Re: attrocious behavior

From: Nate (
Date: Tue May 04 2004 - 03:26:21 PDT

David Atencio, UNM wrote:

> Hi Mike,
> 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.
> David Atencio
> 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 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.
>> mike

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