Inside Citibank’s homophobia, how to clean art with tattoo removal lasers, and populism with brains. All this and more.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in new windows. Newer ones are on top.

Citibank’s Snafu Over Gay Site Looks Familiar

Citibank apologized Thursday evening to a gay social-networking service that claimed bank employees had blocked its account for “objectionable content” on the site.

Does Citibank Suffer From Homophobia or Just a General Dislike for Startups? I just finished reading a very unsettling blog post by serial entrepreneur Jason Goldberg, whose new startup fabulis has apparently had its bank account blocked by Citibank over posting “objectionable content” on its company blog, at least according to a bank employee he spoke to on the phone. (See update above)

The Secret Language of Signs Three years ago today, the 33 members of the Bluffton University baseball team boarded a bus at their campus in Bluffton, Ohio. It was early evening, and the college students had a long night ahead of them—an 18-hour ride, punctuated only by bathroom breaks, fuel stops, and a planned breakfast at McDonald’s. But their destination was enticing: Sarasota, Fla., which promised sunshine and the first game of their season.

Laser Surgery Technique Gets New Life in Art Restoration A laser technique best known for its use to remove unwanted tattoos from the skin is finding a second life in preserving great sculptures, paintings and other works of art, according to an article in the American Chemical Society’s monthly journal, Accounts of Chemical Research.

Qatar offer to top India artist Renowned Indian artist MF Husain, under attack from hard-line Hindus for his paintings of nude Hindu goddesses, has been offered Qatari nationality.

Audiences hate modern classical music because their brains cannot cope Modern classical music is so widely disliked by audiences because the human brain struggles to find patterns it needs to understand the compositions as music.

Never has the world historical and cultural record been more accessible — or Once upon a time, news stories were entombed in newspaper “morgues” and rarely saw the dusty light of day.

Altruism — harder than it looks … Giving away free umbrellas in the middle of a rainstorm is not that easy.

Judith Butler: As a Jew, I was taught it was ethically imperative to speak up Why do we use term “bi-nationalism”? For me it is the beginning of a process, not the end. We could say “multi-nationalism,” or “one-state solution.” Why do we prefer to use the term “bi-nationalism” rather than “one state” now?

Populism With Brains When President Obama sounded a populist note in the wake of the Republican victory in the Senate race in Massachusetts, conservative commentators went wild. Left-leaning populists (think the 1896 presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan or Senator Huey Long and his Share Our Wealth program in the 1930s) have been regularly vilified as hayseeds gone mad.

Can journalism schools help save journalism? It seems like a logical place for news organizations to turn for a lifeline. Newsrooms nationwide have seen huge cuts in recent years, and many long-running newspapers have shut down; journalism schools, on the other hand, have flourished, with applications rising last year at all the major programs.

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.