Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Telling the easy story

In the last post, I pointed to Oyster's complaint that the political press is inaccurately reporting Bobby Jindal's record with regard to the Americans for Tax Reform no new taxes pledge.  Jindal hasn't always adhered to the (totally non-binding, anyway) pledge. But it's easier to write the story as though he has because it sets up an easy-to-digest narrative for the reader.  Through repetition, the simple but incomplete version of the story becomes convention. 

Similarly, there's this Strawberry Festival poster.Varg wonders why this particular story gets traction while others are left alone. 

Receiving far less publicity even though I think it addresses a more pressing and immediate social and racial concern is the artwork that was displayed in Oakwood Mall this week. This student’s artwork and the (much smaller) controversy surrounding it seems far less abstract and debatable than the Ponchatoula piece. Fear of police is a daily issue for us all. That there are police who do their best to serve and protect but are thought of as murderers is an issue. The huge rift of trust between this student and the police that have vowed to protect him perhaps represents the top social ill of our time. This student made a piece of political art and spoke his voice. This is important and it is critical to our freedom of expression.

But the story has seemed to have sputtered out while the festival poster has gone worldwide. Why? There are protests in Ferguson right now about police killings. Doesn’t this student’s art reflect how concerned he or she is about their future? Somewhere in the local area a student watched protests in Ferguson and was inspired to do something with his or her emotions on the matter and the story of it being pulled from an exhibit was just a blip on the media radar. Why was the Festival poster so sexy and this very relevant one not?

I guess because it’s an easier story to report: Small town white folks are ignorant and racist. Gets reported all the time in all sorts of ways.

Yet somehow RT EXPO in New York, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, FI-ART in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Northshore Regional Endowment for the Arts and the African-American Heritage Museum in Aurora, Illinois are not ignorant and racist despite doing the same shit.
Again we're skipping the more relevant stories in favor of the easy ones. 

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