The Progressive Gift Guide, 2006
Holiday gifts to inspire, educate, and amuse.
Countdown, Dec. 8, 2006
At a loss of what to give that special progressive someone on your list? Here are some gift suggestions from the Campus Progress staff designed to inspire, educate, and amuse.
For the retro hipster:
- Indie rockers nationwide lamented when Converse was sold to Nike in 2003, but now there’s a way to indulge your penchant for 1970s style without all the guilt. As part of the (Product) Red campaign, Converse has introduced a special line of sneakers from which they’ll donate some profits to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Rock on. Other (Product) Red options include an iPod and Razr phone.
For the art history major:
- Back in the 1980s, feminist artist/activist collective the Guerilla Girls hit the streets of New York with a media savvy campaign highlighting the art world’s dirty little secret: On the walls of world’s most respected museums and contemporary galleries, female artists accounted for only 3 percent of the work. Today, the Guerilla Girls have expanded their mission to criticisms of Hollywood. Did you know only three female directors have ever been nominated for an Academy Award? A bevy of awesome Guerilla Girls products are available here, from a recreation of the famous “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?” poster to The Guerilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art.
For the musically curious:
- Bambu and Kiwi make up the Filipino-Californian hip hop duo Native Guns. Both musicians are former gang members who refocused their energy and talents to make some amazing music. Their latest album is Barrel Men.
- TV on the Radio is a rock band—except when they’re not. Suffused with New Wave touches, their latest album, Return to Cookie Mountain, is pop-y, dance-y, techno-y and unapologetically political in lamenting the United States’ turn toward war under the Bush administration.
- Hailing from Brighton, England, The Pipettes dress like diner waitresses, harmonize like a 1950s girl group, and with declarations of sexual appetite, nod in the direction of 1990s feminist favorites LeTigre, Ani Difranco, and Liz Phair. On their debut album, We are the Pipettes, the ladies sing, “I don’t love you, you’re just a one night stand,” and shut down verbose suitors with, “No offense…but why don’t we get right to the point?”
- If classic rock and folk are more your thing, don’t miss Bruce Springsteen and friends covering veteran troubadour Pete Seeger on We Shall Overcome. These songs will remind you what protest music is all about—giving voice to the voiceless, and articulating American values at their progressive best.
- Miri Ben-Ari is known as “The Hip Hop Violinist.” She’s been featured on tracks from some of the industry's most prominent, including Kanye West, Jay-Z, Wyclef Jean, John Legend, and Akon, and her own single, "Symphony of Brotherhood," hit the Billboard Top 20. Born in Israel, Ben-Ari has led a fascinating life, including Israeli military service during which was chosen to play with the Israeli String Quartet. Don’t miss her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner with Doug E. Fresh.
For the activist:
- Dave Eggers’ new novel about the Sudanese Lost Boys, What is the What lends Eggers’ trademark experimental style to the issue of the genocide in Darfur. Eggers adopts the voice of real-life survivor Valentino Achak Deng in this fictionalized memoir. Forced by Arab militias from his native village, Deng survives his trek across Sudan to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya and immigrates to the United States.
- And also from the Gen-X do-gooders over at McSweeney’s, if you’re looking for tools for your favorite civil rights or anti-poverty activist, consider the two new Voice of Witness volumes: Surviving Justice: America’s Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated and Voices from the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and its Aftermath. Both books are filled with first-person testimonies from survivors, illustrations of these all-too-often faceless individuals, and appendices of useful facts for activists.
- First published in 1971, Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals still serves up a dose of realism to complement the idealism of young activists. Learn practical skills for how protest movements can affect change in governments, corporations, and other institutions.
For the magazine snob:
- Stop Smiling calls itself "the magazine for high-minded lowlifes." In a sea of eye candy mags featuring designers and indie celebs—lets call this the lowlife media—Stop Smiling takes the time to produce a refined, original, and above all literate take on the contemporary world. But be careful, each issue comes with several different covers, so you might find yourself buying four subscriptions for the collector's value.
For the Chanukah-celebrator:
- Encourage your favorite member of the tribe to be Jewish all year round with a subscription to Guilt and Pleasure, our preference among the new hipster Jew publications because of its awesome title, fascinating long-form journalism, and beautiful design.
- Backwards Bush products will let you know, down to the tenth of the second, how much longer our esteemed president will be in office
And if you’d like to honor a friend or family-member with a donation in their name to a charity, here are some of our favorites:
- Support Campus Progress – duh! – in our critical mission to help young people make their voices heard and empower new generations of progressive leaders.
- Google will donate $10 for every $30 you give to awesome groups like the Campus Climate Challenge (total disclosure: Campus Progress is a very proud member of the CCC coalition), the Acumen Fund to fight malaria, and the Global Fund for Women.
- The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund is a national civil rights law and policy center seeking to advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities through legal advocacy, training, education, and public policy and legislative development.
- Planned Parenthood makes a real difference in our communities, providing teenagers, young women, the uninsured, and other high-risk groups with reproductive health services and information they often can’t access anywhere else.
- The National Urban League is fundraising to help Katrina survivors and provide food, housing assistance, job training, and other services to the poor in cities across the United States.
- Amnesty International has been defending human rights around the world since 1961, making a moral stand against torture, the death penalty, unlawful imprisonment, corporate abuses, and arms proliferation.
- The global fact-finding apparatus at Human Rights Watch is unmatched, and their reports are consistently instrumental in prosecuting war criminals.
- Child’s Play was founded by gamers to provide toys and books to kids in children’s hospitals.
- Forward Face, helps children and their families find immediate support to manage the medical and social effects of facial differences.
- The Children’s Partnership looks out for America’s most disadvantaged kids, with a focus on providing them with health care and equal access to technology.
- For more great organizations, check out the search tools at Good Search.
Happy holidays from Campus Progress!