Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

deep in my heart

It has been incredibly harrowing following the news from Iran. We are learning lessons about bravery, commitment and justice.

Joan Baez sings "We Shall Overcome" (with some lyrics in Farsi) for the Iranian people.

We are also learning more about how to navigate the so-called new media. One thing I like about the new media is that it is all critical literacy all the time. As I read along on Twitter, 140 characters or less at a time, it was interesting to watch how some sources came to be trusted(ish) and some were rejected.

Vietnam was the first "television war," the first "living-room war." What did it mean to the war and what did it mean to the people watching?

"The conventional wisdom has generally been that for better or for worse it was an anti-war influence. It brought the "horror of war" night after night into people's living rooms and eventually inspired revulsion and exhaustion. The argument has often been made that any war reported in an unrestricted way by television would eventually lose public support. Researchers, however, have quite consistently told another story... Only during the 1968 Tet and 1972 Spring offensives, when the war came into urban areas, did its suffering and destruction appear with any regularity on TV. For the first few years of the living room war most of the coverage was upbeat. ... By the fall of 1967, polls were already showing a majority of Americans expressing the opinion that it had been a "mistake" to get involved in Vietnam ... television was probably more a follower than a leader in the nation's [United States of America] change of course in Vietnam." -- from the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

Television told its story from September 1959 to April 1975. The Winter Soldiers told theirs in February 1971:

"We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out." -- John Kerry at the Winter Soldier hearings :: transcript.

The Winter Soldier Investigation received little media coverage at the time but did prompt the April and May 1973 Fulbright Hearings.

But a revolution was tweeted and You Tubed. We turned our profile pictures green. We navigated amateur and professional news reporters and we tried to find a truth. As reporting gets more and more immediate and we hear more and more perspectives, we work on our media literacy skills so that we can understand our world better and see it more clearly and deeply. I am not happy about the violence and injustice in Iran but I am happy that everybody seems to be questioning everything again.

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