Your discussion about your students' challenge in finding themselves in
the current tragedy reminded me of a documentary I happened upon late
one night a couple of years ago. I caught the very end of a film that
presented a video conference between Iraqian and American college
students as they explored each other's culture in a "developmentally
appropriate" manner. A film crew followed these young adults in their
own environment so that each group could witness each others context
from a perspective that was not tainted by the mainstream media. My
recollection was that all students were amazed at how similar life was
in many ways but how different they were in terms of how they saw
themselves in this thing called life. It was on the international
channel and I never was able to find out the title or source of this
film. Is anyone aware of this film? I would love the opportunity to use
it in my teaching.
Mike Cole wrote:
>David, Eugene et al who have been discussing the situation in Iraq. I have not
>engaged this discussion because I am uncertain how to contribute usefully. The
>situation is one which I forsaw, taught against, and of course, was run over by.
>Just two points of potential value.
>1. As a professor of communication for the past 25 years, I have been stunned over
>and over again by the extent to which my students, the "top 12 1/2%" of high
>school students in my state are in a state of incredible ignorance about the world
>beyond their immediate environment. Without going into detail, my conclusion is that
>they believe the picture of themselves and their country held up to them by the
>media. But in using the term media, I do NOT mean the major networks or newspapes.
>Despite the fact that they are COMMUNICATION students, they cannot see beyond
>Friends, Buffy, and the Superbowl.
> When the Iraq crisis was pushed to the brink of war I was teaching a course on
>reading the news. My students could not identify where Iraq is in the world, could
>not explain why the US was pressuring Turkey, did not know why the French were
>involved, and, generally speaking, did not know ANYTHING about the situation that
>would allow them to have an informed, never mind critical opinion. They also did not
>appreciate being made aware of any of the circumstances of the situation.
>2. Tonight, on the PBS Newshour (available, i assume, at pbs.org or some such address.,
>there was a program with Ray Suarez that made me proud of the American media. Seymour
>Hirsh, a retired Marine bigwig, and an Arabic news channel person discussed the situation
>in terms that made very clear the bottom to top and top to bottom cesspool of US culpability.
>No holds barred, not excuses.
>Given our slide into becoming our enemy, noted in this discussion, I was heartened to see that
>not all voices of resistence in the media have been silenced. And give a thought or two to
>Don Hewitt of 60 minutes, who others have tried to ease out of his position. He has managed to
>make the most watched program in the country say the unspeakable routinely for many years and
>hold onto his ratings. No mean trick.
>Not worth a lot, but perhaps not worth nothing.
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