When I lived in Izmir, a Turkish TV spot shocked me: it showed an image of an elderly Black man, evidently homeless, sleeping in a stairwell directly beneath a sign that pointed up the stairs and read “White House” followed by the caption “Yorum Yok” or “No Comment.” This was about the same time that a major Turkish newspaper criticized the Erdoğan government over the death by hypothermia of an elderly homeless man up in Istanbul, sparking outrage among my Turkish coworkers. These two media pieces, taken together, led me to wonder about the links between the media and public policy.
When I was a kid, PBS School House Rock spots taught me things like the Preamble to the US Constitution, and how bills become law. These and other PBS shows like Sesame Street demonstrated the concept of cooperation and taught a generation of kids ideas of fairness, social justice, and may have helped pave the way for later laws passed once we became adults on issues ranging from birth control and same-sex marriage to the Affordable Care Act.
In like manner, shows like El Ministerio del Tiempo, in Spain, provide social commentary and critique, while framing various often opposing views on social justice, cooperation, and the policy elements that can encourage those values. Similarly, the Turkish family show Sihirli Annem also showed a generation of kids in Turkey respect for women, social justice and cooperation. That generation is now part of the push-back against radicalism in Turkey today.
All of these shows are examples of how the Arts and Media can influence Public Policy, and vice-versa. Time Banks, when encouraged by local government and community-based organizations, can help in facilitating access to the arts through Open Access Cable, local arts organizations, and extending Time Bank credit to local artists through mural projects and other local culture projects, for the benefit of both local and extended communities.
October 18th, 12017 HE