You’re inching home alongside four lanes of fellow commuters when a digital billboard blinks to a video ad for the latest model of the car you’re driving. Oh yeah, you think, my lease is up next month.
Fifteen minutes later, you’re home. You grab your laptop and sink into your couch. You check Facebook and distractedly tune into a new Facebook Original Series. You’re only mildly interested, but down in the corner, a little red notification pulses: a new batch of tickets from Lin-Manuel’s latest musical has just become available! You drop everything and click wildly through the online checkout process. Got ’em—yesss.
Welcome to the age of Big Video: when TV ads come back like they never left.
The only thing that’s slightly ruining your mood right now is your hair. (It’s really hard to tame curly hair when it’s this humid.) But hey—as soon as you switch on your TV to stream your favorite network sitcom, an ad comes on for shampoo specially formulated for curly hair. The brand rings a bell—maybe a friend recommended it once?—so you decide to give it a try.
Welcome to the near-future of advertising. In this world, social networks don’t reign supreme anymore as the dominant mediators for online ads. Instead, they act like old-school television networks. In the meantime, the makers of old-school entertainment—companies like Disney and Fox—are acting a lot more like the Silicon Valley companies that seemed poised to replace them. And, oh yeah, billboards matter. It’s a world where smarter versions of traditional advertising make a comeback in no small part because the precision-guided online ads that were supposed to torpedo old media once and for all turn out not to be the cure-all to marketers’ problems. Welcome to the age of Big Video: when Hollywood can make the same data-centric pitch to advertisers as Google and Facebook. When brands matter again. When TV ads come back like they never left.
A Broken System
Online ads are broken.
Sites that peddle fake news spread rapidly on social media, and thanks to the automated nature of online ad networks, they can cash in on their falsehoods. Often, ads for specific brands and products appear on these scam sites without the knowledge of the advertisers themselves.
At the same time, advertisers on the world’s biggest platforms keep learning their ads might not be reaching the people they thought. Facebook has acknowledged multiple times that it’s mistakenly inflated its ad metrics, from how much time users spent watching video clips to how many people visited publishers’ pages and how long they spent reading their articles. Google, meanwhile, failed to update its measurement model in time for an accreditation deadline. Both companies say they’re taking steps to fix these problems. But these snafus raise a deeper question: what if advertisers’ decision to pour money into these platforms is based on a wobbly premise? What if they don’t deserve all the ad dollars they’re getting?
Right now Google and Facebook account for than two-thirds of all digital ad spending in the US, according to industry research firm Pivotal Research. Close to one-fifth of the world’s population checks Facebook daily. Google has had a hold on over 80 percent of search revenues for a decade.
‘Brands are not defined by one person in isolation. They’re defined in the context of the world.’ Tom Denford, ID Comms
The magnitude of their combined influence is hard to overstate. Nearly 37 percent of US paid media investments are expected to have gone toward digital channels in 2016, industry research firm eMarketer predicted in November (the final results aren’t yet in). By 2020, analysts forecast that this share will surpass 46 percent, all at the expense of TV, print, radio, and outdoor advertising.
Yet some in the ad industry believe that less of a reliance on hyper-targeting—the foundational pitch of advertising on Facebook and Google—would be a positive development. “We’ve had years of obsessing about precision marketing, precision targeting, and the ultimate accountability of digital marketing,” says Tom Denford, chief strategy officer for the marketing consulting firm ID Comms. “But I think we’ve seen brands go too far down that.”
Denford argues that digital-obsessed advertisers, in the search for the perfectly targeted consumer, have lost sight of the importance of context to conveying an advertising message. He says that marketers can’t build brands through precision one-to-one targeting alone, purely between the brand and the consumer. “That misses the third side of the triangle, which is the rest of your peer group, the rest of society,” Denford says. “Brands are not defined by one person in isolation. They’re defined in the context of the world.”
Denford imagines a future where advertisers broaden their sense of how to advertise on Facebook—a platform that’s not just a social network but potentially the world’s most popular broadcaster, one that commands a uniquely captive audience. At the same time, traditionally dumb advertisers, such as billboards, become smart and networked—charging a premium to target ads at an audience they can make some well-informed guesses about, because of the environment the billboard is in. “This all goes to the radical, old-fashioned principle that actually, the environment of your advertising messaging is really important,” says Denford. “We’ve kind of forgotten about that.”
The problem with hyper-targeting
The problem with hyper-targeting for brands is that in seeking out the perfect potential customer, advertisers risk ignoring the wider pool of possible customers. If a high-end luxury brand targeted its $10,000 dresses and $200 perfume only to those who were absolutely in the market for such products, then no one else would hear about the brand, Norman says: “They could target themselves into invisibility.” Targeting does work better in many cases—when you market curly-hair products to the curly-haired or a new car to people at the end of their car leases. But ultimately, according to Norman, the crucial math comes down to what makes for the best ad mix—a math problem Big Video could make easy to solve.
When the makers of TV start to know who their viewers are as well as Google and Facebook know their users, a power that could made possible by the ongoing transition to ‘over the top’ television—that is, TV over the internet—you can start to target TV ads in ways that go both far and wide. At the moment, Norman says advertisers’ demand for such “addressable” TV ads far outstrips the supply.
On the one hand, that demand means traditional media companies are going to be pushing to make their own advertising products smarter. On the other hand, that means Facebook and Google have an incentive to become more like TV. Norman suspects most of the growth these digital giants are now experiencing is coming from the “long tail” of advertisers—the local pizzeria, not the 10 biggest brands. By now, big advertisers aren’t pouring lots of new money into digital; they’re tweaking their ad-buying mix in search of what works. They’ve decided how much they value Facebook and Google, and they could simply be changing which ad buying opportunities within these worlds to allocate more money to. This happened with PG, for one, which reportedly scaled back its Facebook targeting efforts where some of its brands got too narrow (though it did not cut back on Facebook spending on the whole).
As that mix reaches an equilibrium, the tech giants will have to do everything they can to gain an edge that will sustain their now-slowing growth. This means innovating and pushing into new kinds of content—probably something much more like television ads tied to original programming. Facebook and Google have already sucked money out of markets from newspapers to the yellow pages. Taking a chunk out of TV seems to be within their power. But TV has powers of its own. Either way, Big Video seems likely to prevail. Everything that’s old will be new again. It’s the new getting old that Facebook and Google need to watch out for.
A novembre scorso ICQ ha celebrato i suoi primi vent’anni di vita. Il servizio di messaggistica che esisteva prima di tutti gli altri, torna alla carica in una veste rinnovata che fa tesoro della sua storia e rilancia con altre funzioni.
In un post su Medium, Dimitry O. Photo (Dimitry Oleynichenko) spiega al pubblico quali siano le caratteristiche della nuova versione dell’app. Prima tra tutte, la registrazione tramite numero di telefono, che consentirà agli utenti iscritti di vedere subito quali tra i propri amici usa ICQ.
L’applicazione, su Android, iOS, macOS e Windows offre chiamate audio e chiamate video criptate. Cliccando una volta sull’icona cornetta partirà la chiamata, mentre girando la telecamera la comunicazione si trasformerà in una video chiamata. Da quel momento sarà possibile scegliere quale telecamera prediligere (frontale o no), attivare il vivavoce o silenziare il microfono.
Non potevano certo mancare la chat di gruppo, must (e croce) delle app di messaggistica più utilizzate al momento (WhastApp in testa), ma ICQ non tradisce neanche l’originaria vocazione di mettere in contatto persone che non si conoscono.
La barra di ricerca per trovare nuovi conoscenti è ancora a disposizione, ma resa più veloce e agevole. Si possono cercare persone per età, genere, provenienza, segno zodiacale. Si trova nella sezione “Esplora” (secondo tasto in basso, da destra), cliccando in alto a sinistra si aprirà la ricerca avanzata.
E sempre dal passato tornano anche le chat room (nostalgia canaglia), stanze tematiche a cui accedere semplicemente, senza dover conoscere i partecipanti.
Ognuno potrà crearne una, basta trovare titolo, foto, e assegnare il ruolo di moderatori. Si chiameranno Live Chats e offrono una serie di nuove caratteristiche: possono essere con richiesta d’accesso o pubbliche e in questo caso, appariranno anche nel catalogo (con scheda dedicata) proposto dall’applicazione. Nella sezione “Esplora” si trova da “Amicizie Nuove” a “Donne mature Latina” a “Chat musicale”, passando per “Foto divertenti”.
Le Live Chat potranno essere avviate in modalità di sola lettura (come i canali di Telegram, per capirsi), con la modalità di scrittura appannaggio dell’amministratore.
Al contempo, sembra che il team dell’applicazione non abbia voluto farsi mancare proprio niente di tutto ciò che la concorrenza mette già sul piatto: adesivi, maschere interattive per registrare clip o fare video chiamate con gli amici. Questa funzione è creata sfruttando le capacità di Luna, la piattaforma di riconoscimento facciale sviluppata dall’azienda russa VisionLabs.
Per la trasformazione di foto e video, ICQ mette a disposizione anche un sistema che, usando le reti neurali, consente di modificare le foto come fossero dipinti (alla Prisma). L’app fornisce 37 alternative per le foto e 23 per i video e per farlo ha integrato l’app Artisto. Per le fotografie, la funzione di editing di base è parimenti integrata, senza dover ricorrere necessariamente ai filtri artistici.
Per i messaggi vocali, l’app non fa solo in modo che vengano letti, quando multipli, uno appresso all’altro: una funzione di riconoscimento vocale che supporta 40 lingue dà la possibilità a chi non può sentirli di chiederne la trascrizione. Dulcis in fundo, ICQ ha le Storie che, tiene a precisare Dimitry Oleynichenko a Wired, ha inaugurato prima di Instagram.
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The nationwide outrage over Donald Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban,” which critics have decried as unconstitutional, is boiling over at the State Department. Dozens of diplomats are expected to sign a memo opposing Trump’s executive order, The Washington Post reported Monday, using a “Dissent Channel” that has been used within the department for decades to allow diplomats to register complaints. “A policy which closes our doors to over 200 million legitimate travelers in the hopes of preventing a small number of travelers who intend to harm Americans from using the visa system to enter the United States will not achieve its aim of making our country safer,” a draft of the memo reads. “Moreover, such a policy runs counter to core American values of nondiscrimination, fair play, and extending a warm welcome to foreign visitors and immigrants.”
The Trump administration, perhaps unsurprisingly, is not pleased: at his regular press briefing Monday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer basically told the dissenters to quit if they didn’t like the ban:
Spicer’s comments are pretty much in line with how the new administration has addressed any person or group that dares to have an opinion that doesn’t fall in line with its own. Trump chief strategist Stephen Bannon told The New York Times last week that the media is the “opposition party” and should “keep its mouth shut.” Kellyanne Conway went on a rant Sunday calling for journalists and pundits who “talked smack all day long” about Trump to be fired. Still, the notion of the White House press secretary telling career diplomats to just accept Trump’s haphazard order, which experts think will actually increase the chance of a terrorist attack, or quit, is more than a little chilling.
Asked about the hundreds of people, many of them permanent U.S. residents, who were detained by Customs officials at airports over the weekend, as well as the terrified refugees who were sent back to the countries they were fleeing, Spicer was similarly unburdened by remorse. “It’s a shame that people were inconvenienced, but it’s a couple of hours. I’m sorry that people had to wait a little while.”
Since his six-minute speech at last summer’s Democratic Convention, Khizr Khan has become a kind of celebrity, an honorable everyman who stood up for America’s Muslim community. The story he told of his son Humayun, a captain in the U.S. Army who gave his life to stop a suicide bomber approaching his troops in Iraq, in 2004, was emotional, and it made for gripping television. The Washington Post called the image of Khan waving his pocket-size Constitution in the air—and asking if Donald Trump had ever read it—one of the most memorable of the campaign. “I will lend you my copy,” Khan said, addressing Trump. “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.” His speech made the Constitution a best-seller on Amazon. Google searches on it soared tenfold.
Khan, a Harvard-educated lawyer, was born in Pakistan; his son Humuyun was born in the United Arab Emirates. Both became U.S. citizens in 1986. On Sunday, Khan stopped by my house in Washington, and, over honey-lavender tea, discussed President Trump’s new executive order banning the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely and all refugees for four months. The executive order suspends the entry of all citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—for ninety days. The order also calls for a general review of U.S. vetting procedures. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What was your reaction to President Trump’s Executive Order?
It’s un-American. It’s against the safety of my country. I say to President Trump and his security advisers, the drafters of these executive orders, to get out of the White House and go to Arlington Cemetery and stand in front of all the tombstones and learn from observation that Muslims, and people from all other faiths, have given their lives to protect the Constitution and values of pluralism and equal protection. I hope that their sense of patriotism is awakened and they realize that these executive orders banning Muslims and creating walls will not do.
Do you have regrets about your personal loss in light of this action?
Not at all. If I had ten sons I would sacrifice them and offer them for the betterment of this country. We are direct beneficiaries of those values. It’s a tribute to the goodness of my country and to its values of inclusion and welcoming immigrants and people from hopeless parts of the world.
Some ugliness has been directed towards us. But we are grown-up people and we know how to forward ugliness to law enforcement.
Is there backlash among Muslims in the United States?
It alienates Muslims who are patriotic citizens. The Bush and Obama Administrations learned that alienating a large Muslim population in the United States works against keeping the U.S. secure. It makes people think of harm. Politicians had been joining hands with local Muslim communities to make them part of the solution rather than alienating them. Dealing with homegrown terrorism is not a one-step deal; an executive order does not solve the problem. It’s building relationships with the communities.
When a community at large feels alienated, bad elements start to rise. It’s the tragedy that has happened in Europe. It had failed to include immigrants from various parts of the world. Bad elements among them gained strength and began to think of harming societies.
The lone wolves?
How are Muslims elsewhere in the world reacting?
Internationally, it has given platform to our enemies. They are now telling the world’s more than 1.6 billion Muslims, “Haven’t we been telling you that America is at war with Islam?”
It puts the lives of our men and women serving in these countries in danger. Almost five thousand died in Iraq, where my son died. The coterie of people who surround Trump is so bent on their racist and Islamophobic agenda that they do not see the harm and danger that these executive orders are causing.
One of the first cases affected by the new executive order was an interpreter who worked with the U.S. military. Did your son work with local interpreters?
Yes. We have received not only letters but pictures of people who worked with him.
Ask any member of our defense forces serving in those countries—their lives depend on the loyalty of these people. I am worried about our sons and daughters serving in the countries across the world—these interpreters provide lifesaving advice.
President Trump’s national-security adviser, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, has called Islam a “vicious cancer.” He said, “Fear of Muslims is rational.”
Mike Flynn’s rhetoric is unbecoming of a senior member of the armed forces in my country. His ignorance and hatred of a religion of many millions in the United States, and more than a billion in the world, speaks volumes of his ignorance and narrow-mindedness. It is Flynn and Stephen Bannon who have misguided Trump and brought us into the darkest period in U.S. history.
You spoke at the Democratic Convention but you’re not a lifelong Democrat. You voted for Ronald Reagan.
I did. I’ll vote for the right candidate. I carried with pride the card I received when I contributed to the Reagan campaign. It had Lee Atwater’s signature on it. I have it still today. I also have a card with Reagan’s signature. I voted for Clinton, Obama, and Hillary based on what is good for my country.
What have you been doing since the Democratic Convention?
My speaking engagements include law schools, academic institutions, bar associations, Muslim organizations, middle schools, and high schools. The Oxford Union. And so many more keep coming.
What’s your message?
We are at a crossroads in our history. I urge every patriotic American to remain faithful and hopeful, and remain standing. Never before was your duty to serve your country more important, so we can dispel this momentary racism and dehumanization of mankind through these executive orders and bigoted threats.
When nations build walls they suffocate, and I will not let that happen until my last breath—as my son did.
What do you tell other Muslims now?
I tell Muslims to fully participate in the democratic process. It could be on public service boards, local county boards. Don’t be pushed into the corner. Run for office if you can. Participate in campaigns. Contribute to campaigns. I say this not only to Muslims. It is critical to Muslims, but I say it to all American patriots.
Participation doesn’t guarantee you success. Look at Abraham Lincoln. He continued to lose. [Over the course of his career, Lincoln was defeated when he ran for the Illinois state legislature, for the Speakership of the Illinois House, and for the nomination to run for Congress. He was also defeated twice in runs for the Senate, and lost a bid to be a Vice-Presidential candidate.] But he became President. Don’t be without a voice. Speak about the issues that affect your society.
While President Donald Trump has made it very clear he intends to turn America’s back on refugees, Starbucks wants to do just the opposite and keep its doors wide open.
In a statement Sunday, the popular coffee chain’s chairman and CEO Howard Schultz published an open letter condemning Trump’s executive order calling for an immigration and refugee ban — before explaining in great detail how they plan to combat it.
“I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise,” he wrote. “Let me begin with the news that is immediately in front of us: we have all been witness to the confusion, surprise and opposition to the Executive Order that President Trump issued on Friday, effectively banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, including refugees fleeing wars.”
Schultz went on to say that the company had been in contact with all employees and partners that this ban might affect, and that Starbucks has been going out of its way to do everything it can to fight back in this “unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question.” The CEO then outlined four important actions they intend to take to show their stance on the matter.
First up, Schultz said that Starbucks would continue to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by reimbursing “Dreamers” of the biennial fee required to be a part of the program and offering DACA-related services at their hiring fairs.
Second, Schultz said that they would be “doubling down” on their efforts to “welcome and seek opportunities for those fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination.” In order to do so, he claimed Starbucks is currently developing plans to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years, starting with “individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.”
Third, Schultz made it clear he is against Trump’s executive order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by stating Starbucks’ intentions to continue doing business with the country and supporting them as much as they are able. Along with donating over $2 million to support the communities where they source coffee, Schultz also adds “we stand ready to help and support our Mexican customers, partners and their families as they navigate what impact proposed trade sanctions, immigration restrictions and taxes might have on their business and their trust of Americans.”
Last but not least, Schultz addressed Trump’s threats to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) by reassuring all benefits-eligible employees they will always have access to health insurance, adding that the company is ready to work with anyone who is concerned about losing their coverage.
“In the face of recent events around the world, let me assure you that we will stay true to our values and do everything we can possibly do to support and invest in every partner’s well-being while taking the actions that are squarely within our ability to control,” he wrote. “We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time – whether that neighborhood is in a Red State or a Blue State; a Christian country or a Muslim country; a divided nation or a united nation.”
“That will not change,” he concluded. “You have my word on that.”
On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, after more than two months of disbelief and despair since the US election result was announced, a friend confided to me that they almost felt a sense of relief — not that it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be (it was), but that they could now get to the real work of opposing his divisive politics.
Similarly galvanised by Trump’s pussy-grabbing, wall-building rhetoric, feminists came together to create one of the largest protests in human history, led by the Women’s March on Washington, with marches in solidarity across the US and around the world. Of course, the elation felt by protesters from Iraq to Antarctica must translate into real action in order to combat the terrifyingly apparent march of fascism (no, ‘alt-right’ isn’t a thing). Not just in the US, but in Europe too, following Brexit, and with far right leaders looking to make gains in the upcoming French, German, Italian and Dutch elections.
The success of the feminist, anti-fascist movement will depend on each and every one of the people who came out to march picking up the torch of activism, and committing to effect change on a local, national and international level. This can seem like an impossibly huge task, but radical action is not only possible, it is the only course that has ever claimed and protected our rights. Your voice matters — make it count!
Here is i-D’s ten-point guide on how to get started…
Stand against Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims TONIGHT! As Donald Trump’s racist policy banning muslims (including people with dual nationality, like GB’s goldenboy athlete Mo Farah) from entering America is signed into law and begins to be farcically enacted, emergency protests have been called in London and across the UK tonight — Monday 30 January. Journalist Owen Jones has organised an emergency protest at 6pm tonight at the Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street, to protest both Trump’s Muslim ban, and Theresa May’s failure to condemn it during her US visit. Speakers will include Bianca Jagger, Lily Allen, Shami Chakrabarti, Caroline Lucas, Mhairi Black, Sayeeda Warsi, Ed Miliband and representatives from Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, refugee and migrant organisations. 18,000 people have clicked ‘attending’ on Facebook – join us.
Follow Women’s March London’s 10 Actions campaign 100,000 people attended the Women’s March in London, and organisers have burst into immediate action to mobilise that support, launching a campaign of 10 Actions. The first asked marchers to write to Theresa May ahead of her US visit, noting that they expect her to “categorically reaffirm the UK’s commitment to human rights; to send a loud and clear message to Donald Trump that the UK will not waver in holding up those ideals”. While May failed to condemn Trumps divisive politics, and threw in some vomit-inducing hand-holding to boot, it is important that — along with the emergency march tonight — the PM and the government know the British people will not stay silent in the face of this politics of hate.
Get together with your friends At the end of the Women’s March London’s first action, described above, there is also the suggestion that budding activists, “consider meeting some friends, family, neighbours, or fellow marchers for drinks or dinner to talk about your experience and views, and draft your notes [to Theresa May] together”. As many of the image galleries and interviews from the march showed, there were a lot of people marching that had never been to a demonstration before, and had come along with their friends, or with their mum or other family members. If you aren’t used to protesting, arranging to go along with people you know can help to make sure you actually go to the march, or turn up to the meeting. It’s easy to lose momentum online, so making plans with people close to you makes it easier to stick to them. And more hands make light work of that genius banner design you thought up.
Support causes and campaigns that are close to you The troubles of the world are so many and varied that it can be paralysing and demoralising. Where to start? Think local. You alone cannot solve the crisis in Syria, but local groups did keep Lewisham hospital open, they did win the fight for the E15 women to remain in their homes, and Fabric eventually did get its licence back. Local action works, and so does activism targeted on a specific issue, like getting the NHS to fund the AIDS prevention drug PrEP.
Join a local activist group Just like joining forces with your friends and family can help to get you started, joining a local activist group can be hugely inspiring and motivating. You’re bound to meet activists with more experience who can show you the ropes, and help you to discover the ways that you can use your particular skill sets for the cause. From local food banks and specific campaigns like helping to keep the Feminist Library open, and groups focused on closing down Yarl’s Wood detention centre, to organisations like Black Lives Matter, London Black Revs, Migrant Rights, Sisters Uncut, and many more. Most groups have open meetings — go and take a look.
“I’ll see you nice white ladies at the next #blacklivesmatter march, right?” — Sign held up during Women’s March (seen on #Tumblr) pic.twitter.com/SHhB8hqbl8
— Mckenzie Lacroix (@MckenzieLacroix) January 22, 2017
White people, don’t just support white feminism / activism Perhaps the most iconic sign from the Women’s March read: “I’ll see you nice white ladies at the next #BlackLivesMatter march, right?”. It’s important to understand how feminism and racism intersect, and to make sure your feminism includes all women, not just white women, and your activism is for the benefit of all people, not just white people. For example, after the Women’s March, many people commented on how peaceful it had been; black Twitter asked us to think about why that might be, whether actually the presence of a lot of white women affected how the police treated protesters, and to understand how that privilege could be used to make marches led by oppressed groups safer for the people most likely to be affected by police brutality. Understand that an attack on any woman, or oppressed group, is an attack on us all. Acknowledge and use your privilege for good.
Draw strength from the women leading the movement From Black Lives Matter to Women’s rights and Muslim liberty, at the moment we have a new battle on our hands every week, and that can be tiring, both emotionally and physically. Draw strength and inspiration from women who have been doing this for decades, from civil rights legend Angela Davis to iconic feminist activist Gloria Steinem, in their 70s and 80s respectively, who both gave rousing speeches at the Women’s March on Washington. Note Steinem’s radical solution to Trump’s Islamophobic policy intentions — “If you force Muslims to register, we will all register as Muslims” — and watch every second of Angela Davis’ radical, rousing speech, below.
Talk to the men in your life, and bigoted relatives For many of us who attended the Women’s March arm in arm with our sisters, some of our male friends were conspicuously absent. While many proud feminist men did attend the march, it is important that more men recognise that gendered violence and oppression is their issue too, and join us in the streets. The same goes for bigoted relatives, as Suzy Corrigan wrote at a time of the Charleston church massacre: “For too long, we have assuaged our consciences by living diverse lives and speaking out in public while biting our tongues in private, where we do not challenge the bullshit, petty bigotry of racial microaggressions” — asking us to bring our activism home, too.
Donate to organisations on the front line In the wake of the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the US, donations flooded in from people who felt passionately about keeping those services open and available to all; after the huge Black Lives Matter protests led to arrests, people (including reportedly Beyonce and Jay Z) gave money to fund their legal bills. Similarly, since Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban came into effect, people are donating to ACLU, who have launched a lawsuit against the White House, (donations are being matched by Sia), and to CAIR, the largest US Muslim civil liberties organisation (donations have already been matched by Grimes). If you can, put your money where your mouth is.
Don’t lose hope It’s important not to let the bastards grind you down. Speaking to friends, family and other activists about the situation can help, and being present at a march is food for the activist spirit – the feeling that comes from being physically together with thousands of other people who care about the same issue you do is bolstering. And just because an issue is serious, doesn’t mean your actions must be sombre – the witty banners at each march are testament to that. As Rebecca Solnit writes in Hope in the Dark, “Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. When you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated, and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection”.
When Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday afternoon suspending the entry of all refugees to the US for 120 days and ordering a 90 day ban on anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, he sent a clear message of racial and religious distrust. Almost immediately, the ban threw the lives of thousands of innocent people into turmoil and angered Muslim communities around the world.
Asghar Farhadi is an Iranian director whose film The Salesman is nominated for Best Foreign Language movie. Despite the fact that exceptions may be made for him to enter the United States, the director has released a statement announcing that he will not be attending the award ceremony. Asghar clarified that while he was protesting the ban, he did not want to boycott the event as “many in the American film industry… are also opposed to the fanaticism and extremism that are today taking place.”
In a statement to accompany his announcement, the director wrote:
“To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity. I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body behind the Oscars, has also released a statement denouncing the ban, saying:
“The Academy celebrates achievement in the art of filmmaking, which seeks to transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world, regardless of national, ethnic, or religious differences. As supporters of filmmakers — and the human rights of all people — around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran A Separation, along with the cast and crew of this year’s Oscar-nominated film The Salesman, could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin.”
Asghar is not the only one to sit the ceremony out. Iranian actress and star of The Salesman, Taraneh Alidoosti, has also announced that she will not attend the awards in protest of Trump’s ban. We suspect there may be more who will choose to do the same as the awards approach.
This is the short-hair equivalent of a lazy-girl topknot. It takes minimal effort, works well with second-day hair, and looks undeniably cool. To get it, wet your hair, smooth a styling cream or pomade through it, create a part (or not), and comb the hair down and away from your face, smoothing as you go.