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10/25 Notes

platano's picture

Considerations for class discussion

-time management

-was the conversation about whether or not Arne Naess was a nazi effective/useful?


Ideas on Serendip Posts:

-topic in class that was left unfinished

-didn’t get to say in class

-evaluation of the reading

-something people can respond to

-Rant about something that you wouldn’t say in class


Topics Covered in Serendip Posts

Narratives, use-value, reality

-uncertainty in etymology

            -look for “senses” of words, not definitions

            -by shaping a context creating a narrative of the English languge

            -no single definitive meaning/reality

            -allows for a range of senses


War of The Worlds


1938: dramatic fiction was misheard as a factual report

(LATER interpreted as a metaphor for communism)

->one form of mass communication

->medium: oral, made it easier for people to believe it

->hard to pick up cues

->realistic theater does intend to “fool” people, suspend disbelief, effective

->if you can imagine it, maybe it could happen

->seemed so unbelievable it had to be real, whereas: we’ve been desensitized


Because of 9/11

-bombsquad called for glowing machines that advertised for Aqua Teen Hunger Force


Because of Amtrak Scare

-flower truck crashed, and people were suspicious


Therefore, if people are primed to be hysterical, they will be hysterical


US had never had a massive land invasion

-no reference point, more believable

-didn’t have many sources/background to back it up


No One wants to believe that people can lie so well

-set up in a report style: it’s not in our nature to consider it a lie


It’s not that we don’t want people to lie, but that fiction should remain fiction, and that nonfiction should be nonfiction

There were 4 flags that told you it was fake



-got an expert in two minutes

-11 miles in ten minutes

-only 3.8 miles between cities



BUT: no time to fact check, instinct is to protect people

Could have checked another radio station to confirm facts


FDR’s voice was evoked: said it was other government official, but uses his format of speech


There is a strong connection to narratives/dramatic stories

Another planet=unbelievable, their knowledge=limited

Speculated it was an attack from Germany

Science fiction not established, weren’t used to these stories

(WE are used to planets in a fiction setting)

Depends on how familiar you are with the genre & the information you know

Experience: Combination of known impact of threat coupled with the unknown


History/Specific Era

-not out of the depression, concerns w/ japan & germany. gearing up for WWII: trying to avoid war, but getting organized just in case (unconsidered threat: outer space)


Why do we readily confuse fact/fiction?

-mental construct, had confidence

-prestigious people were providing information

-there were specific details provided

-people who were closer to scene cared more


Radio: Entertainment/ News source

Our expectations could affect the view of reality, twist fiction/nonfiction

Facts created by present day of things that happened in the past

Collective Narratives that became factual: believing makes it true

Stories about the end of the world/roller coasters are exciting, deviate from normal schedule

Biblical texts: fact/fiction?

-refigure categories based on the intention of the reader (vs. the intention of the writer)


Recognized it as a Halloween trick b/c they recognized Orson Welles’ voice

It’s accomplishing for a writer to create a world for people to enter into, made it believable

However, it can be disturbing for writers if their readers act as if they know the characters

In YouTube Vid: Orson Welles looked upset, may be performing in order to not look like a jerk


Is your education teaching you to be skeptical?

-unreliability of internet

-people speak w/ an ironic, detached voice

-taught to be critical thinkers

-taught to question everything, which can lead to questioning religion


F for Fake



MTV reality: splicing, narratives, confessional

-style is realistic but about fakery: you’re told its fake



-Questioning if it is real? & If the people really do exist

-Hard time following the plot of the film

-kept off balance in order to make you believe the last 17 minutes

-If interest in art, it would call into question expertise

-Doesn’t matter if paintings are real because if people believe it then it becomes real

(it depends on the intention of the perceiver)



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