Facing our times with head + heart

This is aimed at those who follow my work… and I’m always surprised how many people do, given that I’m not at one specific outlet these days. I’m continuing my work at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center and will have a paper coming out this summer or early fall on diversity in the media, and I’m becoming an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow. I’m doing a little bit of tv and radio and the occasional article. It’s a bit of a private period for me as I toil away rather than publish-publish-publish, and also wait to see about a possible adoption placement. (Trust me, there will be a book in all of that once I sort it out.)

I’m working on issues/projects from understanding the alt-right to media diversity to the transformative power of science fiction. But there’s one thing I keep circling back to….

I’m looking to marry head and heart in my work. I’ve done a lot of very analytical journalism and research. I’ve also had a full life of emotional adventures, including ones which are very internal and others spurred by the world around me — the birth, illness, and death of friends and family; joining tight-knit communities like the Burning Man camp I’ve been a part of for years; traveling around the world.

As I look at politics today, I’m digging into cybersecurity and issues like the rise of blockchain currencies; the persistence of issues like voter suppression (and how poorly they’re often covered by the press); and the uses of propaganda techniques in political messaging. All of those require topic-based expertise. In other words: the head.

At the same time, I feel. No, that is not a sentence fragment. I feel a deep sense of appreciation that in these turbulent times I walk with people of of integrity and purpose. I feel anger and frustration that we are re-litigating issues of racial and gender equality we thought we had settled. I feel tremendously lucky to get to witness history, from political conventions to Standing Rock to everyday conversations on the street. I feel saddened not only by the rise of hate crimes and overt hostility in America, but by the sense I get that some people I know are profoundly uncomfortable and even resentful that I will not pretend this isn’t happening.

It is. It’s all happening. It’s all happening right now and we need both head and heart to understand this world of ours.

Not sure where this will lead me but it’s where my head — and heart — are right now. I wish you the best in your journeys.