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Hardball at Fordham

FMSNBC Hardball College Tour with NBC Nightly News correspondent Campbell Brown (left) and special guest Tom Brokaw, longtime anchor of NBC Nightly News, was broadcast live from the Leonard Theatre at Fordham Preparatory School on Monday, Dec. 4. See the Jan. 19 issue of Inside Fordham for complete coverage.

Media Watchdog Decries FCC’s Attitude Toward Minorities

The lack of minority representation in both television and radio stems from decades of misguided decisions from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), said David Honig, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, in a speech in Flom Auditorium on Oct. 5.

Media watchdog David Honig says the FCC has an historic resistance to granting licenses to minorities and is burdened by institutional cronyism.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert
Honig characterized the FCC as an agency that has favored racism and cronyism over competence when it came to issuing broadcast licenses. “In the close-knit club of communications policymaking, what would it take for a commissioner to confront someone who mentored him, who may have gotten him his job?” asked Honig.

“Broadcasting drives our culture,” said Honig. “Diversity in broadcasting is desirable not because it promotes competition… but rather because segregation [of any form] is uncivilized and morally wrong.”

Honig said that minorities have not had a hard time making their voices heard in print media, noting that in 1956 there were more than 250 African-American-owned newspapers, and nearly 100 Hispanic-owned weekly newspapers in the U.S. At the same time, however, there was just one radio station owned by people of color. “The FCC acted as a gatekeeper to prevent people of color from gaining a foothold,” he said.

He discussed ways that the FCC has hindered minority development in the broadcast media, among which were ignoring applications for licenses and using discriminatory laws to decide who could receive them. More recently, according to Honig, the agency has changed ownership rules, making it more difficult for minorities to acquire broadcast outlets.

Honig said that the lack of diversity in broadcasting has soured minorities on the media, citing recent studies that show while African American and Hispanic teenagers watch more television than their white counterparts, they tend to have less respect for the First Amendment and less tolerance for unpopular opinions.

Honig urged the FCC to change its ways. “Radio and television could be the ultimate tools of bridge building, participation in democracy and freedom of expression,” he said.

— John DeSio, FCRH ‘00

SuperNatural Evokes “Tangled Bank” of Natural World

SuperNatural, featuring the works of three prominent New York area painters, was displayed in the Center Gallery of the Lowenstein Center at the Lincoln Center campus from October 3 to October 31. An opening reception on October 24 included a roundtable discussion with the artists.

The show’s curator, David Storey, artist-in-residence in Fordham’s Department of Theatre and Visual Arts, said that the 15 paintings illustrate the dynamic relationship between the “joyous intellectual and the joyous sensory” in nature.

“SuperNatural is a [deliberately] provocative title,” Storey said. “The normal assumption is that supernatural would be about the occult, or the paranormal. But I use the word to signify how art has always taken us to a hyper-awareness of nature, how it makes us very aware of our relationship to the living—and dying—world and what is always around us.”

Two of the artists constructed images of nature, while the third approached nature from a meticulous, “intellectualized” vision, Storey said. Judith Linhares’ flower paintings are saturated with color, lightness and liveliness that represents an “external idea of realism,” while simultaneously evoking an inner, poetic realism, he said.

Greg Kwiatek constructed abstract, iconic images in earth tones inspired by his photographs of seaweed and debris on an isolated island off the coast of Maine; Storey said this work represents a darker, transformative aspect of nature. Englishman Trevor Winkfield painted meticulous, mechanical still-life collages of intense color that Storey called “an intellectual enterprise, a reconstruction of nature.”

“As a whole,” Storey said, “the show speaks to what Darwin referred to as the ‘tangled bank,’ the interconnectedness of the natural world.”

Storey began planning the show in 2005, looking for representations that would “transcend the anecdotal” in art. “I thought of these artists because each is in the full summer of their craft,” he said, “and each [has] that interior vision that is the heart of all serious work.”

The Center Gallery features approximately 12 shows per year, curated by both students and faculty in the Department of Theatre and Visual Arts.

— Janet Sassi

Photo by Chris Taggart

President’s Ball Packs McGinley Ballroom

Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, greets students at the fourth annual President’s Ball, held in the McGinley Center Ballroom on Oct. 13. More than 1,400 students attended the night of music and dancing on the Rose Hill campus.

Pole Lecture Examines Catholic Persecution in Marian England

Sixteenth-century England presents a historical paradox: the cultured seat of Shakespeare and Spenser was also the site of unparalleled religious persecution by the Catholic Church. The evolving nature of this persecution of Protestants during the reign of Queen Mary was the focus of the Reginald Cardinal Pole Lecture at Rose Hill on Nov. 1 by visiting scholar Thomas S. Freeman, Ph.D., research officer, British Academy John Foxe Project.

Freeman noted that the total number of religious executions in Marian England was comparable to that in other European countries, but rather more savage. “The intensity of Marian-era executions, by any standard, was remarkable,” said Freeman.

He also pointed out that such widespread persecution could not have taken place without complicity and cooperation from the highest to lowest levels of government, beginning with the Queen, and her Privy Council and commissions. Freeman said, however, that officials more commonly sought recantations than capital punishment. He also said that the bishops’ sentences of excommunication were de facto death sentences when the prisoners were transferred to the secular authority.

The methodology of killing took a couple of turns, including large spectacles where as many as 13 Protestants who had refused to recant were burned en masse, their screams “sounding like a pack of hounds,” according to a contemporary account.

Freeman said that horrific as the executions may have been, they were effective, and had Queen Mary not died at age 42, her attempt to restore the Catholic Church in England may very well have succeeded.

In a contemporary sermon, Cardinal Pole said, “we’re turning the corner, and we’re going to be successful.” The executions, however, ushered in a backlash of strong anti-Catholicism that exists, in some ways, to the present day.

The Pole lectures, sponsored by the Department of History and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, examine a controversial figure in Catholic history: the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. “Cardinal Pole was an extremely important politician,” said Susan Wabuda, Ph.D., professor of history at Fordham. “Many policies he pursued in England were taken up by the Council of Trent and applied more widely by the Catholic Church.”

— Brian Kluepfel

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