In case you are unaware, there is something called “The Whiteness Project.” Per the website, the project, from documentary director Whitney Dow, is “a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as ‘white’ experience their ethnicity.” The first installment, titled “Inside the White Caucasian Box,” was released a few days ago and is an assemblage of interviews of 24 Buffalo, New York, residents who identify as “White.” To further explain the aims of the project, the website provides an “Artistic Statement” that poses some of the poignant questions that are explored in the interviews:
While many media projects have investigated the history, culture, and experiences of various American ethnic minorities, there has been much less examination of how white Americans think about and experience their whiteness and how white culture shapes our society. Most people take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be a “white”? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? How does one come to be deemed “white” in America and what privileges does being perceived as white bestow?
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I grew up with parents who were not particularly pro-television. My dad even attached a scarf to the top of our TV and would insist on pulling it down to cover the screen during commercials (he also muted the sound). But one show they were always in favor of me watching was “Sesame Street.” I grew up with Big Bird, Telly, Grover, Oscar, the Count, and all of their human friends and have many amazing memories to show for it. I also believe the show helped instill a love of learning, a sense of compassion, and a genuine curiosity about the world around me. Given that the show has been referenced in the same breath as cutting funding for PBS by Mitt Romney — just to be clear, the show actually receives a very small portion of its funding from PBS, and PBS only takes up .014 percent of the federal budget — I thought it would be a good time to review the show’s significance. Because if anything, these empty threats to “kill Big Bird” should serve as a reminder of why “Sesame Street” is so important.
You can’t blame PBS for trying to make a buck. Even they hate their biweekly fundraising efforts. Nevertheless, the production company for “Downton Abbey” got on the horn and put a stop to PBS.org’s sale of a “Downton Abbey”-inspired jewelry line, which was in no way affiliated with the show. Keep reading »
The other day, Jessica told us
about Tina Fey receiving the Mark Twain Prize for humor last week (only “the third woman in history to do so after Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg”). We saw a clip of Fey’s acceptance speech, but it turns out there was more to Fey’s speech — over 30 seconds, in fact, that PBS censored. Here’s what we didn’t see. What do you think — were her jokes offensive or controversial enough to warrant the censorship? [via YouTube
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Get your tissues ready for this one. StoryCorps
, an organization that records and archives people’s stories, has started broadcasting animated shorts of some of those stories on a PBS show called “POV.” This one, called “Danny and Annie,” is the tearjerker tale of “Brooklynites Danny, an OTB clerk, and Annie, a nurse,” [who] remember their life together—from their first date to Danny’s final days with terminal cancer.” It’s a reminder of how fleeting life is and how lucky we are if we can find someone to love and share the ride with. [via BuzzFeed
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Last night, instead of watching “Desperate Housewives” and “Brothers & Sisters,” I opted for slightly more intellectual but no less drama-filled fare and watched Masterpiece Classic on PBS, hosted by Laura Linney. This week, it was part one of “Tess of the d’Urbervilles,” based on the novel by Thomas Hardy. I was enthralled, and I can’t wait for the conclusion next Sunday at 9pm. Keep reading »