Friday, December 05, 2008

Excerpt from the 5th supplement for HUM 220: Peace/Conflict Studies (Historical Perspectives) course

(Excerpt from the 5th supplement for my Peace/Conflict Studies course)

Some additional resources
The documentaries I mentioned:

Why We Fight (in which John McCain appeared)
Film online
In the beginning of the film Jarecki shows Eisenhower’s Military-Industrial speech
Another great resource in this film is Chalmers Johnson one of the most important historians of the American Empire. I highly recommend his book Nemesis (if you are interested google his name)

The Ground Truth (which examines the treatment of soldiers after they come back—the entire film is told through the voices of only soldiers and their families)
Entire Film Online

Nicole mentioned Body of War (thanks—I haven’t seen this one—about one wounded soldier’s experiences after coming back from the current war)
Trailer and Entire Film Online

Another film that I didn’t mention, but is worth considering with the others is War Made Easy (based on Norman Solomon’s book) which examines how presidential administrations (democrat and republican) frame war (propaganda) and how the mainstream media is complicit in repeating these lies without questioning them:
Trailer and Film online

Orwell Rolls in His Grave looks at the increasing problems associated with a corporate-dominated mainstream media that works hand-in-hand with the most powerful to “construct” reality for an increasingly passive and uninformed citizenry:
Trailer and Film Online

Standard Operating Procedure is the documentary by Errol Morris that examines the events surrounding the Abu Ghraib prison photos (I believe there were over 600+) and the fate of the prison guards and the Bush administration’s/Military administration’s attempt (successful) to distance itself from the scandal:
This is a brand new DVD release, so only the trailer is available online
You can find this in video stores—highly recommended as Morris powerfully explores truth, memory, images and perception.

All of these are available in video stores (I guess I should start the move toward calling them DVD stores) and/or DVD mailing services like Netflix, Green Cine and Facets. In other words these are fairly mainstream releases (at least in the availability of the films—they were in American theaters and released widely on DVD)

Some of the background for my discussion in class:

I first heard about the Vietnam Soldier independent press/coffeehouses (as a media scholar this aspect of the film is very interesting) in Bob Ostertag’s People’s Movements, People’s Press: The Journalism of Social Justice Movements which has chapters on abolitionists, woman suffragists, gay/lesbian press, the underground GI press, the environmental movement.

Some of my current thoughts on how governments/media (in particular our own) shape our views on the necessity of war have been influenced by:

Munitions of the Mind: A History of Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Present Day by Philip M. Taylor

When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina by Lance W. Bennet/Regina G. Lawrence/Steven Livingston (I also highly recommend Lance W. Bennett's News: The Politics of Illusion and his website loaded with political communication resources)

The Political Economy of Media by Robert McChesney (author/narrator of the book/documentary we watched Rich Media, Poor Democracy)

Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson
An interview with Chalmers Johnson on Democracy Now about the book

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein and a Democracy Now interview with her about the book and various lectures by her on the subject

Noam Chomsky’s studies on government propaganda

Howard Zinn’s people’s histories and studies on media

Nancy Snow’s studies on American persuasion, influence and propaganda

Last, but not least, the various people studying the current “language shaping our perception of the War on Terror”:

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