In a time of segregated pools, Mr. Rogers asked a black singer to play a police officer. The two shared a foot bath with each other on television and sang a song about the many ways to say I love you. Francois Clemmons said he felt an authentic connection with Mr. Rogers, and that Mr. Rogers was intentional and conscious about the episode’s purpose and design. If black lives mattered, this kind of relationship would be the driving force behind policing today. Officers would look like their communities, and white allies would authentically acknowledge, welcome, and listen to people of color.Read More →

Bring Back Our Girls As the tragic spectacle of 276 kidnapped Nigerian girls receives international attention, I can’t help but feel sick to my stomach thinking about Nigerian Scams, and the context in which they arise, in the deepest Hunger Games kind of way. As celebrities stride red carpets in stunning pink, carrying bold posters for the cause, I want to root for “our girls” much the way I cheered for Katniss to save Rue in a mediated extravaganza, a spectacle the state designed to distract me from world poverty, hunger, slave labor, and mass slaughter. Hollywood is filled with the scandalous objectification of littleRead More →

* I can’t remember the last time I heard a busy signal. Busy signals disappeared due to voice mail and call waiting, a phenomenon that happened in the 90s. This is an early step in the direction of 24/7 accessibility and connection via new communication technologies. Although, looking backward,  we can say the same thing for the invention of the telephone, telegraph, printing press, and even writing itself. Still, the loss of the busy signal bespeaks a “jacked-in-ness” unmatched in older information technologies. * The Guiding Light has gone off the air after 72 years. I watched that show with my grandmother when I wasRead More →

Hype around a new summer replacement show called The Days attracted me to the interesting storyline, so I watched the first twenty minutes of the show. Promoted as unique, edge, and unexplored, the show was disturbingly flat. It’s failure is an example of postmodern hyperbole in contemporary panic culture. Consider this review from Zap2It.com (A Tribune Media Service), “‘The Days’ Gets Chance To Shine”: Booked for a six-week test run, “The Days” is a bold attempt by creator John Scott Shepherd (“Life or Something Like It”) and executive producers Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins (“Smallville,” “One Tree Hill”) to revisit a series format that hasRead More →

Am I the only person in the world who selects musical choices by listening to the Mitsubishi car ads? I never heard of Dirty Vegas. Apparently I’m not alone, according to Rob Walker at Slant who says that the Mitsubishi ad was responsible for getting Dirty Vegas air time and concert dates. Dirty Vegas was fairly popular in England, but never “broke” here. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but TV commercials are indeed helping artists to break. Walker says it shows how cookie cutter US radio has grown. Walker also has a nice little piece on Spam’s new commercial,Read More →