Glitter, Martha Stewart, Easter Pie, Darfur and Bill Clinton: Now there’s a list you don’t see very often…

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(see the show here – go to video 6)

Just got back from some time off, where my wife (Kate) and I had a week to explore the city of New York. It was the first time for us, and it was a pretty busy week where we tried to fit in as many of the sights and sounds as we could. Anyway, one of those days included a visit to Martha Stewart’s television studio (Kate is a big fan), and it was here that we were treated to the strangest collaboration of items I have ever witnessed in a 50 minute block.

What we saw included Conan O’Brien learning the ropes behind glittering eggs (it was the pre-Easter show), then glittering a large ham, followed by a section where two charming, funny, and very short Italian ladies taught us all how to make an Easter Pie, and then suddenly it was a segue into a spot with Bill Clinton, who immediately began to talk of his mycommitment.org program. It was here that we heard references to Ruwanda and Darfur, with nary a mention of glitter in this part of the mix.

It was very surreal, yet kind of cool. I was left wondering how President Clinton’s message was affected by its placement in a show where “glitter” was the primary focus of the first 20 minutes. In some ways, I can think of reasons where his message was possibly muted by the tweeness of the programming, but then again, the tweeness also had the effect of almost emphasizing his message. As if, the disconnect kind of made it more memorable.

This is all very curious to me, especially with all of this talk of “framing” going on, thinking about what tactics represent the best ways to talk about things of global relevance like social inequity and science for instance. I also like to think that in some ways, the surreal nature of this experience was a bit similar to the online science publication I run (The Science Creative Quarterly), where we pretty much abide by the “anything about science goes” format – silly or serious, creative or academic. The apparent disconnect in the types of writing presented at this sight, we wonder might represent its strength (you have funny one day, educational the next, and sometimes – though not very often – the deep).

Anyway, at the end of the Martha Stewart show – you guessed it – we got a bag of goodies. Was it Bill’s newest book, Giving?

Nope, we got 4 bottles of what I can only surmise as fancy glitter (all different colours). Oh well, I was going to buy the book anyway.

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and boingboing.net. He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at popperfont.net.

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