Series Blog

Archive for August 2011

Drought Evokes Memories of 1930s Dust Bowl


It's not often that weather forecasters say that a hurricane would offer welcome relief to a region. But as Texas, Oklahoma and much of the South endure record-breaking drought, some weather forecasters have speculated that a hurricane is the best hope that region has for breaking the dry heat, and avoiding devastation on the level of the 1930s Dust Bowl

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History, Hollywood and the Help


How many times have you seen "based on a true story" before a feature film? The truth is often the basis for some very successful Hollywood films. Films like Milk, The Social Network, and The Queen are just a few from recent memory. Inevitably, the truth in the true story becomes something that critics and audiences debate. 

This summer comes a film based on a popular novel, The Help. This film doesn't carry the "true story" mantle but the book was inspired by the white author's own upbringing in a racially divided Mississippi. The press and online debate about this film starts there. Entertainment Weekly, in a cover story, talks about the "crooked culture of storytelling when it comes to the black experience." In its review, the Boston Globe says, "The Help joins everything from To Kill a Mockingbird to The Blind Side as another Hollywood movie that sees racial progress as the province of white do-gooderism."  Variety calls the film "A stirring black-empowerment tale aimed squarely at white audiences."

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LGBT's New Media Strategy


Pioneers of the Gay Rights Movement used the riots at the Stonewall Inn to propel their own civil rights movement in 1969. Today, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender movement is utilizing social media to fuel that same agenda. At the time of the uprising the American Psychiatric Association still classified homosexuality as a mental disorder, and the act of homosexual sex -- even in private homes -- was considered a crime. Since those riots in front of the Stonewall Inn and the subsequent establishment of the annual Gay Pride Parade, the LGBT community (like the racial and religious groups before it) has sought the right to receive equal treatment under the law.

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