Thanks for raising these important points about academic publishing—they’re near and dear to my heart! I currently work for an open access journal, and we have conversations like this with our authors all the time.
Even among open access journals, for example, the author agreement may vary drastically. (PLOS, the Public Library of Science, has a really useful chart about degrees of open access and author rights here: http://www.plos.org/open-access/howopenisit/) We’ve just recently amended our author agreement to allow for author reuse rights; that is, authors can opt to license their work under a Creative Commons license. (Authors may still choose to retain copyright.)
Thanks again for bringing these important issues to light!
Thank you for the international perspective! As someone who works on cultural heritage issues transnationally, it can be incredibly difficult to keep it all straight.
If you haven’t seen it yet, this list of what could have entered the U.S. public domain from Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain is eye-opening: http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2014/pre-1976
Tommy, thanks for sharing such a personal post, and I wish you much luck re-enlisting.
When you were in the army, did you find that soldiers supported the DADT policy? Is a profound cultural change necessary among regular soldiers to protect openly gay ones? Or was the opposition to repealing DADT mostly from older, high-level military officers or even politicians outside the military? Also, do you think some branches of the military feel differently about this issue?
With an issue like this, I’m always interested in the people who actually live in the world ruled by the policy, and you have given us some insight into your own utterly unfair experiences, which is pretty valuable.
Thinking about a few other issues you pointed out, Karen, reminded me of an article by Heari and Puechguirbal (http://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/irrc-877-haeri-puechguirbal.pdf) about how during times of violent conflict, women literally hold down the fort, organize communities, manage trauma, and construct means of social resistance. Because they are deemed the ‘weaker sex’, however, when the war is over and the men return from the battlefield to devise the post-conflict constitution, women are written out of leadership positions and expected to return to their homes without acknowledgement for their roles as combatants.
It’s interesting to me the different experiences people had under DADT. Most of my military service took place under DADT, and while I knew that the Army had an option of discharging me for identifying as gay, I still served openly without any negative repercussions. Granted, my experience seems to be an exception to the rule, and I’ve never really known why. Was it that I just got lucky? Was it a testament to the moral fortitude and mission focus of my leadership and fellow service members at the various units in which I served? Was it that I had a skillset my commanders deemed more important than following directives to discharge me? What I have seen in younger service members follows the definite theme that we have seen throughout our society of increasing acceptance of gay men and women (we still have a long way to come on the issue of bisexual identity and still longer on transgender identity). A while back, for example, I was eating lunch at the PX on post when I noticed two male soldiers (I presume they were soldiers as they had the stereotypical Army haircut and were eating with several others who were in uniform) holding hands. They were obviously a couple but their interaction with their peers appeared as if no one else seemed phased by it. It was heartening to see, but also reminded me that those of my generation - who grew up on the tail end of the era where HIV was still a terminal disease, where gay culture still existed in the cloistered ghettos of major cities, where the idea of a same-sex family was not yet a standard part of our relationship template, and where we still feel the sting of rejection and discrimination - are probably the least capable of making this shift between one idea of what it means to identify openly as gay and another. For those of an older generation I think it’s easier to make a clean break (or not), for those younger I think it’s an non-issue, but for those of us in between, I think we are torn between two competing ideas, both almost equally calling to us. As time passes, the balance, however, seems to be falling in favor of the normalcy of non-heterosexual identities, and it’s that normalcy, rather than its peculiarity, that will ultimately bolster the success of repealing DADT.
I absolutely agree that the issue of representation could be addressed by something as simple as constructing stories as we normally would and then switching the genders to affect change. As an example, you can see the experience of Michelle Nijhius when she did just that for her children’s bedtime stories (http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2013/12/18/one-weird-old-trick/). I think men are often postured to react to such a project as if it were attacking men - a position I do not share if for no other reason than that it relies on a false idea of media as a zero sum game. And in that respect I appreciate the Bechdel Test for women in movies (http://www.feministfrequency.com/2009/12/the-bechdel-test-for-women-in-m...) because it focuses not on degrading the representation of men - another conversation altogether - but on uplifting the representation of women. Lastly, a critique of the representation of women warriors is not in the same discussion as a critique of militarism or violence - again, another conversation altogether - but about how women are represented in positions of power. For better or worse, the military is a key institution in our society, a pathway to authority and prestige in many areas that matter to us culturally and politically. To act as though women ‘don’t belong’ disenfranchises women from access to this institution, and that is troubling for a variety of reasons.
I am so glad someone wrote about this film. Thanks, Cliff. While the film’s marketing and critical reception seemed to hail it as “THE” film about the war in Iraq, for me, it wound up amounting to propaganda. I even met a young man who had enlisted and was waiting to go to basic training, and he basically told me “Oh man, I just saw The Hurtlocker, and I can’t wait to get over there.” In the end, the film falls in with other famous war movies like The Sands of Iwo Jima. It’s a well made film, it just has nothing to do with the war around which it is centered. Karen, I think you might have found the true root of the problem in the 2 hour time limit. It’s just not possible to cover the war and the reentry problems in that amount of time. I think, in the end it will take some excellent story tellers, focusing on very specific parts of the whole topic, which can in time work together as a canon of sorts.
The female warrior debate feels a lot like the “are women funny” debate to me. It seems like an argument people keep having despite the evidence displaying itself right on front of them. However, women are underrepresented in all forms of media concerning the military. I think the best thing creative teams can do is simply change some of the characters to women, and then don’t make her gender a key part of the story. Give her the same obstacles to overcome as all the other soldiers. We don’t need to talk about female veterans. We just need to talk about veterans.
Cliff, I’m fascinated by the distinction you set up between documentary and (fictional) narrative film. Do you see more opportunities for constructive depictions of the military in scripted drama? I’m now thinking through the various movies I’ve seen—the Deer Hunter, for example—in which all the drama comes from soldiers’ inability to go home and be home. Can film, a medium that is constrained by a two hour run time and a mandate to achieve some sort of closure, tell the story of a soldier coming home without in some way creating an over-simple solution of some sort?
James, this post is so provocative. Thanks for sharing it with us. When we hear about women in the military, it does tend to be through negative portrayals or as problems (i.e. rape claims in the military). It made me wonder about the broader stakes of gender identity. Does Demi Moore have to prove how tough she is in GI Jane so she can be legitimized by masculine characteristics? What is threatening about women in the military such that media tends to circulate rather specific images in rather specific ways? How fundamentally do we depend up on characterizations of women and men behaving in particular ways.
And what are there implications for masculinity as well? My favorite scene in a Chuck Mee play depicted men returning from war, trying to woo ladies, and finding themselves unable to compartmentalize the behavior expected of them in war and then rejected at home. It was a paradox that the play put out there and then left unresolved.
What sorts of representations might help mediate these depictions? What role can gaming (particularly games that appeal to children) play in broadening our understandings of gender and the military?