Monday News: BEA & diversity, fair use for filmmakers, a brief history of educational tv, and “weird” American food
A Year Later, #WeNeedDiverseBooks Has Left Its Mark On BookCon – So compared to last year, the organizers of BEA feel like they’ve come a long way, with the help of the #weneeddiversebooks campaign. The international element of this year’s event may have been part of that, too. You can even watch the WNDB panel on C-Span, with speakers including Ellen Oh and Jacqueline Woodson. Although, as Daniel José Older notes, “So it’s one thing to put the word ‘diversity’ on banners and things like that, and then it’s another to actually achieve equity and stop racist practices in publishing. Those are two different things.”
“I can tell you the first panel that we booked was with We Need Diverse Books,” says Brien McDonald, BookCon’s show manager. He says organizers worked closely with publishers to ensure that a wide range of authors would take part in the conference, and this year there are several panels on diversity. “There were some instances where, when we were planning panels — Who’s available? Who fits with kind of the theme of this panel? — where we would definitely stop and say, ‘We need diversity included here. We have three white people; the fourth cannot be that way.’ ” –NPR
Putting the ‘use’ back in fair use – Although this Washington Post article is from March, it refers to the recent hearings in Los Angeles on the modified exemption the International Documentary Association has been proposing to the DMCA that would allow a fair use exemption for film clips. As Sonny Bunch notes in the Post article, the evolving form of the “video essay” does not have secure copyright protection, despite its growth and increasing popularity. That a studio can still cut a C&D letter for any given clip of film is a ridiculous double standard when you think about how entrenched fair use is when it comes to written texts.
We see examples of this new form virtually every week. Sometimes it’s a new super cut; I particularly enjoyed the recent mashup of fake movies in moviesby the Screen Junkies. Other times they take the form of an examination of a specific filmmaker’s tendencies, such as this look at Wes Anderson’s almost fetishistic predilection for centering his shots. And then there are documentaries, such as Thom Andersen’s brilliant “Los Angeles Plays Itself,” an almost-three-hour film examining the ways in which Los Angeles has been used by the film industry that failed to find distribution for more than a decade thanks to copyright concerns. (You can finally watch Andersen’s film on Netflix now.)–Washington Post & International Documentary Association
What Happened to Educational Television: The Story of ‘The Learning Channel’ – A very interesting piece from Audrey Watters on the history of The Learning Channel and educational television more generally. Watters traces the channel back to the US of the 1960s and 70s, when a plan to use television to deliver educational content to areas of the country that were more isolated from educational opportunities (specifically Appalachia) met the NASA ATS-6 satellite, creating the Appalachian Education Satellite Project (AESP), which operated in 8 states. It’s really an interesting history, and one that, as Watters notes, raises a number of issues about so-called educational content on television:
This history?—?what TLC has become?—?shouldn’t simply serve to confirm FCC chairman Newton Minnow’s famous pronouncement that television is a “vast wasteland.” But it certainly does highlight several key issues that education technology continues to struggle with today:
- Who owns the “pipes”? Who owns the means by which content is transmitted? Who owns the satellites? Who owns the spectrum? Who owns the cables? Who owns the network?
- What do we mean by “educational content”? In particular, how has our definition of “documentary” changed over the last few decades? How does this shape what media?—?in form and in content?—?enters the classroom?
- How have regional educational agencies and distance education providers?—?particularly those offering for-credit classes?—?been affected by the commercialization of content and delivery?
- How has education become increasingly commercialized? How has it become consolidated? How might education on the Internet and via various computer technologies be following down that very path taken by education on cable TV? –Education Futurism
31 Of The Weirdest Foods In America – Granted, I think some of these foods are, uh, not exactly desirable looking (Koolickles?!?), but is that really mayonnaise I see on the list, or is that Miracle Whip, which is NOT mayo, no matter what anybody says. Because mayonnaise isn’t even an “American” food. –Buzzfeed
I suppose mayo can make sense if you go with the literal title of the list, since it exists in America. The list is really head scratchy at times, even if you can overlook the lack of research. Things like rocky mountain oysters and pickled pigs feet are obvious choices. I can understand things like chicken and waffles being there. But things like PB and banana sandwiches? Why is putting fruit in a sandwich that weird to someone? (Disclaimer: okay, its my favorite type of sandwich, but you don’t slice the banana, you squish it and spread it for even coverage.)
BTW, can anyone tell me what Miracle Whip tastes like? I’m curious, but the smallest container I’ve seen is 15oz.
Miracle Whip is really sweet. Like nauseatingly sweet, and a little tangy. It’s been my experience that if you grew up on regular mayo then you most likely will not like Miracle Whip. The only time I’ve ever liked it is on a grilled cheese from Nation’s Hamburgers (shout out to my peeps in the Bay!). Otherwise it’s just gross.
It’s seems that most of the foods on that list are poor-folk staples. A little bit of culinary elitism to start the morning.
@CG: I’ve found – personally – that the opposite is true too. :) I grew up on miracle whip and margarine, so mayo and butter tasty gross to me.
Mayo’s a staple of hard-core low-carbers (convenience, flavor, lack of preservatives). Flavored mayos, made from different nut oils, were ongoing on the lists I subscribed to. I personally tried to make it once, but decided to save my emulsifying skills for hollandaise sauce.
However, I would try again (again and again) if I had a chance of replicating the mayo I got with my frites in Belgium from a street vendor.
If you want to go with an honest list of “weird American foods”, peanut butter (period) should be tops on the list. I know that most USians grew up on it and think of it as a staple, but practically all of my friends from other countries find it disgusting and bizarre.
Except those from the West Coast of Africa; but they are used to (extremely delicious, btw) peanut butter stews, which most USians would think of as “weird”.
My personal list would also contain the US fetish for deconstructed-then-reconstituted “food products” — y’know, things like Tang (“but the astronauts drank it!”), Pringles, freeze-dried ice cream pellets….
@CG: Ah. Thanks. Sounds like the nasty dressing that comes in Dole coleslaw kits. :P
@hapax: My nephew loves loves loves Bamba, the Israeli peanut/peanut butter-flavored snack he grew up on as a kid and now buys whenever he can find it here. Apparently the incidence of peanut allergies in Israel is one-tenth of that in other countries because so many kids eat Bamba from an early age.
Really interested to read the article on TLC. My mom and I were just discussing how all the “educational” and artsy cable channels (TLC, Bravo, A&E and to a great extent, Nat Geo) have turned into bastions of sensationalistic reality tv.
@CG: “It’s seems that most of the foods on that list are poor-folk staples. A little bit of culinary elitism to start the morning.” This. The majority of these foods are associated with poor and/or Southern people. Pretty offensive all around really. Then again, it’s BuzzFeed.
@hapax: “but practically all of my friends from other countries find it disgusting and bizarre.”
What? It’s adored in Australia and the UK, I can tell you that.
I agree that a lot of foods on that Buzzfeed list are regional specialties (they’re not all Southern, though), but I really disagree that they’re ‘poor-people food.’ If anything, I don’t think most of those foods are “weird” at all (says the person who’s now craving a peanut butter and banana sandwich on multigrain bread).
@hapax: I am making a peanut butter stew tonight, actually. I really like it, though I use less peanut butter than the recipe calls for.
Yes! Yes! Thank you! It’s taken me YEARS to come around to liking peanut butter in sauces and desserts, but even after 34 years in the US, you will not get me to eat it in a sandwich, with or without jelly, bananas, or anything else.
Weird US foods?
firstly yes, peanut butter things
‘Jelly’ particularly ‘grape jelly’ – rest of the world says it’s called jam and we don’t have ‘grape’ flavour.
Same as cherry … raspberry is much more common as a flavour.
YOUR WEIRD OBSESSION WITH CINNAMON.
Whatever ‘cool whip’ or ‘miracle whip’ or whatever it is?
And that strange orange cheese. What IS that?
Love, an Australian- and yes I had vegemite for breakfast so I do understand it goes both ways!
Mayo is a pretty international food. It’s often a nasty commercial product, but that’s kind of like saying all fried chicken is inedible because some reconstituted industrial nugget is so awful.
What should have been on the list was marshmallow fluff. It’s pretty uniquely American — and ghastly.