Be still my heart! Stirrings in Salem!
This episode notes signs of a pulse in Rep. Mary Nolan's office. It follows on my gentle prodding of her and two other lawmakers to introduce legislation that would advance Media Literacy in Oregon.
So far my admittedly amateurish lobbying has consisted of a trickle of e-mails (with relevant and short attachments) from me that have gone largely unanswered.
I am somewhere between being perplexed and exasperated by the experience.
But I am learning.
More than that, the silence from Salem is steeling my resolve.
First, a taste of Media Literacy, which is well established in schools in several other states—but unrecognized here.
Media Literacy is, among other things, an effort to get children (and adults) to be critically aware of media’s impact on their lives, their communities, their country and their planet.
Here's an example for children: When a cartoon program repeatedly tells kids that eating sugar-frosted, glucose-injected cardboard is great fun, kids (and their parents) should think about what this junk will do to their bodies and brains. Consequences like obesity and hyperactivity, for starters.
Example for "adults": When Super Bowl advertisers suggest to mass male audiences that drinking Coors somehow goes hand-in-hand with bikini-clad twins, guys should note that all Coors really offers is cold cans and bottles.
You’d think this would be obvious, but visual media don’t want you to think.
Media Literacy does.
So, as I say, I have been trying to get my elected representatives, Rep. Nolan and Sen. Ginny Burdick to put Media Literacy on this session's legislative agenda. I have included Rep. Larry Galizio of Tigard because I know him and have reason to believe might be interested. We both teach media awareness at Portland Community College.
At least Galizio responded to one e-mail, though he basically passed the buck and has not been heard from since.
So far Burdick might as well be dead.
Last Wednesday I received evidence of life in Nolan’s office when this e-mail arrived.
Please forgive the late response to your earlier e-mail. Representative Nolan was in between staff for much of December and I'm afraid that your e-mail fell through the cracks when I took over. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
I have printed out both of your e-mails and will pass them on to Representative Nolan and she will get back to you later this week.
“Later this week” was last week.
Two readers of the Red Electric have suggested that I phone these solons. This week I will, but please note, dear readers, that if legislators are going to invite e-mails (and they do), they should be prepared to respond to them.
In the meantime, if you bump into Nolan or Burdick, you might tell them to “call home.”
The number is (503) 245-7821.