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From: email@example.com Subject: Re: REPLY: War movies are right, too (2]-- as Historical fiction works and education values Date: March 11, 2010 12:08:49 AM EST To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Am finding that disagreement and agreement are part of the fare when it comes to movies and the presentations on H-War. Quite right, that Hollywodd is about entertainment and not historical accuracy. Sometimes, like some of the Vietnam films the effort is directed at more than entertainment but also making political or social statements. Where disagreement must enter into this presented, concerns the emphasis upon teaching. Teaching is a matter of what the educator is trying to accomplish and does not represent laziness. It can well, be a spur to even greater efforts, by pointing out what is not correct about films. This should it spur greater thought, analysis and exploration of the actual history to events and subjects can have a most worthwhile impact: >>> "The use of movies in classes makes for lazy teaching and the students tend to keep the images more in mind than any historical facts >that were brought up during class. >> 'Historical' Hollywood movies are just plain entertainment on a very low fact level." > Jorge Muth > > Mr. Muth is right, of course. That said, I respond "you can't beat something with nothing." Presumably he would agree that the beach sequence in "Saving Private Ryan" (for instance) provides a BETTER understanding of what the beach looked and sounded like than would a written account or the few still photographs that are available. Surely that scene isn't knowledge destroying, is it?" > --Mark Stout > Johns Hopkins University > > > >> > From: Dr David Keith Yelton <email@example.com> > Subject: War movies are right, too > Date: March 10, 2010 11:22:01 AM EST > To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> > > "I teach our undergraduate research methods course and in our section on sources, I include feature films as an option-under the category of historical fiction. It seems to me that is precisely where it belongs as all feature films are much like novels. They are works of art and as such their primary goal is not recording the past, but they can be used-in conjunction with other sources-to illuminate a point. And they serve as a good tool to encourage critical thinking (e.g. what's accurate? What's inaccurate? Why?). But anyone who relies exclusively on feature films for historical information might as well rely exclusively on novels and short stories. It's all historical fiction or fictionalized history. > Documentaries... now that's another discussion thread." > David Yelton > Professor of History > Gardner-Webb University > Boiling Springs, NC > There is considerable in this view to agree with as method and subject. Teaching historical film as a catagory of fiction would work well. Documentaries need closer analysis and study. Also teaching fiction films as format of war art would work. Wyatt Reader UCLA___Whittier College California > > [From: Westermeyer GS11 Paul W <firstname.lastname@example.org> > Subject: RE: COMMENT: War movies are right, too > Date: March 9, 2010 9:17:53 AM EST > To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> > > >> I think Mr Horky makes a very valid point, but the very intensity of historical films makes their dangers that much greater. They rarely provide any context for events, and especially recently are biased in favor of those with the least amount of knowledge concenring what was happening. > > And, frankly, the bias of filmmakers & the 'war movie canon' permeates these films. The result is propaganda as heavily biased as anything produced by Hollywood or Goebels during World War II, propaganda that is much more effective at shaping viewers' beliefs precisely because so few recognize it as propaganda. > > Of course, when historians try to correct the misinformation shown in such movies they can be easily dismissed as cranks focused on uniform details. > > I do not think there is any conspiracy here, it occurs with films from widely differing political views, it is just one of our more difficult issues as historians, and the one we are perhaps least trained to deal with.] > Paul Westermeyer > Historian, History Division > Marine Corps University > Paul.Westermeyer@usmc.mil > http://www.history.usmc.mil > > ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----