Monday, December 21, 2009

Ukraine's Got Talent

I just thought this was a beautiful video, and very different from what we would see on North American talent contests.

Sand Animation

Here are a few differences that I noted. First, this performance is more than eight minutes long. Most talent shows that air in North America only give each performer about two minutes. I have heard this referred to as the Sesame Street generation, where all of our programs need to move on to new scenes in 3 minutes or less in order to keep us from getting bored. I don't know about other viewers, but I was far from being bored even at minute 8.

Also, there was nothing really pop-like about it. It contained raw emotion that made many people in the audience cry. I'm not sure if Adam Lambert or Terry Fator have that impact on people, not to say that they aren't talented. They are both extremely talented, but I am not sure that this sand animation would have made it to the finale of America's Got Talent, and I don't mean because America necessarily has better acts.

So much of western pop culture is ahistorical, I found it very refreshing to see how a pop culture television program can incorporate history with entertainment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Upholding the gender binary

I was watching the local news, and the teaser before the commercial said that there was a problem with consent forms for the H1N1 vaccine at schools in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Because I have been following H1N1 news stories (with much annoyance), I decided to wait and see what this big problem was all about.

As it turns out, the big contraversy was that consent form asked for students' gender, but gave 5 options instead of 2 (male, female, other, unknown, and transgender). The horror! Isn't it outrageous of them to try and be so inclusive and disregard the binary that so many people have worked so hard to create and uphold? (I really wish sarcasm worked better online).

The Sault Star reports that local Catholic trustee Kathleen Rosilius was "astonished" at the "agenda-driven, social-engineering" language of the form. Because asking people their gender is agenda-driven. I'm sure the writers of the survey intended to convert as many people as possible to... to what, exactly? Ambiguity? The only agenda that they may have been pushing was tolerance.

I really cannot understand why people are offended with this consent form. All it does is acknowledge that there may be more gender options than most other forms that I've filled out recently (including EVERY scholarship and bursary application that I have filled out this year). How does including a few extra categories hurt anyone? How do reading these words have any kind of negative impact on anybody's lives? But omitting them does have consequences as it denies that this very omission is part of a specific agenda.

I can't help but think that if seeing words like 'transgender' and 'unknown' on most, if not every, form that requires gender information became the norm, then people who live outside of the gender binary would be much more readily accepted than they are right now.