Get your news from a variety of sources, as suggested by Herman and Chomsky way back in the ’80s.

My advice to the 43 percent in that poll? Please educate yourself about democracy and guy named Jefferson. Or don’t, but don’t answer polls. Skip the news, and just go watch Netflix and chill.

My advice to journalists? Keep on keeping on. Ask the tough questions. Submit the open records requests. Keep striving for objectivity.

We need you more than ever.

And tell me where I can donate so you can hire security.

Yours in solidarity,
Beth

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Dear British TV Producers:

It’s like you know me — like you are developing stuff just for me. As I’ve mentioned before, there is nothing that makes me happier than an evening of British TV.

Last time I visited, I became addicted to “Naked Attraction.” That still is on the list, but I watched new shows too this time:

The Only Way is Essex
Kind of like an upmarket “Jersey Shore.” Nothing happens in any episode, though.

Love Island
Like the “Dating Game” got it on with “Big Brother.” Again, nothing seemed to happen except folks hated on Dr. Alex.

8 out of 10 Cats
Game show? Talk show? Hard to tell.

Would I Lie to You
To Tell the Truth” meets Jimmy Fallon’s “Two Truths and a Lie.” I’m a fan of David Mitchell (with his beard, of course), so that led to …

Peep Show
What an odd show. It’s a little like “The Office” with a dash of “Spaced.”

“Peep Show” Mitchell (aka Austin Powers) vs. Lying Mitchell. Am I wrong?

Mock the Week
The Daily Show” with “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Friday Night Dinner
A sitcom where two adult sons come home each Friday for dinner with Mom and Dad. I wanted to murder the idiot sons.

Four in a Bed
Innkeepers visit and rate each others’ establishments to “win.” Insults and hard feelings ensue. Who brings a UV light to check the toilets before staying at a B&B?

Who is America?
Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest venture. As if I’m not embarrassed enough. How can I explain two sitting Republican congressmen, Dana Rohrabacher (California) and Joe Wilson (South Carolina), wanting to arm toddlers? I can’t. I’m going to tell people I’m Canadian.

And “Naked Attraction.” I just can’t get enough. Hannah* found me watching it while I was eating breakfast. What can I say? I like to start the day off right.

In fact, I’m a little jealous of host Anna Richardson’s job. In what other career path could you utter these memorable phrases?

You’ve seen everything they’ve got to give you. What’s your choice?

You have quite a pair of balls on you. That’s quite a pouch.

How do you feel? You’ve got six vaginas staring you in the face.

Not very many. That’s for sure.

Keep up the good work,
Beth

*Friend with whom I stayed on the trip. She and her husband Dave love to introduce me to new shows.

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Dear Reader’s Digest,

Thank you for your efforts to empower women. I’m sure this title didn’t seem patronizing when you published this pamphlet in 1973 — 10 years behind the start of the second wave of feminism.

Now, though …

I’m surprised every chapter doesn’t just say, “Call a man.”

To be fair, it doesn’t ever say that, but there is a whiff of condescension. For example, in the “Starting difficulties” section of the “Six dilemmas with your car” chapter, the unnamed writer states:

If your car refuses to start, but the battery has enough power to crank the engine, you may not be using the correct starting procedure.

You must use your delicate lady feet to depress the accelerator.

To your credit, there is some great information in here. But let’s be honest: Not all men are handy, and not all women take to their fainting sofas when faced with an emergency.

Shock? Or Reader’s Digest’s expectations of a woman’s general nature?

A better title would have been the simple, “Guide to household emergencies.” Oh wait — you thought of that as you published a similar guide in the same year under that exact title. Why not call it, “Men’s guide to household emergencies?”

Anyway, lucky for us, the women’s guide is enhanced with these special illustrations:

You too can change a tire without damaging your manicure!

Yet no self-respecting woman (or man, for that matter) should heed your advice regarding toilet clogs:

Try reaching as far as possible into the toilet to dislodge the blockage.

Um … no.

My 1950s June Cleaver-style mom clearly found this guide useful, as it was one of the few things she kept. (She wasn’t particularly sentimental, and thankfully wasn’t a borderline hoarder like someone else I know.)

My mom always liked to be prepared. In fact, she tucked in the pages of your guide this clipping from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution:

Note that the AJC did not select target audience gender. So that’s nice. And rather forward-thinking compared to you.

Anyway, thanks for providing amusement for me 45 years after publication.

Dying to get my mitts on the “men’s” version for comparison,
Beth

 

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