Johanna Blakley

Media | Entertainment | Fashion

Archive for September, 2011

Science & Ideology on the Screen

Soon after presidential candidate Michele Bachman pronounced the new cervical cancer vaccine “dangerous,” public health officials began shaking their collective heads.

One expert from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which supports the use of the vaccine, told the New York Times, “These things always set you back about three years.”

Pronouncements on screens large and small by recognizable people — whether they are actors, musicians, politicians or the growing ranks of reality TV celebrities — can have an impact on public opinion completely out of proportion with their expertise.

Whether its history or science, that’s one reason people get very nervous about feature films — fictional films — that try to grapple with real-life issues and events. There has been a flurry of news coverage about the accuracy of the hit film Contagion, which provides a gripping illustration of what could happen if a global pandemic occurred. Read the rest of this entry »


Pacific Standard Time Unleashes Its Video Outreach Campaign

I can’t wait for Pacific Standard Time, the massive art-fest extravaganza, to begin to take over 60 art venues in Southern California beginning October 1. I love the fact that they’ve harnessed the youth-skewing rock star appeal of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ frontman Anthony Kiedis to jump-start their marketing effort. In this charming little video, Kiedis drives Pop Art superstar Ed Ruscha around LA, the city they mutually adore. Their discussion about making art out of words as they drive through the texty corridors of  Los Angeles is a perfect introduction to the sprawling art scenes of SoCal.

Primetime TV’s Take on the War on Drugs & Terror

Would it surprise you if I told you that Primetime TV is not depicting the racial and religious stereotypes that we generally associate with the War on Terror and the War on Drugs?

It sure surprised me.

My new report, The Primetime War on Drugs & Terror, co-authored with Sheena Nahm, offers a unique glimpse into how these wars are depicted in popular culture at a key historical moment: not only are we nearing the tenth anniversary of 9/11, this year also marks the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s declaration of the War on Drugs.

[Have a look at Joe Sabia’s amazing video about our findings on the War on Terror.  Just go watch!] Read the rest of this entry »