Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Month: March 2008 (page 2 of 4)

If it’s reality, then why’s it on TV?

I am one of those people who enjoys not having a TV. In fact, I would happily give up my TV right now. Don’t touch my internet, don’t touch my books or trashy magazines, but my TV? I won’t miss it.

I’ve only felt differently once in my life; shortly after arriving in Morocco, it occurred to me that, without something besides my ten or so English-language books to amuse me at night, I was going to be awfully bored. I couldn’t easily meander around the streets at night as I’m wont to do here, and Meknes doesn’t exactly have a booming cultural scene.

And so I caved and, four months in, got myself a TV, numerique, and satellite dish.

And oh, it was heaven, at first. I could check out CNN before work to see what the world was up to, the BBC and Al-Jazeera were at my fingertips, and CBS’ nightly news broadcast was shown live. I could catch up on Scrubs and old episodes of Friends, and enjoy around-the-clock movies in my native language.

After two years though, the constant barrage of Dr. Phil’s nonsense began to drive me crazy. Even Rachael Ray’s screaming-sausage-like persona began to irk me. I had to kick the habit (and so began our quest for great DVDs, a story for another day).

So in September when we arrived in the U.S. and hooked up our TV, I was delighted to learn that the previous tenants hadn’t turned off their (very) basic cable. This way, I wouldn’t have to spring for any TV, but Hamza wouldn’t be denied his basic right to watch sitcoms (and of course, I too could enjoy the occasional episode of Family Guy or Two and a Half Men.

But of course, good things only last for so long and last month, when we decided we finally needed to pay for internet (read: our neighbor’s wireless suddenly went on lockdown), we found that getting cable along with it was most cost-effective.

And so, my friends, this is how I found myself watching staring with a horrified look on my face at VH1’s Rock of Love.

Have some integrity!

Last summer, I wrote a post comparing a fantastic article on Morocco with a rather terrible one. Almost immediately, the author of the terrible one contacted me, defending their (yes, I’m using the wrong pronoun on purpose) article, then consequently threatening to sue me for defamation.

After much consideration, I decided it just wasn’t worth it – after all, my post was fairly petty (the article was that bad), and no one was reading it at this point anyway. I suppose there just comes the time where you’ve got to put aside your convictions for the good of your “career.”

And what I mean is, let’s go out on a limb and say this “journalist” had succeeded in suing me – what then? We all know I’m not wealthy, and I’d much rather spend the money I do have on my impending root canal and new Macbook than paying off some whiny wannabe-journalist.

On the other hand, I think the act of suing someone is unbelievably absurd, and my defiance and desire not to delete the post stems directly from that. If you are a journalist, and you write a bad article, shouldn’t it be open to criticism, even petty, snarky, Jillian York-style criticism? Aren’t you tarnishing your own reputation by writing such an article, without proper research, in the first place? And by commenting on that blog post and identifying yourself, aren’t you just causing more trouble for yourself?

What am I rambling on about? Have some integrity. Both journalistic integrity and enough personal integrity not to cry over what some twentysomething, hack blogger has to say about you. Life is too short to whine, my friend. Way too short.

Fouad Mourtada is Free!

Since I have already blogged about this elsewhere, I’ll keep it short and sweet. Fouad Mourtada was freed today on a royal pardon after serving 25 days of a three year sentence. His crime: impersonating Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco on social networking site Facebook.

Now Fouad is free, but what’s next? Will he be blacklisted from his profession, engineering? Will he face ridicule? Will his family be affected? What Fouad did was silly, stupid even, but not a crime. He may be free, but will his life ever be the same?

And while Fouad is free, there are plenty others who are not. Fouad Alfarhan, Tariq Biassi, and AbdelKarim Nabil Soliman are all bloggers behind bars. Visit Global Voices Advocacy for ways to get involved in the fight for free speech.

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