Heidi Tilney Kramer

Jordan Brown interviews Heidi Tilney Kramer about her book, Media Monsters—Militarism, Violence and Cruelty in Children’s Culture.


Heidi Tilney Kramer is a mum; independent scholar focusing on Critical Children’s Studies and Media in the United States; and former professor at both Eckerd College and the University of South Florida. Her recently released book, Media Monsters: Militarism, Violence, and Cruelty in Children’s Culture explores the history of propaganda and powerful forces influencing increasingly younger ages with militaristic, violent, and cruel content. It is an expansion on her thesis Monsters Under the Bed: An Analysis of Torture Scenes in Three Pixar Films.

Jordan Brown: Can you take us through Media Monsters? You’ve written this book that’s analysing militarism, violence and cruelty in children’s media and culture, what are some of the main elements of the book?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Well, of course, as a parent I was shocked when I went to see these films with my son and noticed there’s a shift in the violence level—not that it wasn’t always there—but there was a change where it started having militarism, and actually torture scenes in G- and PG-rated films. So that was the first thing that I found shocking. And then I found out that the video games are made, as you know, in the same way that the computers are now, which keep us addicted with dopamine hits every now and again, so the children are actually addicted to these video games now. And of course in Korea they have the same problem (because they had their technological revolution before we did) and it’s become such a problem that the government there started paying for camps to sort of ‘detox the kids’ and to get them to talk to their parents again and go outside and so forth. We talked a lot about that in the US, but it’s a huge industry and they’re not going to stop doing that. I think that the main reason for that is, to actually teach children to kill.

So I started focusing on… the book was… I’d done a thesis on torture scenes in three Pixar films, and I was going to expand that, and do a book on it, and then I found out all these other areas—education for example—of how it had infiltrated into a number of our institutions, and that is a bit of a concern.

Jordan Brown: Well, can you take us through some of the films that sort of brought about this awareness and that shocked you and were maybe the impetus for the book?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Monsters Inc. was the main one. In the theatre, I was sitting in the audience with mainly kids and parents watching this film, and seeing the look of horror on Boo’s face. She’s a toddler, she can’t provide any information or anything, but she’s still strapped into that torture chair. Nothing happens to her, but that look of horror on her face really stuck with me. And then The Incredibles—just the entire family that you see on the torture rack and again nothing happens to them, but the Dad, Mr Incredible, has just been shocked on the same torture device, so that was pretty disconcerting. So just the way they’re playing up the whole superhero thing and even the children—in The Incredibles the mum says to the children, “You know those Saturday morning cartoons where there were bad guys?” and she’s like, “These guys aren’t like those guys, these guys really will try to kill you.” So, that we have included children so much in this dialogue of enemies and fighting and being ‘good guys’ and so forth, and I found that disturbing.

And then of course the whole Toy Story 3 thing which is: it’s got so much surveillance in it, at the school; there’s that horrible scene where they’re going down to the incinerator together—it’s a very extended scene—they all know that they’re going to die, and of course there’s this last minute rescue, but they’re all teary-eyed and clasp hands.

So, the adult world has had shows like 24 and Homeland to sort of inform the American public of torture and get them on board with it, which coincided with 9-11, but they’ve gone from the adult media to bringing it down to children. It makes me think of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. We have a long history of propaganda of course, and I didn’t know it until I was writing the book, but George Orwell had been involved with the British in India doing propaganda. So, he really knew what he was talking about and it really was a good warning. So, if you’re raising a generation that not only is around talk of violence, but then if you add in video games that they are also being trained to shoot… And now of course what happened, because of the fear of school shootings in Florida, I think they’ve just put… I think it’s 400 million dollars to “safeguard” the schools, and maybe even teachers are going to have weapons now. That’s a concern. We’re vilifying the children, at the same time that we are teaching them how to be villains.

Jordan Brown: So one thing that you mentioned before is just how this media is… I mean the normalisation is an interesting aspect. How this sort of content, and this sort of graphic… or these sorts of narratives have become normalised. How has that happened? And then the second part of my question would be how has it come to infiltrate and sort of, well, influence social institutions?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Well it’s like the George Orwell thing… I wasn’t raised with that media. We don’t really know the effects of if you are raised with it, on children. We know it’s not good for them, we know violence of any kind—even pretend violence— is still not good for them, and there are a number of studies that prove that. And I’m not for censorship, as you know, but I am for looking really carefully at what our children are ingesting. So, the first part of your question was…

Jordan Brown: Where did it come from? And I mean you mention like… One thing that’s interesting… Sorry to interrupt you there but, say one thing that is for example interesting for me is that I was born in the mid-80s so to read the part in the book about Shirley Temple and coming out of the Great Depression and sort of how she was used as an icon to sort of—I mean, maybe you want to talk about that a little bit? In giving some historical context to this sort of building and the normalisation, and then we can sort of get into the infiltration into the institutional level?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: So to my mind, which I didn’t realise until I started doing research, propaganda has always been used, particularly for a war effort. And there are examples going back earlier than that of course, with music, and so forth. So, it’s like whatever social dimension can be brought in, you’ve got to sort of ‘beat the drum’ toward, you know? So, I mean there are a number of cases where presidents have been elected specifically because they weren’t going to war and then five minutes later decided to. So, you had to rev up the people because if they didn’t believe there was actually an enemy then why would they pick up a gun and go fight?

Shirley Temple is very interesting because when we look back on that, it’s like “Oh, they’re just adorable movies for kids.” Well they weren’t made like that at all. People were… Like grown men would go in and watch these films and burst into tears because, as they were suffering economically—and Hollywood was tasked with cheering up America and helping them to keep going—so, here’s this little girl who is more often than not being orphaned for whatever reason (the plots are really similar) but if she had no money and no parents, and if she could make it, then surely anyone could, right? And so if you look at the films from back then, they’re very much pro-war and that continues.

And then when television came along, they realised the women had filled in for the men during the war and liked being out working, but then they needed the men to go back to those jobs—those who were lucky to be able to return—and so the women had to be ‘trained,’ if you will, to go back to domestic work, and so shows like Father Knows Best and so forth encouraged not only women being home, but also having the ‘perfect kitchen’ and making the perfect jello-moulds and so forth…

Jordan Brown: (chuckles) Yes.

Heidi Tilney Kramer: You know. So all along… it’s cool because so much time has gone by, that we can actually tell now: “Oh, that was done for this and these shows were done for that.” For example, I Dream of Geanie, they had NASA helping to make people okay with the space program for instance. So, there’s really no reason—there’s plenty of history behind it—to know that these films, particularly the well-financed films, are tasked with (and we’re doing it again, we’re doing it still) creating these enemies and encouraging people to fight them.

So, what is the effect of being raised knowing that you could be harmed, knowing there’s this so-called ‘enemy,’ knowing that it ‘could be important, at five years old, to lift a weapon’ or whatever? It continues today. I had a sense of that when you see these blockbusters, that “these are the good guys,” and “these are the bad guys,” and whatever—you could see it. But then to see that really fast transition actually, that coincided with 9-11, that’s disturbing, and the big five media companies who control over 90% of everything we see and hear, and that this is exported globally—this is affecting children everywhere, not just here in the United States.

So, when somebody sees these films and thinks, “Wow, their culture is so violent that it’s even in children’s media,” what is that saying about the US? And that people line up to see these films? There is so much hype behind it that you’re almost ‘not cool’ if you don’t go to see these films. But nobody is really dissecting what’s in them, and what’s the effect when you’re a couple of years old and you see a two-year-old being strapped in a torture chair?

Jordan Brown: Yes. It reminds me of… I mean I don’t know the work of George Gerbner in too much depth, but what you’ve just said when you were speaking about how American films are exported all over the world, how Gerbner talks about how violence translates and transcends… it can penetrate into other cultures because it transcends the language barrier. So you can have these extremely violent films and militaristic films, and films about war and sort of glorifying the hero and the good guys versus the bad guys—and we sort of see this with the histories of the betrayal of Arabs and Arabic cultures in American movies—but he says that’s one reason why American culture and media can export itself across the world. It’s the simplicity of those good guys versus bad guys narratives. And so I guess another direction I want to go to is… you’ve mentioned the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and how we see the American economy pouring lots of money into intelligence agencies and obviously the military budget in the United States is just astronomical. Maybe you want to talk about the relationship, the close relationship, with the Pentagon and many of these media organisations?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Yes. I didn’t actually know until I was doing the book that there’s a floor of a big building in Los Angeles that has all the branches of the military represented, and they coordinate with film-makers. So, if you want to make a film and you need helicopters, or whatever it is—some military equipment—in order to get assistance from the US military, you have to turn over at least five copies of your script to the Pentagon, and you’re basically giving them script approval. So you’re not allowed to have an officer look bad for instance, which is why they wouldn’t help in Forest Gump. So if you’re counter to increasing recruits, they will not assist with that.

Jordan Brown: Yeah, it’s all about presenting the military in a positive light.

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Yes. So that in and of itself is censorship. That you’re not allowed to show an officer even making a mistake, or what have you. So this glorification of militarism and that militarism now, like Henry Giroux says, invades our everyday terminology, not just in films but also in products. So a lot of products now—or advertisements—have these extreme military names. If you walk down the aisle, the toy aisle at Walmart, you see all this wrestling stuff and you see even the Legos and Mega Blocks militaristically oriented. And the thing about it, to me, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your country—that is real patriotism, you love where you are and so forth—but nationalism is where we’re in now. Nationalism is you basically just want to take over the world. Like it doesn’t matter at whose expense it is, as long as you’re Top Dog. So, that’s sort of the shift that’s happened. It couples with making anyone who isn’t basically white, middle-class, at least male—everybody else has been othered. So people of colour, women, children, they’re not—I mean unless they’re not the Superhero of the day for children—otherwise, all of these other groups have been othered. And that is such a limited view of the world and it’s terrifying, like we are about to go into a totalitarian state with this now, so I think people need to very carefully look at what’s being promoted.

Jordan Brown: This reminds me of, say, the portrayal of women, for example, in music videos. I mean how does this sort of help and shore-up this othering, and the promoting of misogyny and violence against women in direct and indirect ways?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Yes, I actually found it kind of interesting that they did a remake of The Handmaid’s Tale because so much of the talk in the US… and it’s just heartbreaking to watch for me, because if you’ve seen all the strides that we made, you know in the 70s, like in 1970 I think was the first Earth Day and women were finally allowed to be in the workforce. Even now of course women are still in a fraction, you know, women have the same training, the same experience for a job, still, there’s a bias and you know that glass ceiling thing, and men will earn more in the same position. The music videos… I was really shocked… I was watching a Media Education Foundation film by Sut Jhally talking about how there actually are porn directors directing a lot of these music videos now.

Jordan Brown: Yes, it’s not surprising, I mean, many of them have hardly any clothes on—you’re basically watching softcore pornography…

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Exactly. And then somebody swipes a credit card down a female butt-crack. What is that saying? It’s portraying women as money-grabbing hoes or something. And then, who’s the audience for that? Like a 13-year-old watching that video thinking, “Oh, I have to be sexy or I have to be pretty to achieve success.” And what’s upsetting about that is, in all of these cases it’s not just talk, right? I mean people are dying. Teenagers are killing themselves for being judged harshly on social media, say, you know feeling badly about themselves, because what is important about a person is not being promoted, it’s this physicality. And then of course people are watching shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, with every minute detail of somebody’s nail polish, or whether they’re going to be on time for the big show, or what are we going to do so that we don’t have a hangover the next morning while we’re visiting our fancy house in the Hampton’s or whatever. You know, it’s just crazy the priorities now, and nobody can really keep up with that of course. So, then you end up feeling badly about yourself.

And it’s not just young women, right, because young males are watching this too and it’s been shown that when they show young men pictures of supermodels and then they show them pictures of the average woman, they judge the latter more harshly. So, men are also thinking that women should behave in this manner, and they too, if they’re not the alpha male or something, you know, if they don’t have hot car or they’re not built or whatever, then they end up feeling badly about themselves as well. So, it’s really a cruel thing to do. It would be cruel enough if it were just for advertising, just to sell things, but I think that it’s part of a larger ideology of war. You know, it’s like “women fight in the military, but men are protecting the little woman back home.” I think it’s that larger way of forcing people to behave badly, if you will.

Jordan Brown: And so, how has this come to be so pervasive and sort of influence social institutions do you think? I mean one thing I’m thinking of with computer games, is that they have the Pentagon being directly involved in the with the development of computer games and using computer games as a recruitment tool, and then I think as an extension of that, using the content of computer games—actually playing computer games—in the initial stages of training up, say for example, pilots to fly drones, or control robots, or using game-play to feed the data generated from people’s actions and responses and experiences in games, to train “artificial intelligence” algorithms or for so-called “machine learning” purposes. I mean, what is behind this do you think? Is this sort of systemic merging, or this pervasive othering—not just militaristically and the divide between genders—I mean, do you just want to talk about… all of the elements of this media… how has this saturated and become so mainstream and how has it taken over social institutions? What’s behind that do you think?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Well, I do think a lot of it is military based, as you said, like America’s army as a training tool. The fact that you can feel the rush of killing the prostitute in your controller while you’re playing Grand Theft Auto, I mean it’s interesting that in many of these games you get points for doing wrong things. Keep in mind that the military and the big five media, they have basically an unlimited supply of money and unfortunately I think that a lot of our politicians have been bought by these groups and they’ve really kind of taken over things. So, all of these systems—and this just shows the power of propaganda—that you can convince people that they need these things. Even the phones. It’s all marketed to be what? I mean, my phone is red because my car is red, right? The price for a lot of these things fall just out of the reach of the average person and then they market it as being the coolest new thing in the world and then everybody wants it. Well, even when you reach a point… I mean, I remember playing the Sonic the Hedgehog game years ago, and if you kicked butt in that game, like you really did an amazing job, scored a perfect score, it would be like Sonic would say, “That was okay” or something, which made you want to do it more just to get a better response. So the thing that happens of course… Like in my day if we wanted to play a video game, I mean like you had pong on the TV at home (which I was never able to beat by the way, great little game… and it’s just a simple thing going back and forth and you know) but to play a video game, to play Pac-Man or something, you’d have to go to the mall. It wasn’t like a foot away from you. Just like a film… Yeah, I saw Bambi when I was little, and it was scary, and then I left the theatre. But now kids are a foot or two away from this stuff, doing it over and over and over again. And I really do think, particularly after seeing your film, Stare Into The Lights My Pretties, they are planning to use all of this technology, like with AI, they’re developing to adapt it specifically to us which hooks us more than ever… So if you’re looking up whatever it is then suddenly there are ads for that same type of product or a store near you where you can buy that type of product or whatever. It’s so targeted.

I do believe that they are going to, not they aren’t already, obviously, but it will be more and more used against us and it will be so that you have to have a device at least in order to do any sort of business, in order to interact with the world at all. And we don’t even speak with each other anymore. I mean I’m the biggest texter in the world. I mean, the thought of having a phone call, to me that is unusual now. Of course I know that holding a phone up to my head is not a good idea. The safety ratings that they give to these phones is like several inches away from your head, so to hold it right up to your head is never really a good idea you know. But they will and are able to change our thinking. You know, we look at the elections and how if you were a democrat you saw more democrat ads or something. If you were a republican, it steered you toward that. And if you and I look up, I don’t know, “lady bugs,” what’s going to come up for you based on everything you’ve looked up so far and what has come up for me, it will be different. So, it is already specific toward us.

I am able to put my phone down if I need to, but I was just in the airport and I see all these toddlers with their iPads, you know, playing games. And you look at that warning from Facebook’s Sean Parker, ‘you guys will be like the most, the easiest ones to get because you grew up clicking.’ And so I watched, as the parent would take the iPad away ‘cause it’s time to board the plane, and the kid would just burst into tears. So, to me, that hook… To me, in my mind this is like more serious than a drug addiction, because you can no longer interact with others in a proper way or in a human way I should say.

I went to a show a few weeks ago and everybody at the show, instead of enjoying the show, is taking photos of the performers with their phones. So it becomes like this bizarre, you know, Black Mirror episode of representing representation. People are no longer in the moment. If I show my friends all the fun I had on vacation… then what is that, too, right? It’s not a real picture of yourself. You know, you’re not going to post anything unless you ‘look great,’ right? So it has kind of changed the way we interact and think, and soon, very soon, I’m afraid it’s going to affect how we do everything. That will be the only way that you can do business. That will be the only way you can learn even. As the planet is experiencing more difficulties, people may be indoors even more and then that’s really their only connection to friends or to… You know in Florida at least they’re trying to encourage this online teaching thing and online classes. And that’s very convenient for people like me, you know, I was a mum and wanted to go back to school. I had my mum and sister, thank goodness, to help me with my little one. Most people maybe don’t have that. It’s convenient to do an online class. But it removes the interaction between others and learning in a live setting other opinions. You know, different ways of looking at things. So, what will happen is we’ll end up with a national narrative. They just passed a law and they done it in the conservative, religious right… I think in like 12 states. But Florida is one of them that passed a law… As it is we had a law that every public classroom should have a flag in a certain spot in the classroom, an American flag posted of particular size and a particular way, and now they’ve just passed a law that in a conspicuous place they have to have the words “in God we trust.” So this is not only turning totalitarian very quickly, it’s also turning into a theocracy. And in the same way they’ve encouraged white versus people of colour, male versus female, you know, adult versus child, now they’re really, really pushing… Like a saw a bumper sticker: “Trump for the next election. Make a liberal cry again.” So, what’s happening is what Chris Hedges said, and a number of other people, that to distract from the fact that the bankers are screwing everyone, they’re making it look as if it’s all the liberals fault. It’s, that “we’re at fault,” for example, “people not having jobs.”

Jordan Brown: Yeah, it’s more othering, “it’s the migrants”, “it’s the immigrants”…

Heidi Tilney Kramer: It’s becoming very polarised.

Jordan Brown: Yes. So, I wanted to ask about, I was thinking about empathy as you were talking and I mean one of the things that sort of got me on that track was, as you mentioned before, when you’re playing a computer game and you get extra points for, say, killing somebody… Let’s bring empathy into this. What does that look like in this Brave New World of the media environment? We have about ten minutes left, and maybe I want to start by asking how can we turn all this around? You know things are really dire, we’ve got this huge culture that has a lot of money and a lot of resources and a lot of people behind it, you know, psychologists and people doing all sorts of different media executions. How do we turn this all around? But first, before we get there, let’s just go through empathy a little?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Well, I call it killing the sacred. And by sacred I mean, well, what I consider important in life. And as you said empathy, empathy, empathy. There can never be too many examples—if for no other reason than for balance—to teach children how to be kind to animals, how to be kind to each other. Like I said, you can have all the anti-bullying programs in the world, but if everything else is a barrage of negativity and teaching them to be mean, then that’s just not going to work. And unfortunately, being kind, which should be the primary directive of helping each other, is being quickly eroded.

So, if you talk about being kind to animals, people put you down for that. I remember my son getting his… I was always of the mind, you know, “No first person shooter games,” and then somebody gave him a copy for his birthday. And you can’t… You can’t completely feel… Even against my plan originally, that I would never expose my child to these things, but you know, if you don’t, they kind of have nothing to talk about with people at school because they’re going to do it, like “Oh, did you see that latest film?” or whatever. So, he’s in the family room playing Halo with his friends, and as a child he like never cursed or never said a mean thing, but he’s just playing this game and I’m listening to them talking to each other. And he even changed his dialogue, the vernacular… So all the sudden they’re saying to each other, “I’m going to fucking kill you,” or, “You’re going to die!” That’s getting into somebody’s subconscious.

So, I think, first of all, people like Mickey Huff from Project Censored, they’re doing great work. A number of groups are doing really good work to teach children to be media literate. That’s the main thing. If your child is exposed to this—or if we are!—you know, you have to bring yourself back to reality and go “Oh yeah, that’s just a movie. Did that person handle that right in the film? How might we have done that better? How could we have been kinder?” The more that you can keep them in the moment, exposing them to nature as a way of grounding them; encouraging talking to others; encouraging understanding; encouraging a sense of fairness; to teach responsibility about weapons, and that shouldn’t be… like our police forces shoot first and ask questions later…

Jordan Brown: Yes!

Heidi Tilney Kramer: …as opposed to… I don’t know…aim for a knee or something? So, that is the first conflict resolution that they’re learning and it needs to change. And it’s all of our responsibility, right? It takes a village to raise a child. Whether or not you have children, you still know children and it’s funny how once you introduce kindness, I think people want to do the right thing if they are encouraged to do it. Unfortunately, people are encouraged to do the wrong thing. You know, that it’s cool to be mean. It’s cool to be a bully… So the more you can introduce them to… and it’s hard to find nice media for kids. I know, I tried. Because 90% of these things are just… Even the nice ones are horribly violent. And the difference culturally, like in Japan, Kirby for instance, he’s the adorable pink guy. Here he’s kind of mean looking.

We need to stop buying into militarism, we need to stop glorifying it, and we need to teach the children to do the same thing. The fact of the matter is, is that most people don’t want war, and children don’t want to hurt things. They need somebody to teach them, and they’re not going to learn with those media. So that is imperative: to not support war, to not support things like war. And if you can’t find nice things for children, then create them. That’s actually my plan next. To try and write nice books for children, because there’s really not a lot out there. It’s all very death oriented now, it’s all very apocalyptic. Not only in the adult world, but in the children world. And that breaks my heart, because I remember seeing nice films and going to plays with my mum, and listening to good music. And now, it’s like everything has flipped, which does unfortunately affect people’s values quite strongly.

So, the more we can provide avenues for kindness and encouraging that empathy—we need to do that. Susan Sontag, and I think I put it as the first quote in the book, “10% of the population are kind no matter what and 10% are mean no matter what, the other 80% can be swayed in either direction.” We need to sway in the nice direction as much as we can—of course, not least because of balance!

Jordan Brown: That’s such a great quote. And it’s also such a great thing to say: if it’s lacking, create the content. I think it’s one of the central parts in turning a culture around. We’re talking about stories, we’re talking about stories that weave their way through movies, and music, and books, and all the different forms of media. This all runs on narrative. And if a culture is militaristic and violent and sexist and so on and so forth, and stems from and is perpetuated by these stories, then one way to turn it around is to change the stories.

Another aspect that I found quite moving was at the end of the book where you’re talking about even the listening. If your child comes up to you—or anyone really—and talks about their dreams, or how they feel when watching these media—and we can all relate to this—I can think of being a young person and being incredibly freaked out by, I don’t know, say, the horrible scene with the cockroach in Men in Black for example. That scared the hell out of me and so, I think the listening is such a good point. It’s such a good closing, or part of the good closing to your book. So, to wrap this up, how do you bring it home?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Well, I love—and I said this when I spoke to Project Censored as well—I think it’s hugely important that… You know, I just always think of Mr Rogers, and he had won an award and was given a couple of minutes to give a speech, and he said in lieu of that, “I would like everybody to think about when they were young, and the people who helped them and encouraged them and listened to them,” and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. You know, if you can put yourself… remember when you were young, like he said, and I certainly wouldn’t have accomplished anything without people saying, “Hey, you’re a good artist. Why don’t you keep drawing?” or whatever, you know? It helped me to believe in myself, and in a kind message. That just still brings tears to my eyes, it always does, it’s that important.

We don’t know the way humanity is going to go. We know the way that some are trying to make it go, and we need to dig our heels in because… this is robbing souls now. This is beyond people not thinking when they create something. It’s affecting us on a level that will be our legacy. And it is the most important thing to do what you can to not support it and to not encourage it, particularly with the young and help them feel good about themselves–because they probably won’t if they’re on social media—and, you know, to teach them well. Because as it stands, they’re just becoming experts in shooting and not in protecting.

Jordan Brown: Thank you so much for saying that. Do you want to tell people how they can find your book? It’s called Media Monsters: Militarism, Violence and Cruelty in Children’s Culture. How do we find this?

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Well at the moment, I self-published it, because I sat with, I don’t know, maybe 10 innovative presses and nobody was interested, and I felt like the time was flipping by. So I self-published it and placed it on Amazon and they’re allowing me to have it on there for the moment so I guess that’s the best way to get it. I do have a website and a Facebook. The website is mediamonsters.us and the Facebook is “Media Monsters are Against Kids.” And I’ll be happy to, if somebody cannot afford one, I’m happy to send them an electronic copy, or a real one if they need that.

Let’s do what we can at least to save the kids, right?

Jordan Brown: Yes, thanks so much, Heidi. Thanks for your amazing work and thanks for talking to me today.

Heidi Tilney Kramer: Not at all. Thank you so much, Jordan.

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Ms Kramer has kindly provided a digital copy of Media Monsters for readers of this interview.

is an activist, artist, musician, independent film-maker and freelance journalist whose work focuses on the interface between the dominant culture and the real impact on people, society and the environment. He has won awards and industry accolades for his work, including the 2018 Edward Snowden Award, the 2017 Change Maker Award (NIFF), and the 2016 Honorary Award of the Ministry of Justice (Slovakia).