In a Heartbeat

Posted on YouTube in August, it’s now had over 30 million views, which isn’t bad for a student project.  The filmmakers, Beth David, 22, and Esteban Bravo, 24, made the short animation lasting about 4 minutes for their senior thesis while at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. It was a big project lasting 18 months, needing a Kickstarter campaign and a journey to Los Angeles, where they did a live recording of the score. They realised people were interested in the film’s concept when donations went past their $3,000 goal, eventually reaching $14,000 (£11,000). A large proportion of the amount was used to hire composer Arturo Cardelús. His soundtrack for the short film can now be found on Spotify. The animation has been a huge success and received a lot of praise.

in a heart beat

Dr. Sean Griffin says he believes it can be especially meaningful to teenagers who are figuring out their sexuality. “It turns a situation that is often fraught with extreme emotions – excitement, anxiety, fear, and potentially shame and embarrassment – into one that is ‘cartoony’ by literalising the runaway heart, thus making it a bit more amusing,” he says.

Not wanting to ruin the animation (make sure you watch it by clicking on the YouTube link above) the story is about Sherwin, a redhead who has a crush on Jonathan, “the most popular boy in school.” Sherwin is afraid to show his emotions, but his heart volunteers for the mission, literally jumping out of his chest and racing towards the boy who caught his eye. The heart wants what the heart wants.

 

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Is Love Island harming the moral fabric of Britain?

If you haven’t stumbled upon the ITV2 TV series Love Island then I will leave it to the Independent to explain:

It’s essentially Big Brother – with contestants being slowly voted out of a house (in this case, a Mallorcan villa) by the public and the last pair standing winning £50,000 – only the road to victory is paved with Machiavellian gossiping and condom wrappers. Ostensibly, the ITV2 show is about finding love, but going far in it seems to require successfully walking the tightrope of being honourable without being boring. I should also note it’s quite meta in the sense that the rules literally don’t matter and are changed at the producers’ whim.

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This year’s Love Island has proved hugely popular. The show has become must-see viewing amongst mainly female (67.4%) viewers and under 35s (63.6%). It’s already appeared on the wordpress this year for its discussion on feminism. Last week the a contestant from the show, Chris, was praised for openly showing his emotions and breaking the stereotype that men shouldn’t cry. Chris had been involved with fellow contestant Olivia Attwood whilst in the villa, and was left in tears when she decided to cool things off. In one scene Olivia told Chris not to cry again; which led many viewers to accuse her of being “cold-hearted” and “harsh”. In fact some people went so far as saying that if it had been the other way round she would have been seen as a victim of bullying.

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On this Wednesday’s show the couples all became immediate parents with the show’s producers providing each couple with baby dolls. After just a short while Chris said,  “I think this morning he has already brought out an emotional side in me. With Olivia, we have stopped the mishaps we’ve had together and we’ve got to focus on the baby now, because ultimately he is our main responsibility.” I tell you this programme can be an interesting way to learn about life skills!

Laura Hamzic who works for Brook, a sexual health charity for young people, would agree with me, saying that shows like Love Island can provide young people with an entry point for discussion by reconciling sex with relationships.

“I think we’re still quite quick to judge young people as being sexually irresponsible and promiscuous and that’s something we would challenge,” she says. “They are starved of places to discuss sex and relationships in controlled environments like school, because sex education is very poor. Love Island isn’t exactly the best place to learn about sex and relationships, but it’s better than porn.”

Love Island’s commissioning editor Amanda Stavri agrees, pointing out that the key to the show’s success is relationships rather than sex. “Our feeling is if you’re inviting 12 singletons to live together in the sun, things are gonna get heated under the covers,” she says. “But it’s not salacious, it’s not grubby, it’s not explicit. We’re more interested in the story of the couple who have chosen to take their relationship to the next level.”

If you’re not down with the kids and their lingo then BBC Three have even provided a useful dictionary according Love Island so you can better understand the conversations.

If all this has whetted your appetite for Love Island you can catch up on episodes via the ITV Hub.

Is the media biased?

Last week students learnt in an assembly about Fake News how important it is to use skills and knowledge learnt at school from subjects such as History, Geography, Science, English, Media Studies and Maths to question and understand the news. Today an excellent news article in the BBC explores how the British media have received flack for their reporting of the Finsbury Park terrorist and hate crime attack. A useful YouTube video lasting just 3 minutes gives you some much needed advice on how to spot Fake News.

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Watch TV to help your Crime and Punishment knowledge

My parents were strict on how much TV we could watch. This was pre-Internet days, so the biggest thing to pull us away from doing the homework, household chores, doing sport or practising the flute was TV.  Only being allowed to watch 30 minutes TV a day felt like torture so when I chose to do Media Studies GCSE the joy of being able to say “I’ve got to watch A, B and C for homework” was a welcome passport to TV heaven.

So what is out there in the realms of television that might help you relax from over zealous revision and increase your knowledge of crime and punishment at the same time?

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Up there as a number one priority for people trying to learn about crime and punishment has got to be Netflix’s Making a Murderer. Filmed over 10 years, the real-life thriller follows a DNA exoneree who, while exposing police corruption, becomes a suspect in a grisly new crime. It will have you gripped from start to finish.

The Independent lists an excellent collection of documentaries that those people suffering from the demise of Making a Murderer can turn to when wanted to continue following real life storylines about crime.

Focusing on the death penalty you might watch Redemption with Jamie Foxx playing Stanley Tookie Williams or Let Him Have It with a young Chris Eccleston playing Derek Bentley.

Or perhaps you’d prefer some fictional characters. Broadchurch has recently finished on Series 3 with its police investigations, causes of crime and court scenes. Whereas Line of Duty can offer police corruption with some intermittent court cases too.

Sexism in the Media

What causes people to be prejudice? You might answer with propaganda; family and peers; ignorance; scapegoats; nationalism; fear of outsiders; education; socialisation; and the media.

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This is something to keep in mind when looking at the Daily Mail’s headline today about the meeting of Theresa May (British Prime Minister) and Nicola Sturgeon (the Scottish First Minister) where they discussed Brexit and the Scottish desire to have another independence referendum:

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Plenty of newspapers have reported outcry at the sexist Daily Mail headline which focused on two female leaders legs rather than the serious political debate. Under the headline, “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” and alongside a photo of the two leaders sitting down for talks at a Glasgow hotel, the paper wrote: “It wasn’t quite stilettos at dawn…”

Ms Morgan, a former secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities, tweeted in reaction: “Seriously? Our two most senior female politicians are judged for their legs not what they said #appallingsexism”.

She told BBC Radio 5 live the Mail’s coverage was: “Deliberately provocative, and deliberately demeaning. How the prime minister deals with it is entirely a matter for her,” she said, but added: “You’ve got two very senior female politicians who are discussing weighty issues and this is what a national newspaper thinks is appropriate.”

The BBC reports how the Daily Mail responded to its critics by saying “get a life”. What do you think? Is this sexism in the media and could it influence the public on how we look at females in positions of leadership and power?

Ultra-orthodox Jewish Newspapers Won’t Publish Photos of Women

It’s hard to believe that in 2016 when gender equality has been celebrated and supported in the West since the 1970s that some religious groups still have a problem with female imagery. Ultra-orthodox Jewish newspapers which won’t publics photographs of women are currently struggling to cover the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and one does wonder how they’re going to cope if she make it to US President in November!

In Britain the last four decades have witnessed an enormous religious renaissance of orthodox Judaism with several organisations like Lubavitch, Aish, The Jewish Learning Exchange (JLE) and Project SEED spearheading the change. Aish runs packed weekly lectures in its centres in North London and annually takes up to 500 young people for three week study programmes to Israel, Australia or New York. They recently had the success of their programmes endorsed by MORI which reported, ‘Of those participants who have married or have become engaged since participating in the program, 97% have chosen a Jewish partner. Of those who remain single, 92% are committed to marrying someone Jewish who shares a commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people.’

Being an orthodox Jew is difficult if you are gay, as homosexuality is not seen as acceptable. A BBC article about being a gay Orthodox Jew describes the difficulty a woman faced living in a society which wouldn’t accept her.

Plot to kills hundreds in US foiled – did you know about it?

The Independent newspaper is saying it’s quite suspicious that few news websites and broadcasters have reported the story about a white extremist group in the US, called the Crusaders, which planned to blow up trucks near to an apartment block where 120 Somali residents live in Kansas. The plan was to kill and injury people in their apartments and take out a Mosque too.  Prosecutors also said the men talked about attacking some of the area churches that have helped settle refugees and helped them get jobs.

Hillary Clinton commented on the arrests and the men’s plot as being “highly disturbing”. Perhaps just as disturbing is the lack of coverage for this story.