Episode 128: Pro-Gay and Pro Sports, Zach Braff's Kickstarter Money, Defending Terrorists and more


** Jason Collins Comes Out ** Mountain Dew Ad Controversy ** Lawyers Defending Terror ** What Indian Elections Get Right ** Zach Braff Raises Cash

collins22222_pub.jpgWhen Jason Collins came out as the first gay male pro athlete he chose Franz Lidz to help him write his essay. Franz is a journalist with decades of experience but he's never written a sports story like this.

It wasn't until last week when Franz went to Los Angeles to meet Jason that he learned who he was writing about. When he arrived at Jason's home, they were meeting for the first time to make sports history.

The first person essay they created together for Sports Illustrated has since been read millions of times. Other athletes have stepped forward to show their support. Even President Obama called Collins to congratulate him for his courage.

Franz Lidz tells us about meeting Jason, his family and how they crafted the sports story of the year.

goat_pub.jpgAdvertising Crosses a Line

Advertising is everywhere- online, in print, television, at the movies, on the street. The business of capturing your attention is lucrative and competitive. Agencies do anything they can to make their spots stand out.

When Mountain Dew commissioned commercials by hip hop artist Tyler the Creator they knew were courting controversy. Tyler has been criticized for lyrics which offend women and gays. But PepsiCo, which owns Mountain Dew, want to pitch their product at a demographic Tyler appeals to.

Now Tyler's commercials- featuring a trash-talking violent goat- have been yanked because of accusations of racism and misogyny. And they're not the only ads recently shelved for crossing a line. Is advertising actually striving for that kind of heat?

That's one of the questions we ask freelance marketing strategist Hilton Barbour.

reid_pub.pngLawyers Defending Terror

Accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be facing American justice when he stands trial for the crimes he's accused of including using a weapon of mass destruction. This week we learned one of his lawyers is Judy Clarke who also defended the Una bomber.

Representing unpopular clients in high profile cases is hard work. Few end in acquittal. Some defendants use the trial to spread hatred. And the public can be hostile to the very idea of mounting a defense for an accused terrorist.

The lawyers who take these cases see their role as key to the implementation of justice. We talk to three of them. John Norris is the attorney for Raed Jaser - one of the men accused of plotting to derail a VIA rail train. Tamar Birckhead represented Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber", and Ronald Kuby defended- among others- Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

indian election_pub.jpgWhat Indian Elections Get Right

In Canada we like to think our democracy is exemplary. We send monitors to foreign elections to hunt for irregularities or corruption. But here at home things are looking shaky.

An Elections Canada report this week says the 2011 election was a mess. More than 165,000 people may have voted improperly- that's an average of 500 per riding- and the system is archaic and in need of reform.

Reform's not going to happen soon. Elections Canada budget was cut 8% in this year's federal budget.

Could we learn from other democracies? India's elections are considered the largest single organized event in the world. Dr. Mukulika Banerjee of the London School of Economics made a radio documentary  called Sacred Election: Lessons from the World's Biggest Democracy. She tells us what India gets right.

braff_pub.jpgZach Braff Kickstarts his Flick

You know Zach Braff. He's a writer, actor and filmmaker whose 2004 film Garden State was hugely popular and a kind of cultural touchstone of the time. He hasn't directed a movie since.

Last week, following the example of musician Amanda Palmer and the producers of Veronica Mars, Zach launched a pitch on Kickstarter to raise $2 million to help bankroll his next movie.

It worked. Zach reached his goal in less tha a week. But some critics say people like Zach who have access to Hollywood money shouldn't be asking their fans for cash to make films. Zach disagrees and he'll tell us why.

And that's Day 6 for this week.  Break out the shorts and flip flops and join us next week for more Saturday morning radio stuff.  

Brent Bambury, @CBCDay6

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