Posts by Tye:
- Fixation on the physical border fence in Nogales
- Insistence that Americans should feel a deep sense of shame for this situation
- Lack of interest in why Americans (or rather, Arizonans) are reacting as they are to immigration
I figured nobody wants me to just copy/paste our essay into the blog.
[You can email me if you really want to read the essay; or, to save time, here is a helpful timeline of the events]
Instead, I’ll re-introduce two issues we didn’t get chance to discuss at length in the seminar: Are there more appropriate ways to do satire on sensitive issues? And: How should a publication respond to a situation like our case study?
The drawings generated angry protests from Muslim citizens and organizations across the continent, including government petitions and a boycott of all Danish products that continues in some places today. As we discussed in class, France in particular became embroiled in the conflict as well, with Le Monde becoming as much a face of the controversy as original publisher Jyllands-Posten. The question became “Should we republish?” instead of “Should we publish?”
In the United States, the response was remarkably muted. European publications took much more public and stalwart stances in solidarity with the Danish paper. The New York Times did not republish the cartoons, for example.
Neither did satire superpower The Onion, which brings us to that first question from the beginning of the post: Are there more appropriate ways to do satire on sensitive issues?
The Onion did not republish the images behind either the original controversy and the 2011 Charlie Hebdo controversy we talked about in class. Instead, it did fake “man on the street” quotes about the controversies:
As you can see, it’s commentary about the commentary. It’s making fun of the fact that these drawings have become such a heated conflict to so many people. And it’s giving both sides the opportunity to realize the hypocrisy of the moment without calling anyone in particular out–and most important to our conversation, not stoking the fire by republishing the Muhammad drawings.
The Onion repeated this decision when Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine, that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad the first week of November 2011. The weekly announced it would release a special issue titled Sharia Hebdo, featuring several images of the Islamic prophet as well as articles explaining and interpreting them.
The entire edition was a satire of all previous instances of protest over the use of Mohammad’s image in satire; they even dubbed him editor for the week.
There are many differences between how this played out, versus Le Monde. Retaliation, in the 2011 case, was more direct, and violent: The publication’s building was petrol-bombed a day after the cartoons were published in early November.
All the newsroom equipment was destroyed in the attack, though no one was injured. Also interesting is how Charlie Hebdo responded: It reprinted the cartoon, along with several new ones, in a special edition supplement. Though the satire was directed at fundamentalist Islam, there were also articles written by the staff, stating: “this team defends the ‘freedom to poke fun’.”
This brings us to our final question: How should a publication respond to a situation like our case study?
Withholding our own judgements, we will show you how several publications handled things, and let you decide for yourselves.
Jyllands Posten, the Danish paper that originally called for and published the cartoons, issues a public apology months later. They were still sued by a group of Muslim organizations. The charges were thrown out by Danish court, but not before Jyllands Posten responded with a counter lawsuit against the lawyer representing the Muslim organizations. I think this is a question our group needs to address. Did the publication cross the line in protecting their free speech when it went on the aggressive? (Another reaction: The Western Standard, a Canadian newsmagazine that caught some flak for republishing the cartoons, asks readers for donations for legal fees.)
Food for thought, I hope.
I’m out. Thanks for helping to make my last semester memorable, everyone.
The Art of War is a battlefield manual written by Chinese general Sun Tzu (孙子, also spelled “Sun Zi”) around 300 B.C. It is difficult to summarize, because it is essentially a book of success tips not unlike what we now see populating the bestseller’s list.
Point is, I’m not trying to summarize the book as a whole, because it doesn’t lend itself to being summed up, and not all of it applies to present day. What we can do? Look at how each of us can interpret The Art of War in ways that complement our vision of servant-leadership.
Sun Tzu begins by establishing “five constant factors” that govern the art of war. But more generally, he is saying these factors should be taken into account in every decision that involves . Like the rest of The Art of War, the ideas are expressed in formal language informed by Taoist imagery. At first it seems confusing, but actually it can help us divorce the ideals of leadership in Art of War from the context of ancient war strategy.
For example, here are Sun Tzu’s “five constant factors” [original wording in bold] translated into modern day English as advice for leaders and managers of today:
1) “The Moral Law” = Determine goals, and just as important, why those are the goals, then determine what kind of workplace culture or “moral law” is necessary to achieve those goals
2) “Heaven” = Read outside factors and influences – which might hurt or help your chances of achieving these goals.
3) “Earth” = Develop a “real-world” game plan to navigate your vision through the circumstances it faces, good or bad.
4) “The Commander” = That’s you, whether you like it or not. Sun Tzu’s list of great leadership traits is timeless: Be sincere, be kind, be courageous, be wise – but lay down the law when you have to.
5) “Method and Discipline”= Surround yourself with a team you respect, and that respects you. Just as important, make sure the infrastructure is in place for everyone to communicate and get things done efficiently.
Many other people have adopted Sun Tzu’s battle manual in other ways: to business management and personal success, even things like computer programming, library administration, and liberal arts lesson-planning. That’s the beauty of an interpretative leadership text: It can have a different impact on different people, depending on the context.
But should we really be taking servant-leadership advice from one of the most calculating warriors in history? There are certainly fables about Sun Tzu that would suggest NO. To select one: It is said that when the King asked Sun Tzu for advice on how to turn his concubines into warriors, Sun Tzu simply executed the King’s two favorite ladies. They were too distracting to his duties. The rest, terrified, agreed to rigorous training in martial arts. Even the King didn’t ask questions.
So…yeah. Things like this might make us shy away from using Art of War as a way to develop our own personal leadership skills and mentality. But don’t be scared! Remember: Read it like a metaphor, or better yet, like a book of general philosophy. Don’t worry about the sections where Sun Tzu tells you how to best equip chariots to ravage the Chinese countryside. Those sections don’t apply to you (I hope…) After all, many thought-leaders of the 21st Century, including Pat Benatar, have used “the battlefield” as a metaphor for other aspects of modern life. And if she can do it, so can we!
So, to finish off this post, let’s look at how a few original lines from Art of War can inform our service leadership in 2011 and beyond.
Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. (Chapter I, line 24)
Meaning: Don’t look for solution in the same places everyone else is. Lead your team to untapped niches in the market, or to unsolved problems in society.
What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage. (Chapter IV, lines 11-12)
This is more of a personal success tip. Don’t enter a challenge with the mindset, “Will I succeed or not?” Instead, think “How will I succeed?” Doing things well is your job, your duty to others. So when you succeed, don’t brag about it!! You’re just doing your job, your duty as a leader to those who follow you.
Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous. (Chapter VII, line 5)
Before you “lead your team” anywhere, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page. This is basically a lesson in communication + organization. Sun Tzu also believed in mutual trust between officer and soldier as the one of the most important of a strong army. Same with an organization. First priority is always team-building. After your team is strong, united, and communicative: Then act.
Another trait of the ideal servant-leader we have discussed in the seminar is that he or she should be an inspiration to everyone else in the organization. Sun Tzu concurs:
“The principle on which to manage an army is to set up one standard of courage which all must reach” (Chapter XI, line 32).
These are by no means the only things to be learned from Art of War, but by now you should want to read the classic. Yourself. Even Paris Hilton’s doing it!
This post is not in any way related to Journalism, “social media”, leadership or management. That being said, let Tye take you on a tour of American Culture:
After we got the seating order figured out, the joint Humphrey-Murrow session yesterday was really enlightening for me. It had never occurred to me how the immigration crisis in Arizona would be perceived by intelligent, international observers.
A few things about the Murrow Fellows’ reactions were surprising to me:
All of this adds up to treating “immigration” as a topic or an event in Arizona, rather than as an active problem with tangible causes and solutions. Though I wasn’t expecting this reaction, I completely understand it. Our guests were right to point out the hypocrisy of having a border fence in The Land of the Free. Our guests were right to say we should care more how the border fence looks as a symbol internationally. Our guests were justified in focusing on the visible, symbolic aspects of the immigration crisis, because that’s all they really got a chance to see.
As journalists in Arizona, however, I think myself and the other attaches need to consider more real-world aspects of the situation. What factors make border immigration dangerous, besides the desert? What social services and networks are now available to immigrants, legal and non-, and are these fair? How are language and cultural barriers affecting perceptions?
And the best question of the day, asked by Shaima:
Have we made immigration about Joe Arpaio, or Joe Arpaio about immigration?
But in conclusion, I’d like to stress how fascinating and amazing it was to hear the opinions of the Murrow Fellows and Humphrey Fellows (and Goran). Only good things can happen when great journalistic minds from across the world talk together openly for two hours, and receive Saguaro-shaped cookies at the end.
I’ll use my post-presentation blog post to respond to a few comments and questions from today’s seminar, and also provide some more visual explanation of my choice in leader profile.
Elena asked me what was my favorite interview(s) by Riz Khan, and to answer that I’ll be posting videos throughout this post as examples. My personal favorite is, in fact, the most popular video on Al-Jazeera’s Riz Khan Youtube channel – an interview with celebrity philosopher Slavoj Zizek. Not the prettiest man in the world, and has some controversial (though often brilliant) theories. Nevertheless, Khan devotes an entire show to him. Notice the graphic package his put together, and also the way they use audience questions and Facebook comments toward the end.
[Aside: I haven't been able to embed videos into posts on this blog ... is anyone else having this problem?]
Next, Antonio said he preferred “Cosmopolitan Journalist” to “Diplomat Journalist” because it expresses freedom of ideas and multicultural understanding, without any of the politics or deception that are bundled up in diplomacy. The more I think about Antonio’s comment, the more I agree.
Dr. Bill was good to point out the problems with my “East-of-Center”, “West-of-Center” designation of Khan and Zakaria. I meant it as a sort of pun on Left-of-Center and Right-of-Center in American politics, but the ideas don’t translate well, and I came of as sounding all “Clash of Civilizations.” I apologize deeply for that. My intention was to point out that while Khan is discussing issues in a way that’s fair and does not leave anyone out, he also features more Arab and Muslim voices than a CNN enthusiast might be used to seeing.
A good example comes from his final show, “The Last Laugh,” where a few prominent comedians talk about bias, stereotypes, the Arab Spring, and more. Notice the casualness with which the guests are able to talk about things like Islamophobia, “freedom fondlings” for Arabs at U.S. airports, and pro-Palestinian beliefs. “East-of-Center” was just a poor way of expressing this observation.
Check out more Riz Khan interviews here, and Happy Halloween!
As promised last Monday, a little experiment in Storify, where I track Occupy Phoenix through its official coverage, citizen journalism, and social media:
[Please forgive the short, lazy blog post; all my energy tonight went into the Storify itself.]
An interesting thing to look at with the protest movements gaining steam worldwide is how they’re evolving and combining. Occupy Wall St. and the Spanish Indignant Movement (where students have been protesting since May) are melding in cities across America and Europe. While not all protests this weekend were peaceful, they mostly have been, and the emotional pitch is, if anything, rising over time.
[Read more about Spanish Indignant Movement here, and here. Also, a very interesting students' rights/education movement going down in Chile.]
The message still seems oversimplified to me, but we obviously need to pay attention to something that’s already lasted over 100 days in NYC. The protests made it into our backyard in a big way this weekend, with thousands protesting in downtown Phoenix and Tucson, and around 130 arrests/citations between the two cities.
I still don’t think they’ve made the leap from protest movement to social change movement, but the possibility is real. For that to happen, momentum must extend into other areas of society, such as education, art, music – even media. A connection must be made between the “1%” who control politics and banking to the “1%” on top of making high-budget movies with little cultural contribution, and the “1%” who influence the price of university tuition and student loans. #OccupyHollywood , anyone?
There are signs this could happen, or are already happening. Nesima has already mentioned the Website for Occupy College, and protesters are starting to document their movement in more artistic and powerful ways than uploaded videos of police lines. Take, for example, this short film that depicts the evolution of the Spanish Indignant Movement:
The cathartic appeal of Occupy and The Indignants is through the roof. Whether or not these movements lead to radical social change, people around the world at least need these things to be said.
Most important to us as journalists is that these protesters are documenting themselves with photos, Websites, events pages and social media organization. It’s hard to view such a polarizing phenomenon with an objective lens, I’ll attempt to do that with my next blog post, a Storify about the #OccupyPhoenix campaign.
Like most countries, probably, America has many random holidays. One of them is tomorrow: Columbus Day.
It’s “celebrated” on the 2nd Monday of October every year, meaning the date changes annually. (For example, I was actually born on Columbus Day, but most years my birthday is on a different day.)
Columbus Day became an official National holiday in 1937, though people in many states celebrated it well earlier. It commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in “the New World” on October 14, 1492.
The proper mode of celebration is to do some good works, community service, and/or reflect on our nation’s proud history. But really the only noticeable sign of Columbus Day are that government buildings are closed, and sometimes school kids get the day off school.
In fact, Columbus Day is a little controversial, because not everybody feels that Chris C.’s arrival in “the New World” was such a momentous or positive thing. Several other groups, including the Vikings, Irish, and even the Chinese, are said to have well proceeded the Spanish-serving Italian in landing on the American continent. Also there were, of course, indigenous people already living and thriving here, so in a larger sense Columbus didn’t “discover” anything. (We can say, at least, that Columbus had an interesting life.)
I have a weird interest in Columbus Day for two reasons: 1) Its close connection to my own birthday, 2) I love the idea of holidays, especially random, barely-relevant ones, and 3) I’m not a huge Columbus fan, so it bothers me that we Americans still celebrate his life in some official way.
2) and 3) produce great inner conflict. How can I celebrate this lovably small holiday when I disagree with what we’re celebrating?
Several groups around the country have answers to this question, in the form of counter-holidays.
Native Americans in South Dakota, for example, protest the celebration of Columbus Day by throwing their own Native Americans’ Day. (It’s called Indigenous Peoples’ Day in California.) They feel Columbus was the first of many “explorers” who colonized their land and destroyed their way of life. Decent argument. So, these two states celebrate Native American culture tomorrow instead of Columbus, with traditional dances, ceremonies, and costumes. Way to go, South Dakota and Cali!
If you visit ASU’s Tempe campus tomorrow, you are sure to see student protests near the Memorial Union as well. [Video here: watch?v=c2XzMqnNeFc] They are a standard sight on Columbus Day here. But there is some backlash to these protests among the youth as well, which basically goes like this: “Everybody knows Columbus doesn’t actually deserve a holiday. Your protest didn’t teach me anything new, or change anything. Now, please get out of my way, I’m late for class.”
Regardless of how you feel about this controversial piece of history, I wish all the Humphrey Fellows a happy Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day/Tye’s 23rd Birthday. See you in class tomorrow!
One of the most interesting results of the Digital Information Age, to me, is how stories can play themselves out with all the major players having their own public online voice. The following example is ongoing & controversial, and I’m not asking anyone to take a side (nor will I).
Long story short: The Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism is getting old. Eventually he’ll die, and his next “reincarnation” will have to be searched out and groomed to lead the followers of his (her?) faith. The problem? The Dalai Lama and the Chinese government have different ideas of how to do that.
This problem has been getting talked about for some time now, but has really come to a head in the past month. Both the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Dalai Lama selected the Panchen Lama (the religion’s #2 leader) over a decade ago, causing an imbroglio that continues today. (See also, here). But now the battle is over who will select the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama himself. The CCP has stated that they are already beginning their search; the Dalai Lama responded in a long statement on his Web site two days ago. A spokesman from the Foreign Ministry has already countered.
It’s a complicated issue that I won’t try to elaborate or explain. Just check out the links for yourself if you have time. But one thing is certain: This issue is already causing further unrest in Tibet.
I find this so interesting because here we have a conflict that’s both religious and political – and because it’s a conflict that probably would have taken place away from the public eye before the Digital Information Age. The CCP and the Dalai Lama are having a flame war! And we can read it as it happens … ah, this modern world of ours.
It also raises an interesting question about our role as journalists. The best way for us to cover this story (that is, contribute to people’s understanding of the story) is through aggregation and analysis, rather than simply report on what’s been said. Anyone who wants to know what the Dalai Lama or CCP has said can find and read it on their own. Our job is to make that reading more comprehensive and informed. This article does a rather good job. Notice that it’s also a non-traditional news source (though The Economist does a good job as well).
What should be the next step for “reporting” on a story such as this?
I don’t intend to weigh in too heavily on the whole “leadership vs. management” debate with this post. Just wanted to share one alternate interpretation of what it means to be a “leader” of others. It involves the service aspect of Leadership we talked about in class a couple weeks back, but takes it to another level. It’s imagining Leader as Role Model, pushing him/herself on the front lines of an organization or cause rather then elevating him/herself to the top.
[leader, role model, or both?]