Posts Tagged ‘Democracy Now’

KhizrkhanIn this Presidential election season (or perhaps we should start calling it “epoch” with the current length of campaigns in the U.S.), it is no surprise to return regularly to political topics through our posts following the recent “Ands” and thes” and things like that and the earlier Politics, Satire, and Media as well as Politics & Media 2.  Meanwhile, the recent flurry of media-fueled moments in the current Presidential campaign has generated moments of visual communication that appear to have all the earmarks of major historical images in the making.  The appearance of the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq in 2004, at the Democratic National Convention has set off some of the most powerful political aftershocks seen in contemporary American politics.  There are many indications that the image of Mr. Khizr Khan pulling out a pocket-sized version of the American constitution from his jacket to punctuate a major point in his speech, with his wife Ghazala Khan standing stoically by his side, will stand as a striking image of our times.

UnknownAstonishingly, the Khans had already appeared in an acclaimed documentary from 2008 that featured families of slain American veterans: Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery.  In this piece appearing today on Democracy Now!, an excerpt from the film is shown which depicts the couple visiting their son’s grave and both Khizr and Ghazala Khan discussing the impact of his death and their visits to the cemetery on their lives.  There is also an interview with a co-director of the film, Jon Alpert.     

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One of the logos for the group responsible for the Kony 2012 Viral Campaign and 11 short films over the past decade.

Earlier this week, while my media class was working in groups on an upcoming project, one student turned to me and said, “Kony 2012.  You’ve got to check this out.  A major event is happening right now in how media works.  I’m not saying it’s good, but you should check it out.” Later during that same period, other students started talking about it; some had shared it from Facebook, some were talking about celebrity posts on Twitter, some were thinking about doing something in response to this piece.  The next day, I even heard 7th graders talking about it in a Middle School class that I teach.

Indeed, this week, a phenomenon burst into the scenes of social media, non-fiction moviemaking, and how moving images are functioning in our world today.  I would recommend for teachers and students to look at the Kony 2012 movie using the questions for Chapter 6, “Recording and Presenting Reality,” on pages 237-238 of Moving Images.  Notable subjects for discussion of this media document are the presence of director Jason Russell in the voiceover and images; the use of his young son as one of the primary figures in the images; the digital techniques used in the movie; and marketing methods employed by the filmmakers and this group.  Here is an excellent article from the New York Times on the phenomenon of the Kony Video going viral.  In addition, here is a one of the rare news pieces appearing in major media – in this case from Democracy Now – about the deployment of troops to Uganda by the Obama administration in October 2011.

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