"The Tailenders explores the connections between missionary activity and global capitalism. The Tailenders examines a missionary organization's use of ultra-low-tech audio devices to evangelize indigenous communities facing crises caused by global economic forces.
Joy Ridderhoff founded Gospel Recordings in 1939 in Los Angeles. She remembered how crowds had gathered around gramophones in the Honduran villages where she had worked as a missionary, and decided that rather than compete with this medium, she would use it to preach. The organization that she founded has now produced audio recordings of Bible stories in over 5,000 languages, and aims to record in every language on earth. They distribute these recordings along with hand-wind players in regions with limited access to electricity and media. The Bible stories played by the missionaries are sometimes the first encounter community members have had with recorded sound, and, even more frequently, the first time they have heard their own language recorded. Gospel Recordings calls their target audience 'the Tailenders' because they are the last to be reached by global evangelism.
The missionaries target communities in crisis because they have found that displaced and desperate people are especially receptive to the evangelical recordings. When uprooted from one's home, as in the case of Mexican migrant workers, the sound of one's own language is a comfort. And the audio players are appealing media gadgets. Audiences who might not otherwise be interested in the missionaries' message will listen to the recordings. The Tailenders focuses on how the media objects and messages introduced by the missionaries play a role in larger socioeconomic transformations, such as the move away from subsistence economies toward cash economies based on agricultural and industrial labor.
The film raises questions about how people who receive the recordings understand them. Gospel Recording's project is premised on a belief in the transparency of language to transmit a divinely inspired message. But because the missionaries don't speak the languages, they must enlist bilingual native speakers as translators. There is ample opportunity for mistakes, selectivity, and resistance in the translation. The film explores how meaning changes as it crosses language and culture."
"Carteret Islanders of Papua New Guinea have become the first climate refugees as they relocate to new sites to escape the effects of climate change on their homeland.
According to PNG's Post Courier, the islanders moved to their new homes, Tinputz, the relocation site, last Wednesday to prepare the land for their families to move over permanently.
There were reports in the media earlier in the year and even late last year stating that the Carteret Islanders will be the first refugees of climate change and this has come to pass."
(Solomon Islands News, 06 May 2009)
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"ABC's [Australia] advertising show The Gruen Transfer tonight challenges two advertising agencies to put together a pitch for the campaign that will convince Australia to invade New Zealand.
John McKie from 303, Sydney, presents a spoof of the recent 100 % Percent Pure New Zealand tourism series. The spot uses music inspired by two Australian bands, Youth Group and AC DC. The tourism pitch is online at invadenewzealand.com"
(Duncan, The Inspiration Room, 9th July 2008)
[It's encouraging to think that there is enough consensus in Aotearoa/New Zealand to realise the absurdity of wasting inordinate amounts of public money on military spending. And that such spending should be devoted to peacekeeping in the region e.g. the Solomon Islands, Bougainville and East Timor (including through UN peacekeeping operations).]