A podcast about nothing… or so the ladies (and guy) voicing Kitty Kitty Dinosaur [es] would have you believe on their website. Named after their favorite cat ladies (@dianadhevi @sumares) and resident dinosaur lover (@veedot), Kitty Kitty Dinosaur began as the (mostly) female answer to #EnProfundo, another Puerto Rican podcast known for its media critique and spirited conversations.
The members of Kitty Kitty Dinosaur come from all walks of life: some work full-time jobs on media related projects, others pursue graduate degrees, or work full-time retail jobs as struggling artists, or are writers with (and without) teaching jobs, and there's also an Occupational Therapist in the group. @dianadhevi, @veedot, @amypunchline, @amparoarrebato, @arsenic447, and @dr_zu try to take some time off their busy schedules every two weeks or so to record their observations and opinions on the current media climate and state of affairs in Puerto Rico.
@dianadhevi describes their work as:
…a podcast about nothing in particular, yet if you listen close enough you'll realize it's the voice of a generation of women that has been hidden for a long while behind a curtain of skepticism. We're not exactly the mothers of the next generation, nor are we the sexual feminazis taking back the dick that's rightfully ours. We're Plain Janes vying for our respect as human beings. Oh, and there's @arsenic447, of course.
We sent the group some questions regarding the podcast and its place within Puerto Rico's online community. @dianadhevi consulted with the other members of Kitty Kitty Dinosaur and sent the following replies our way.
Global Voices (GV): How did Kitty Kitty Dinosaur get started and what motivated you to begin sharing a podcast with the Puerto Rican blogosphere and general online community?
@dianadhevi: We were mostly inspired by what the crew of #EnProfundo [es] was doing, but we also felt that something was missing: that extra estrogen shot. So we tried our first podcast out. If you've heard it, you will agree it was deliciously disastrous. Not ones to be discouraged, we kept at it … and here we are (sixteen episodes later). A podcast gives you the opportunity to put yourself out there, which is exciting and intimidating. It's exciting to know that people will hear what you have to say -even if they don't agree with it- but it's intimidating because of how vulnerable you are. We share very personal things, we make mistakes, and it's there recorded for posterity.
GV: What topics are the most interesting to the group and how do you decide what to cover for each episode?
@dianadhevi: I think we are a diverse group with some common interests that unite us. Topics that interest all of us are politics and pop culture. We used to choose 3 to 4 broad topics to talk about, and we brought our personal perspectives about each. These topics were chosen out of suggestions we shared via email with each other during the week – stuff we thought was interesting. Now the format has become a little bit more like #EnProfund, more news oriented. We try to keep an eye out for interesting and relevant pieces of news.
GV: Are you involved in the Puerto Rican blogosphere and social media sphere in other ways besides the podcast? What do you think of those online communities?
@dianadhevi: Most of us are more or less active on Twitter, which can be turned into a Puerto Rican micro-environment if you let it. Myself and @dr_zu have collaborated in other media blogs (I covered Mad Men's fourth season for [es], for example, and we've both contributed to Puerto Rico IndieVortice Online [es]), while @amypunchline is intensely active in independent media (she's the most active of all of us, working in Frecuencias Alternas [es] and Música Realenga, among other projects). @amparoarrebato has forsaken cybernetic presence for personal presence instead (that you barely hear from her doesn't mean she's not around). @veedot has her own Tumblr account in which she uploads her works of art (some of them are available for sale too). @arsenic447 isn't as active in social media, but that's due to his intense love for Pokemon.
Of the online communities we're currently aware of, Twitter is the one in which most of us spend more time. It's a double-edged sword: you can get a quick feel for what people are saying and thinking about current events, but you can also be drowned by a sea of inconsequential bull. It's up to the individual user to sift through the sand to get to the pellets of gold [in knowledge] lying underneath.
Other blogs we're aware of (Vortice Online, Puerto Rico Indie, 80 Grados [es], Rojo Gallito, etc) are true proof that conventional media is being swiftly rendered unnecessary. There are progressively less and less people who will take a newscaster's “word for it” without double-checking online. Not to say “this is it,” because it would be foolish to think that tech-oriented folk are a majority, but “this is BECOMING it” one baby step at a time. We're also glad that there are young people out there taking matters into their own hands, seeking the truth, the data, the news. It was about damned time that the other side of the coin was shown in plain view and with equal opportunity!
GV: How are female and gay voices represented in traditional media? Is it the same online?
@dianadhevi: The female voice in traditional media has improved, but it sometimes fears to push the envelope. You have Joy Behar and Christiane Amanpour, who shine, but aren't as blatant and witty as Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Both of these men have brilliant female writers, but why is it that traditional media can't sell the idea of a woman being the face of this type of show? Gay voices in traditional media have been stifled or limited: they use the LGBT movement for ratings on talk shows and made-for-tv movies. But to give them space to really talk about anything and everything outside of a special allotted time? We don't see it happening yet.
Now, if we took into account only local Puerto Rican media, this becomes a very disheartening answer. Puerto Rican traditional media has kept itself shielded from any real progress: women are still widely regarded as talking sex symbols (at best), and gay people are still the butt end of jokes. In the most serious end of the spectrum, these are stones best left unturned. The issues at hand are still ignored or made light of.
“Online” is a whole different game, and maybe that's why there's a large portion of Puerto Ricans who don't know how to deal with the change in dynamics. We're learning, though, to be more tolerant of dissenting voices. “Online” is a whole different playground, nobody is really “shut up” since, when a voice is censored somewhere, it may sprout up at another spot and start broadcasting again. The “force” might be in numbers, but it is also in the validity of the wielded argument and the logic in reasoning. That's why it IS different online, inasmuch as we're dedicated to sticking to our points and views. Until now, it has worked pretty well.