Friday, November 19, 2010

I love Smores

A new, more modern, ‘21th century model’ for communication comes in response to the repeated failures of a model that the authors of this article wish to outline and make obsolete. The previous method merely involved firing a stream of information towards the target (this was discussed my September blog: the Effect of Communication on People). It is assumed that if a message is sent then that message will be received by the intended recipient unless there is some sort of interference. It does not take into account the telephone effect or ‘getting lost in translation’. This phrase does not have to mean a literal translation of languages, but a translation of ideas and perspectives. What the sender knows and understands to be true, fact, and the norm may not be the understanding for whom they are intending to communicate.

In several of my elementary school English classes, I was taught to write directions on how to do something: a simple task, like how to make s’mores. The rough draft was simple: Put the marshmallow over the fire until its black or dark brown on the outside, put on top of chocolate, and place both in between graham crackers. Sounds right? Not good enough. In communication, we must remember that those who were are communicating with might not have the same background of understanding marshmallow/chocolate/graham crackers. To work with these minute obstacles, we have to learn to be more specific and sensitive to others perspectives in order to explain something best. Indeed, the issue might be a simple as: what is marshmallow? The commonly sold version in stores is not Kosher or Halal, that blocks out a sizable portion of the prospective participatory population in Muslims and Jews who keep Kosher and Halal. In order to accommodate these people, you must explain what marshmallows are, and where to find gelatin-less, Kosher/Halal versions to use. Additionally, they would need to know that graham crackers come in a box, and that needs to be opened, and that within the box is a bag, and that needs to be opened. Depending on the brand, size might be an issue; this same level of detailed explanation needs to be repeated for the chocolate, and the marshmallows. What do we heat the marshmallows with? What if I’m allergic to chocolate?

The authors attributed failures the so-called War on Terror to a failed communication model. The model that they proposed however does not have to be its own entity; it can be incorporated into the old model. (As we well know, people trained in liberal arts fields are adverse to big changes, so it’s probably best to try an incorporation method rather than something brand-new, unless they only did it for being recognized for doing something new and special). The four principles of the model are
• Deemphasize control and embrace complexity
• replace repetition with variation
• consider disruptive moves
• expect and plan for failure

The first three are very similar; they embrace complexity and seek to look at the issue from a broader lens rather than straight on. The last point is always good to keep on hand. Lower your expectations.

So what did we learn here? Communicate with people as if they are not you. And lower your expectations, because if someone does not want to make s’mores, you’ve wasted your time.

You Think You know, But You Have no Idea: Model UN

 Joseph Nye's soft power can be seen beyond a wide-scale cultural negotiating table, down into a New York hotel meeting room during a National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference. Soft power implies that if a country's culture is well-liked and appreciated by others, that this likability translates to political power.  A nation's trustworthiness and friendship are its most critical tools in international politics, economics, and relations.  My experience in the NMUN conference is a microcosm of this principle in action.  
Students from around the world came to duke it out and take home a little bit of glory.  Certain teams were trained how to win, or, more importantly, how not to lose.  At their command, these officious diplomats had every esoteric rule ready to deploy: roll calls with 200 people, fact checks and date checks – all with the flip of their placards.   To prepare, I went to Macy’s. I told the saleswoman I needed a color that said, “I’m right, co-sign my resolution.”   Ladybug Red became, Sign My Resolution Red.  Other delegates relied less on subtlety; they would rush up to weaker representatives, attack them with questions, accusations and commands, then move on.
“Do you support bilateral efforts to mitigate….?”
“uh, well … Chad believes that its better stick with our regional – “
“- No. That doesn’t work.  You need a … with a … Brazil is making a resolution that would …. You support it? Good. Sign Here.”
Several kids called the conference quits because they couldn’t share any of their opinions and no one listened to them. 
  I looked around the room: crestfallen soldiers sat scattered with index cards full arguments no one would ever hear.  I pulled them together and asked if they would share their ideas with me.  We decided on a scribe, then went around and shared our opinions and perspectives.  In our down time I made sure to share restaurant and shopping tips in the city and swap travel stories. We sat in a circle with the rest of the committee buzzing around behind us.  I figured that if people were going to vote on any resolution I supported, they needed to like me.  Not in a Michael Scott,  I need people to like me, kind of way, but rather in a way that opened them up to share their thoughts with me.  To support my ideas, they needed to trust me. My resolutions developed in depth and practicality with each contribution.  They knew that I cared about their interests and that I considered their opinions in our work.  Credibility and communication are key to soft power.  Sign My Resolution Red became I am Listening Red.
the colloquialism, you win more flies with honey than vinegar summarizes Nye’s concept of soft power.  My strategy worked in the end with all three of our resolutions passing. I received the committee award for diplomacy, which is selected by a peer majority vote. The intimidation tactics of the hard power delegates failed to the soft power of talking and trust. 

The Silver Bullet

If you've ever taken antibiotics of some sort, you're probably aware that instead of downing 30 pills in 30 days you there's a "Silver Bullet" pill out there; something like 6 powerful pills to get you a super dose and you're back to normal in a week. We talked about Corman's point of needing a consistent message that takes time to communicate. There isn't a magic bullet out there and we're so focused on getting everyone to hear our message that we don't think our silver bullet might be, or was once, flawed. I think of how this relates to what we're doing in Afghanistan. After this long, is our message an effective one? Do we specifically tailor our 'antidote' or do we approach people as though they should be capable of understanding our completely different way of communicating?

I liked the example from the lecture about pragmatic complexity and doing what your communication partner doesn't expect. I think we have evolved into a 'quick results' oriented society that doesn't understand how, in all likelihood, we'll fall short of our short term goals and sees being realistic as unacceptable. We've created a number of problems for ourselves and for others in the world and I think we, civilians and government officials alike, tend to think we'll luck out with some kind of silver bullet that takes care of all the past transgressions (we heard the example of Obama's Cairo speech and the lack of follow up). We approach others as though they are no different from us, that the same techniques, the same remedies will work with them as they would for us, but only a fraction of the world is similar to us in the respect. For the rest, we have to battle a stereotype that we're flaky and don't take the time to let a relationship develop. I'm not very optimistic that this will change in my lifetime. We recently heard how there are more people in all the military marching bands than there are in all of the State Department, and given how slowly bureaucracy moves I don't think we'll change our way of relating, communicating and living with people who approach diplomacy or trade differently. The disconnect between people perceiving a quick fix or solution and the slow real-time solution is startling and it will take a form of 'relational or communication literacy', like media literacy only interpersonal, which I think should be taught to everyone along side of media literacy, but that would take a review of the nation's education system...and I don't feel like standing on my soap box for that long!

Soft power and American hegemony

In a recent Foreign Affairs article, “The Future of American Power: Dominance and Decline in Perspective,” Joseph Nye writes, “ [power] measured in resources rarely equals power measured in preferred outcome, and cycles of belief in decline reveal more about psychology than they do about real shifts in power resources.”

In this article, Nye addresses the domestic concern that U.S. hard power is declining and that it will soon be just another fallen empire. Nye suggests that America’s hard power will remain stable, and the U.S. will be one of the key players (if not the top one) in the international arena for decades to come. Raising international nations, especially China, seem to pose a threat to U.S. dominance. However, Nye suggests that China will not necessarily overcome the U.S. to be the one and only super power. For instance, China’s economic power may become the same as the U.S. as far as its GDP by 2030, but the U.S. will likely have a higher per capita income. China will still have an underdeveloped rural population and will have to deal with the impacts of its one-child policy, according to Nye. Also, Nye wrote, “China’s authoritarian political system has shown an impressive capability to harness the country’s power, but whether the government can maintain that capability over the longer term is a mystery both to outsiders and Chinese leaders.”

Nye says that the U.S. is not in an absolute decline, but rather a relative decline where other states use their powers, including soft power, more effectively.

In his article “Public Diplomacy and Soft Power,” Nye writes that soft power relies on three primary resources: “its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (when they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority).”

Effective soft power in the U.S. is partly due to immigration, Nye writes in the Foreign Affairs article. “When Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew concludes that China will not surpass the United States as the leading power of the twenty-first century, he cites the ability of the United States to attract the best and brightest from the rest of the world and meld them into a diverse culture of creativity.”

U.S. universities remain among the top-ranked in the world. Also, Nye writes, “Americans win more Nobel Prizes and publish more scientific powers in peer-reviewed journals – three times as many as the Chinese – that do the citizens of any other country. These accomplishments enhance both the country’s economic power and soft power.”

By these measures, U.S. soft power will enable it to maintain its position as a dominant super power in international affairs, and that worries as to U.S. decline should not cause the U.S. government to, “overreact out of fear.” As Nye argues, “the U.S. will need a smart strategy that combines hard- and soft-power resources – and that emphasizes alliances and networks that are responsive to the new context of a global information age.

Foreign Affairs article:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

U.S. public diplomacy should embrace Al Jazeera

To win the “war on terror,” it is imperative that the United States wins the hearts and minds of the people who are sympathetic to the cause of terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda.

Those people don’t get their news information from Western media. They watch Arab satellite channels including Al Arabiya, Al Hayat, and especially Al Jazeera. During the invasion of Iraq, the Arab media framed the news much differently than Western media outlets with polarizing worldviews being portrayed.

In her chapter “War and Peace in the Information Age,” Elizabeth Hanson writes, “The ambiguity of the [reasons for going to war] left it open for a framing contest, in which American imperialism, Arab humiliation, and variations on these themes had more cultural resonance in Arab countries than themes of liberation and international security.”

In a study by Powers and el-Nawawy, they found that people tend to watch news channels that reaffirm what they already believe. The global media system doesn’t provide a global public sphere with this clashing of narratives.

The U.S. should adapt its diplomacy to meet viewers where they are. Hanson said, “In the broadest sense diplomacy is the communication process through which the official representatives of states try to advance their national interests and reconcile conflicting interests by words rather than force.”

In order to influence people’s perceptions of the U.S., government officials need to at least be in the news frame. In the Frontline documentary we watched in class, there were two military spokespeople who regularly appeared on Al Jazeera English to get the U.S. perspective out to the audiences. Another step forward was the state department official who spoke fluent Arabic and went on Al Jazeera.

A recent article on the Yemen Post’s website described an interview that Al Jazeera did with John Brennan, the assistant to the U.S. President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Brennan talked about how the U.S. provides funding, equipment, and training for Yemen’s national counterterrorism forces. He also made the following statement:

“The U.S. doest not plan to open new warfronts because many Americans have been killed while trying to protect others such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. But our country is committed to assisting others to live in peace and security and protect them from terrorist slaughters. Yemen was a victim of the cancer of Al-Qaeda, hence, we are doing all we can to ensure that we help this country deal with security and economic problems. We can't allow Al-Qaeda to spread in Yemen because it is undermining the country's economy and basic systems, which receive our support. The Yemeni people are good and I am confident they don't want Al-Qaeda to live in their country, however, they want to bring up their children well and help them go to school.”

Brennan’s appearance on Al Jazeera signals to Arab audiences that the U.S. sees Yemen as a partner in its fight against terrorism. It’s not a narrative they hear very often. This is a step in the right direction for U.S. diplomacy and they should step up their efforts at utilizing Al Jazeera.

Yemen Post article:

Hanson, Elizabeth C. (2008) “War and Peace in the Information Age.” The Information Revolution and World Politics. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield). Pages 97-138.

Internationally Underwhelmed

If you don't like Shakespeare, then I apologize for the random reference I'm about to use to make my point. If there was something rotten in the state of Denmark these days, we probably wouldn't know about it. Our interest in, and the news media's capacity to deliver international news is diminishing quickly. It's possible to argue that Americans have never been interested in the rest of the world. I'd argue this is incorrect, as up until 1945 we anxiously watched everyone else and wanted to be like them, hoping to one day be supreme. It's possible we have news fatigue, that there is just too much going on to really care. I think people had more interest in the rest of the world when we weren't inundated by three 24 hour news channels that reported some stories ad nauseum and others reduced to one line with the annoying ticker at the bottom of the screen (one example would be a year or so past, when helicopters circled above a river that might crest and devour houses--because we all really want to see peoples homes getting destroyed, right?--and the scroll at the bottom spoke of Zimbabwe's diseased and starving population.)

I've digressed. I think some reasons for the decline in international reporting are that it's expensive, people have access to websites focused solely on the region of interest, and the demographics are changing. In regards to monetary value, it can cost up to $300,000 to open and operate a foreign service bureau. The more free access a person has to the news, the less likely they are going to pay for content, which cuts into operations of the news source. If I want to know what's going on in Europe, I can find shows or papers (European Journal on PBS or Eurozine) that focus just on Europe, and it'll be from a European point of view, not an American one. The same in respects to Al Jezeera if I wanted a different voice from the Middle East or Asia Times online. NBC, CBS, ABC, or CNN even, would broadcast international stories that their producers think are relevant to the majority of the audience, and I might not agree or like their spin. This leads me to the demographics. Most people who still watch news, aside from those of us who were weaned are particular news anchors, are middle aged and middle class. Their world view is going to be rather different from mine, and I'm more likely to have a level of tech savvy they don't, and am not as likely to pay for my news (online or in print form, although personally, I love newspapers) and search for it online, either from actual news sites, or from podcasts like PRI's The World. I don't think any of this is wrong, per say, but it does become a problem if the population isn't media literate.

This issue comes at a bad time, since it's crucial that we are aware of and pay attention to what's going on elsewhere, especially if our government or trade deals have something to do with it. We have to actively, and vocally, want better international news. It's not likely that the AP or Reuters will suddenly vanish, and CNN seems to have hired more journalists. But does that really matter if people are stuck navel gazing and watching Fox or MSNBC?
Here's an interesting, hand-wringing article I found from a British perspective:

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Media is Causing all of the World's Problems

“. . . the cosmopolitan outlook means that, in a world of global crises and dangers
produced by civilization, the old differentiations between internal and external, national
and international, us and them, lose their validity and a new cosmopolitan realism
becomes essential to survival. (Beck 2006, p. 14)”

The Cottle article focuses on global crises represented in the international media and the implications of an increasingly global media system. In Cottle’s view, global crises and the media are intertwined, even going so far as to say that “global crises are highly dependent on global news media.”

But if global crises are dependent on media, and, in Beck’s view global crises are transforming and redistributing the way we look at the world and our national and regional boundaries, does that mean that (understanding that if A-->B and B-->C then A must-->C) media is the cause of the transformation of international, internal and external differentiations?

Trying to fully understand the implications of Beck’s quote, I feel like the argument is, essentially, a cosmopolitan outlook will make older outlooks outdated and therefore cosmopolitanism is the only viable option. Really, is the issue reflective of global crises or a theory addressing the crises? In general a new outlook is just that, it changes the perspective in which we receive and interpret information. Indeed, a world that is increasingly changing and within a global system that is becoming more aware of itself we can no longer look at the system in the same way we always have.

Making an Appearence on Someone Else's Blog

The example of CNN and the Iraq war begs the question: is there any way to really trust ones media sources.  Their failure to honestly report on the War left many people feeling like I had been lied to.  Because so many people trust CNN to provide a critical opinion, CNN’s support of the war made it seem necessary.  If mass media is, as Hafez suggests, so unreliable in reporting unbiased accurate information than is there any way to get the truth?  What other sources are available, if the sources we trust to be honest are not?  I try not to rely on online information too often, because I can’t trust the sources.  But If I cannot trust the mass media either, what can a person do?  Although, I am currently writing a blog, I don’t trust many of them for my news.  Here is a story about my experience making into someone else’s blog, and learning how, twisted they are. 

While interning on Capital Hill, angry constituents asked me ridiculous questions and demanded answers.  Many people would laugh to themselves when I couldn’t answer their questions like, “If the government can tax me for methane gas, how can you guarantee me the Senator won’t tax me for farting? That’s methane gas too!  How can you promise me?? Tell me?”  or “If the hate crimes amendment goes through,  did you know that my pastor could get arrested for preaching anti-gay beliefs.  Does the Senator think its right for people to get arrested for free speech?”  I wasn’t allowed to contest their responses, only promote them to correspondence or plead intern ignorance.  So many people would end their conversations, laughing and saying, “Oh boy, my blog followers will love to read about this conversation.  ‘The Senator supports pastors getting arrested for preaching the bible.’ You’ve been so helpful...Not.” My intern obligation to not wrestle with constituents made it hard to listen to them. “Listen, Mam, the government has much better things to do than worry about your personal flatulence. Might I consider stock in Beano or some hobbies.”  I always wondered if their readers really considered the entire Government system staffed with stammering idiots.  They could have been lying (probably were), but they did seem to have a large readership.  And with quotes from the Senators office, they had new credibility.  The experience made be understand how uncredible online media can be and how people select sources that confirmed their arguments, no matter how unsound, tautological or outlandish they were. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And the Award goes to...

In the next few months, as the rest of us brush off the post holiday glow, Hollywood will amp up the self-congratulation with its annual Award Season. Everyone knows how crucial and stuffy the Academy Award ceremony is, which is the pinnacle of the season, but it's the first award show, the Golden Globes, that everyone seems to want to go to and get. It's not just because of the free booze, although that promises viewers at home a chance at seeing inebriated actors at their not-so-finest, but rather the reach of their careers when given a stamp of approval by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The awards are chosen by 90 foreign journalists from 55 countries with a readership of 250 million. However you translate it, Hollywood culture will do anything for more money and more places to sell its product.

I've read that the Golden Globe ceremony gives people an idea of what to expect for an Academy Award, however, what's great about this award is that it often recognizes smaller films or shows or lesser known (and often foreign) actors will be rewarded for their work, over something big budget and...American. It's important to note though that while it's a foreign association, most of its members are from western countries ( and are hardly well known journalists. The idea behind it, was for foreign journalists to gain access to more movie stars as Hollywood increased its overseas clout back in the 1940s. At this point though, many aren't journalists and they all have to live in Southern California. (a scathing review:

So the connection to our class and reading is that something like the HFPA helps make Hollywood money overseas, and serves as a funnel to export our movies or promote movies that aren't ours. Hanson wrote about it on pages 207/208, pointing out UNESCO's concern over American movies and the balance of exporting entertainment. Yet even if the HFPA was keen on promoting foreign movies in the US, and undoing some of America's dominance, it seems incapable of not being start struck and easy to court. Most foreign films lack the "secondary" budget to wine and dine the important people who can help their film gain international stature. The organization that many of us thought did a lot to promote foreign films and interest within Hollywood rarely votes against potential American favorites. It's possible that as more Americans are exposed to foreign films, directing the flow of money elsewhere, that Hollywood would take notice, but it's not very likely.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Check with Your Link Analysis Software Before Planning a Party

this is a cheesy picture of people holding hands around the world

I’m starting to feel a trend forming with what I like to write about when it comes to blogs. If I only write about people and the way people feel about each other; and technology, and the way people feel about technology, I will have temporarily fulfilled my urge to write and think about people and technology. This is no different. In class, we were again talking about networks and network structure, and Professor CHayden again began talking about the strength of networks and network linkages.  As witnessed from a few blogs ago, one might be able to tell that I really like thinking about network linkages.

The internet has brought us many great things that we can use to track each other, and a very interesting invention was that of link analysis software. With this we can see and follow links between nodes. Nodes being individuals, agents or groups, we can see common bonds between them. What does this mean? What does this do? Imagine you are throwing a party, you want to invite 100 friends, they are from all over the world, but unless they are all from 100 different countries (which, you are a lucky person if your friends are that diverse) some of them will be from the same country. The link analysis will show this. When everyone arrives from the party, you discover that many of them know each other. ‘How is this possible’, you ask yourself. Link analysis will show that one third of them went to the same university, surprisingly, the one you didn’t go to; it will show that one half of them attended the same conference two years ago, but you were sick and missed it; it will show that one six of them have children at the same school; it will show that 17 of them secretly formed a you-bashing facebook group, and that they only attended the party to sabotage it. In this, we see considerable overlap, and these multiple links are depicted in visual format, we can see what binds our friends. 

Facebook advocates for green objectives

“We only have one planet. Let’s do all we can protect it.”

One might imagine this slogan coming from Greenpeace, or perhaps the Sierra Club. However, it comes from a more unlikely source: Facebook. The social network is stepping outside its parameters as a public sphere and actually becoming an advocate itself for the environmental movement.

According to a statement on the PR News website, Facebook joined the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign (DESC), which “works to advance ideas, best practices and public policies that promote information and communications technology-enabled energy efficiency, clean energy innovation, and sustainable growth.”

Facebook has created its own “green” Page highlighting their “efforts to be a green and sustainable global citizen.” People can go there to learn about different clean energy technologies and initiatives.

Under the Info tab on Facebook’s Green Page, they describe the role Facebook plays in conveying this message: “We are proud that Facebook plays a unique part in promoting efforts to achieve a clean energy future. By enabling millions of people from diverse backgrounds to easily connect and share, we believe we can help unleash innovative environmental initiatives across the globe.”

Social networking technology has allowed for a particular kind of agency. The prevalence of networked ICTs changed ways activism gets done and has mobilized people in different ways than ever before. It makes you wonder how people were able to coordinate demonstrations prior to the invention of the Internet, similar to imagining what it was like to successfully pick someone up at the airport before mobile phones.

Clearly ICTs have enabled for worldwide interconnectedness on social justice issues. They enable instantaneous communication. Images of tragedies and injustices can spread virally. People from all over the world come together, not always driven by the same ideologies, to connect for transnational activism.

Facebook provides this structure for various stakeholders and enables opportunities for activism. Am I more likely to become an activist because Facebook allows me to learn about different causes and social movements? Does that make me an activist just because I click on “like”? According to my Apple dictionary, activism is “the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.” I’m not sure I would classify the opportunities on Facebook as “vigorous campaigning.”

The PR News article described Facebook’s commitment in more detail:

“Facebook's membership in DESC is part their ongoing program to develop energy efficient computing systems while also enabling public activism. Earlier this year, Facebook engineers launched a programming language, HipHop for PHP, which allowed their servers to do the same amount of work with half the number of servers. To spread the benefit, Facebook has open sourced the programming language so that other companies can get the same energy saving benefits.

The social network is also focused on empowering Facebook users to embrace energy efficient living and environmental responsibility by launching the Page as a resource for individuals and organizations. Facebook will be collaborating with environmental experts to administer the Page and share. DESC will be the first co-administrator”

Does this technology motivate us to be more involved? Has technology changed our attitude about what it means to be an activist? Perhaps Facebook as created a new generation of slack-tivists – people who care about issues but are too busy or lazy to contribute real manpower to the cause.

Either way you look at the issue, there are more people now than ever before who can learn about these issues and contribute to the transnational activist movement.

Facebook Green:

PR Newswire article:

ITC and the International Intersex Movement

What role do ITCs play in galvanizing us into action, and would we be as socially active without them? The general, non-determinist answer, is no; technology doesn’t make us more active, it’s the other things surrounding technology like culture, norms and rituals.  I have one example, however, of ITCs, causing individuals to mobilize, and that is the case of the international intersex community. Unlike the L’Aguila case, none of the people involved in the intersex movement had ever meet or would likely ever meet, if not for ITCs.  There was almost no hope for face-to-face meetings due to the nature of their condition.  Intersex refers to a number of medical conditions in which the sex of an individual is not fully developed into either male or female.  The common misnomer is hermaphrodite.  Some conditions of intersex are as common as 1/1000 (meaning, that of the 9,000 students at AU, at least nine can be assumed to have a condition of intersex).  In the late 1970’s Dr. John Money set the standards for treating intersex based on his soundly disproven hypothesis that a child could be raised in either gender the parents chose.  The sex was selected based on what genital operation would produce the most convincing results. Most hospitals advised parents never to tell their children the truth about their condition, and also that they continue to get reconstruction surgery through puberty (without telling them why), resulting in a life of secrecy and confusion.
David Reimer was Dr. Money’s experiment case and only a few of his closest doctors and family knew the reality – it didn’t work, David was living his life as a man not the woman Money claimed.  The world didn’t find out the truth until 1997, when he told Rolling Stones magazine (his favorite).  In 2001 PBS did a special on intersex based on Reimer’s story and the work of several people who came forward after hearing about his case.  For the first time, people realized that there were other others out there, and that the hypothesis, by which they had been forced to live their lives, was false.  Once people discovered they weren’t alone, they formed websites and online communities to reach out to others who had lived in silence for years.  Because their condition was so secretive, most people never knew another intersex individual.  As the transnational community grew they began protesting and lobbying for a change of the medical field.  The book Middlesex was written on the subject, which prompted an Oprah special on intersex, increasing awareness and the community.  Eventually, after fighting off the assumption that they were actually transgender or transsexuals, the paradigm shifted.  Now doctors have adopted an entirely new practice for treating individuals of intersex, waiting until the individual has gender identified (usually around three) and then waiting until he or she is old enough the make the decision to have reconstructive surgery.
   The intersex movement would not have happened if it were not for ITCs. Not enough people would have come together over their shared history if it weren’t for television and the Internet. Especially, with the silence most people have towards their condition. Although the condition is more common than people think, it is still infrequent, and the likelihood of a transnational movement facilitated by face-to-face communication is almost impossible.