Wednesday, June 22, 2011

GCASA Prevention Educator wins international contest!

Lisa Barrett, one of our prevention educators, was notified yesterday that she came in first place in the international competition, "Best Original Song." Lisa wrote and performed the winning song, "When You Look at Me," in memory of her nephew, Austin, who lost his battle with cancer just shy of his second birthday.

The folks at GCASA prevention are all very proud of Lisa and her accomplishment. We have confidence that her music will touch the lives of many.

For media coverage, see:

Batavia singer/songwriter has high hopes for very personal song (The Batavian)

Batavian's song reaches final round of contest (The Daily News)

Batavia woman's song wins international contest (The Daily News)

2011 Best Original Song -- "When You Look at Me" by Lisa Barrett (Music News Nashville)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lazy, lazy men...

I just read a very interesting New York Times review of current television programming, and felt it was relevant to our concern with media literacy.

Alessandra Stanley, in her article "It's a Crime That Men Are So Lazy," observes that male characters in many of today's TV shows are lazy, incompetent, powerless, and/or just generally unhelpful to their female counterparts, who are forced to pick up the slack (she even mentions one male character who is a recovering addict).

Certainly, the presentation of ANY demographic in the media -- be it men or women, children or adults, black people or white people, etc. -- has consequences. The portrayal of women in the media has been a concern for quite some time, and rightly so. But I think we need to start paying more attention to the other side of the gender coin as well, and to what sort of image our young men are being given of themselves.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Two media projects tackle problem of violence/abuse from different angles

If you peruse the latest in entertainment, popular culture and media news, you may find some information about two very intriguing projects, both of which deal with contemporary instances of violent behavior.

The first is "Man Down," R&B recording artist Rihanna's latest video, which premiered on BET Tuesday. It has, as its main "character," a young woman who takes revenge on her sexual abuser by shooting him in the head.

The second is "Beautiful Boy," an independent film opening in theaters today. It was directed by Shawn Ku and stars Maria Bello and Michael Sheen (no relation to Charlie "Bi-Winning" Sheen) as the parents of a young man who took his own life after going on a shooting spree at college (much like the two kids at Columbine High School). As an exploration of the subject of school shootings, this film is unique in that it deals with the subsequent struggles of the perpetrator's parents.

In numerous ways, these two projects are considerably different. One is very popular, the other is more on the fringe of popular media; one is primarily a music medium, the other is a feature-length film; one has aroused the concerns of parents, the other is likely to elicit empathy from parents. But both are relevant to two very pressing issues in our culture: media influence and violence (both in the case of Rihanna's video, the latter in the case of "Beautiful Boy").

I'm interested to know what people think. Does Rihanna's video go too far in dealing with a controversial issue? As for Beautiful Boy, should we be doing more to address the experience of parents -- of both victims and perpetrators -- when dealing with bullying and violence in the schools?

My information comes from two online articles -- one from the Associated Press and one from Reuter's.

Click here for the article on "Man Down."

Click here for the article on "Beautiful Boy."

"Beautiful Boy" Trailer