Growling stomachs require filling

Thoughts on Filip Bondy’s “How Vital Are Women? This Town Found Out as They Left to March”

I was immediately rubbed the wrong way by this article. Simply the central premise is upsetting: How vital are women? The answer should be inherent, yet for some reason, the value of one half of our society had to be questioned. To boot, the piece itself was entirely simplistic and focused mostly on how challenging it was for men to be (gasp) sole parents for the day, as though such sacrifice was titanic and these husbands had really stepped up to the plate.

I could tell things were only going to get worse just a few lines in: “Routines were radically altered, and many fathers tried to meet weekend demands alone for a change.” More inanity followed, “growling stomachs required filling on a regular basis,” “Usually, these chores and deliveries were shared by both parents, in a thoroughly modern way. On this day, many dads were left to juggle schedules on their own,” “‘Doing everything by myself all day long is not typical,’ Mr. Coyle said, not so much complaining as stating a simple logistical fact.”

I’m still working on formulating just exactly how I feel about this piece. But I am certain that it’s a thoroughly demeaning and pointless piece of reporting. If anything, it seems designed to point out how hard those poor dad’s had to work while their selfish wives were away marching for those silly rights (part of me kept expecting the article to eventually just say, ‘and by the way, there’s no such thing as gender inequality’).

I can see the value in taking a look at how a small community was impacted by such a huge event, especially one that disproportionately drew women to partake. But to build such an article around that opening question — How vital are women? — feels more like part of the problem, than an earnest attempt to capture zeitgeist of the moment.

Nothing about it ever felt news worthy. It basically boiled down to: Lots of women went to march. Fathers had to act like fathers even though it interrupted their weekend. It was hard. They were happy when the women got home. Yoga studio attendance returned to normal.

A demonstration at Sen. Blunt’s office

The second piece I wrote for the semester, about a demonstration outside of Roy Blunt’s Columbia office, was coverage of another event. This one during a GA shift. It was another interesting thing to get to watch unfold. Demonstrators packed in to the lobby of Blunt’s office and shared some moving stories about how Obamacare had impacted their lives and why they didn’t want to see it repealed. Most captivating to me, was how, after the event was over, people essentially lined up to talk to me. People wanted their voices to be heard. Which is understandable, but it also made me realize that I wasn’t really hearing the other side of this argument. Granted, the piece I wrote was simply covering their demonstration, and not attempting to understand the nuances of the ACA debate, I still felt that, in places, my article could be interpreted as being a bit like a platform for the demonstrators. And I don’t feel Sen. Blunt’s press secretary’s response helped — it felt incredibly stock. In the future I want to be more aware of how I can cover an event without simply acting as a megaphone for those particular opinions (though, at the same time, I understand that protests are an essential part of news, and should absolutely be covered). We’ve talked a lot about ethics in the class and a bit about bias, but one thing I’ve been thinking about is, despite any explicit bias, how do you report a story that doesn’t present a bias simply based on the subject matter/sources. Which, of course, I know there is no simple answer for.

Taut And Shocking ‘Killing Ground’ Is An Assured, Disturbing Debut Feature [Sundance Review]

There are few tropes as deeply ingrained as those of the horror genre. More often than not, even a luddite could spot a horror film in the first minute. But in a way, this overwrought frame that we have all become so familiar with has pushed many young filmmakers to buck against the cliches and create some truly surprising and downright chilling movies.; last year alone we got “The Wailing,” “The Witch,” “The Invitation,” and “Green Room,” most of which feature at least a semblance of those same well-trodden narrative devices and archetypal characters. Basically, there is hope that even with the most familiar set up, a film can still transcend into a worthy cinematic endeavor. Damien Power’s “Killing Ground” is not quite such a film, but it does manage to craft a pair of truly complex relationships and offer up some disturbingly heinous violence.

The rest…

Poor Man’s Breakfast

January 16, 2017 Almeta Crayton’s Community Programs hosted the 24th annual Poor Man’s Breakfast in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Covering the event was my first assignment for the Missourian. I’m not sure it could have gone better for me as a reporter. Everybody involved in the breakfast was incredibly kind and interested in chatting about what it took to put on the event, how they saw the holiday in light of recent political/cultural events, and their general views on poverty and community in Columbia.

Boarding School Doc ‘In Loco Parentis’ Is An Immersive Look At The Transformative Power Of Education [Sundance Review]

There is little quite as decisive as education. And state-side, there is certainly a weariness related to boarding schools and their outdated traditions, antiquated ideologies, and general eliteness that, at the moment, has reached a near-pariah state (at least outside of the North East). This makes it plausible that American audiences might sit down to the new Irish documentary “In Loco Parentis” expecting a validation of some preconceived notions. But, as it turns out, “In Loco Parentis” adds a vital perspective on a particular form of education, highlighting most notably that with the right educators and the right environment, it can — and should be — a joyous, mind-opening experience.

The rest…