Newton, CT: Every Child’s Death Diminishes Me

To the parents and family members and friends of the children and teachers killed in Newtown: I am sorry.

Like most of us, I imagine, I’ve been reading what people are saying about the event and trying to understand.

Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel: I am sorry.

We are all, as a nation, participating to a degree in the grief and rage of that horrific event. We are raging at the loss of precious life, at the violation of the innocence of our children, at the invasion of the safety of our schools. We’re blaming each other; we’re getting defensive. We are very, very angry.

Olivia, Josephine, Ana: I am sorry.

And we are all to blame. We are all participants in creating a country where crazy people are free to carry guns and children are not free to learn and grow in safety. We are to blame for a culture of violence and fear wherein the technologies that some regard as means of protection have become a daily threat to the most defenseless members of our society.

Dylan, Dawn, Madeleine: I am sorry.

I have been trying to understand the question of when is the time to “politicize” this event. If politicize means to allow the special interests that stand to gain or lose to have a say in how we choose to live, then the answer to that must be never. But one thing seems clear: as long as there is no reason, no coherence, no sanity in the supply of weapons, we won’t find reason, or coherence, or sanity in their use. And people will shoot other people.

Catherine, Chase, Jesse: I am sorry.

So let’s try to keep entrenched political positions and the influence of special interests out of this. Because whether you own a gun or not, whether you make a great deal of money through the flow of arms through our system or not, we all must want to keep our children safe. Let’s start from there: what will keep our children safe?

James, Grace, Anne Marie: I am sorry.

I’ve heard discussions of arming the teachers, of turning the schools into armed camps, of creating fortresses out of our schools into which our children can disappear in the morning and emerge at school’s end. Is this what we want for ourselves? Is this the world in which we want to raise our children? Is this the world we want to create and inhabit?

Emilie, Jack, Noah: I am sorry.

Forget, for a moment, the debate on the constitution and how it should be understood. Forget for a moment the rage that this feeds into that makes some Americans perhaps feel an even greater need to buy and stockpile weapons to protect them from the strangers, the people with other opinions, the people who threaten their rights.

Caroline, Jessica, Avielle: I am sorry.

Living in a democracy can be frightening, especially if we don’t trust one another, especially if we allow our perceptions to be manipulated by people who stand to make money from our fears. And yes, if we can become the change, if we can stop being fearful and angry, for sure we’ll stop shooting each other. But until then let’s just take a deep breath and step away from the weapons.

Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin: I am sorry.

The loss of these precious children is a loss to every one of us. Because as John Donne once told us, we are none of us an island. We are part of one another, we belong to one another. And every man’s death—every child’s death—diminishes us.

Allison, Nancy, and Adam: I am sorry.

Speaking for Specialty at Distripress 2012

Can specialty publishers survive the economics of publishing that deliver high returns and low remits? What is the impact of the widening gap between subscriptions and newsstand sales? And has print lost prestige among the people who need it most–the publishers? These are topics discussed at Distripress 2012 in Glasgow earlier this month. Everyone’s still searching for answers and new perspectives can be found looking across international boundaries.

EWIP Founding Board Member Thea Selby Responds to Todd Akin and Debra Saunders

Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks that abortion should be illegal even if the result of “legitimate rape” has created a firestorm of media response, including from San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders, who commented that the Republican “war on women” is “a crock.”

If this war is a crock, the Republican party needs to better distance itself from its spokespeople who call for an end to contraception, even in the context of marriage; who call women who speak up about the medical need for contraception “sluts,” who now indicate that there are forms of rape which are legitimate.

Thea Selby, founding board member of EWIP, responded with an open letter to Debra Saunders:

Ms. Saunders,

I see no reason for you to add dumb on dumb with this column. I went to highschool in Texas, where Planned Parenthood provided birth control and help with STDs for many students. Planned Parenthood in Texas is now unfunded, and if you want an abortion, you must 1. find a place to have one–good luck 2. find the money to pay for it 3. Watch the fetus on the ultrasound monitor 4. Listen to the heartbeat of the fetus and 5. Wait 24 to 48 hours to make sure you haven’t changed your mind. This, from the state that brought us Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who successfully argued Roe v. Wade. Texas is just one case in thousands where women over the past few years have lost their rights to control what is absolutely the most powerful thing on the planet–the reason that men are so eager to control it themselves–procreation. May you and the many people in this country who seem to miss this vital fact, wake up and vote these people out of power. Sincerely, Thea Selby

Gaming: A Medium Important to Women in Media

Gaming–online gaming, console gaming, handheld or social media is a medium, one in which women participate in developing, marketing, and playing. It’s also a medium in which women are represented to a smaller degree than men–and in particular, in the games themselves.

Why should we care? We care because gaming is the present and the future of digital media. It is where people interested in digital media are gathered; through gaming some of the most powerful memes and tropes of our culture are shared; gaming is increasingly integrated into marketing, social media, education, events.

That is why the current climate in the gaming world needs to be a concern for women in and interested in media. A recent article in the New York Times detailed the sexual harassment that women may face at the point at which they get too visible in the gaming world.

This needs to change. Women in media are the ones to change it.