Tuesday, January 24, 2006

All about elections...

Hi all,

Imagine my surprise when, while surfing around the internet, I discovered there were a couple other interesting "elections" happening yesterday.

Courtesy of Chicken Spaghetti - the Caldecott and Newberry Awards were announced. Info also on the Michael L. Printz award HERE.

I'd comment, but none of this is my forte - so I'll leave that to others. Book Moot had some stuff to say on the Newberry Awards - and, indeed, linked to a rather entertaining posting by an author describing her reaction to receiving the call informing her that she`d won (Shannon Hale for Princess Academy).

Book Moot also kindly linked to a bit more critical commentary on a site I was, as of yet, unfamiliary with called Original Content. It will also be added to the side list. A perusal through any of the above is a good start to get your thoughts flowing on the subject.

And then, of course, we had the federal election here in Canada yesterday. For those wishing a quick recap - highlights as follows:

1. Change in Government - Conservatives win a minority.
2. Seat distribution: Conservatives 124 (36.5% of vote), Liberals 103 (30.1% of vote), Bloc 51 (10.5% of vote), NDP 29 (17.4% of vote) and one independent member (Shock Radio DJ from Quebec City)
3. Conservatives won 10 seats in Quebec, which is 10 more than last time. This came at the expense of both the Bloc and the Liberals who both did worse than last time in the province. So the Conservatives now hold seats in all regions of the country (except TECHNICALLY the three territories and PEI if you really wish to get picky).
4. Paul Martin will be stepping down as Liberal Leader and their will be a Leadership Race in the Liberal Party.

NDP also gained quite a bit - going from 18 seats (19 at last election) to 29 seats. On the plus side - more people voted this time out - 64.5% of Canadians, as opposed to the 60.9% that voted last time. On the minus side - there will be less women in the next Parliament.

So there you have it. Will take a couple weeks (up to two) for the transition (ie: for Paul Martin to step down and Steven Harper to become Prime Minister). During that time Harper is busy deciding on who his staff will be at PMO and who will be in his Cabinet. The Cabinet Post that matters most to Literacy issues is Human Resources - although depending how he decides to structure his Cabinet there may be some other posts as well. For instance, Martin had a Minister of State (ie: Junior Minister under Human Resources) sepecifically assigned to Literacy. Finally, parliament won't resume for a while yet - most say end of March or, more likely, April. At which point we get a Throne Speech where the new Government outlines its objectives (and the literacy community waits on baited breath to see if the Governor-General at least mentions the word "literacy" in the speech).

Leaving the state of the nation for a momen - as a final piece of news today - I found this article interesting/entertaining. There is a Sesame Street documentary out discussing how Sesame Street is different in different countries.

PUBLICATION: The Telegram (St. John's)
DATE: 2006.01.24
BYLINE: David Germain

Sesame Street hits big screen in documentary

In Egypt, a local variation of the Sesame Street gang encourages literacy and empowerment for girls in a sharply male-dominated culture. In an Israeli-Palestinian edition, the show sought to build mutual understanding. In South Africa, an HIV-positive Muppet helps teach children about AIDS.

The World According to Sesame Street, a documentary that premiered over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, recounts the role of Muppets as goodwill ambassadors around the world in localized versions of the children's TV show that has been a U.S. staple since 1969.

The film by directors Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Linda Hawkins Costigan offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Sesame Workshop in New York City, where the stewards of Sesame Street offer assistance for overseas producers to tailor the concept to their own countries' needs.

Exporting American culture often is greeted with skepticism or even hostility, yet Sesame Street seems to find a warm reception wherever it goes.

''I'm sure there was some trepidation, but the fact of the matter is, this is a model developed over the past 36, 37 years, and it's an incredibly adaptable model,'' said Hawkins Costigan, 37. ''It's so pliable to all these different countries, and the local researchers dictate their own curriculum. I haven't heard of a situation where the researchers weren't welcoming of it.''

The documentary grew out of the filmmakers' curiosity after learning about Kami, the fluffy yellow HIV-positive Muppet that debuted on South Africa's Takalani Sesame in 2002.

The perky character, whose mother died of AIDS, was created after the Sesame Workshop's South African partners insisted the show had to help educate children about HIV and AIDS.

''That this American company and show we grew up on that we love so much, this American icon, really, is going around the world and doing these culturally specific co-productions was really, really fascinating,'' said Goldstein Knowlton, 40, an executive producer on 2002's Whale Rider.

''Especially regarding Kami, we thought, they're using Muppets as catalysts for social change. That's remarkable.''

The World According to Sesame Street centres on the South African show and two new incarnations, a joint effort to bridge gaps between Albanians and Serbs in war-torn Kosovo and a version intended to educate youths in Bangladesh, where many children leave school at tender ages to find work.


At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip on the Sesame Street movie! I have a bit of a fascination with the show...

Some little known facts about Sesame Street:

-my dentist used to skip class in university to go home and watch it. (apparently it was new then and big on the college scene....?)

-Susan from Sesame Street signed on to do the show immediately after finishing her Ph.D. in child psychology. People thought she was crazy, but she saw something special about the show--and she was right.

-The Count is the muppet most worthy of a muzzle. (I used to get very angry with him as a kid for counting so *slowly!*)

-My favourite Sesame Street 'episode' is the sketch with Ernie and Bert when Ernie eats cookies in bed. (Forget Myers-Briggs...they should make an Ernie and Bert personality test. I am a total Ernie!)

Lynds. ;)


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