Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Learning Through Images and Media

    I recently engaged in a dialogue on different learning techniques in my Teaching Creative Writing course that I felt was worth sharing, partly because it involves my favorite subject (comics!). I want to talk about this also because of a concept I feel is that is important for everyone- do we really think about what medium we read our words in/on, and do we also think about who is supplying our words? Are these mediums and authors the source of the 'truth' we all crave, or do they just punctuate it?

   Allow me to explain in a little more detail, one rife with silly images and nerd-specific lore. Here is a link (and a preview) of a famous panel from the comic V for Vendetta by Alan Moore. In the comic we see the following text: [While the dialogue below is a part of the whole panel, I omitted the start just to show how the dialogue 'could' feel like it was from any source, although here I *want* you to know it is from a comic]

   Since mankind's dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We've seen where their way leads though camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse. In anarchy, there is another way. With anarchy, from rubble comes new life, hope re-instated. They say anarchy's dead, but see ... reports of my death were ... exaggerated.  

   With that example having been given there are many things to consider here with the comic in question:

--- Who wrote it? Alan Moore
--- Did Moore have an agenda with the comic? According to his interview + the forward, yes.
--- Does the comic itself express an agenda with politics?  Yes, it does.
--- Does the art have a purposeful style meant to accent the Author/Comic's 'Vision/Voice?' Yes
--- Are the opinions expressed above my own based on having read the comic? Yes

   Some people will come to certain conclusions about the language/intent of the text based on the medium that they read it in, sometimes with more/less influence given if the author is known or unknown. Given the nature of how (mainly) comics are viewed, many might classify the dialogue above as something worthy only of 'entertainment.' To some the medium defines the content without giving the chance for the content to stand alone. This is not unexpected however, but here is why I am trying to bring it up - so you can/will consider this when you read something next.

   Consider the following - Who is publishing, or who paid to publish, the book or magazine you read. If you get the author's name, Google them. Search them out, find out more! What else have they written? Is their writing consistent in its vision and voice?

   So, here is the last part of my little 'post.' Below is a speech from a popular written medium, one especially famous now on the internet. Read the dialogue and DON'T click on the link with the 'reveal' of who the speaker is until you have 'meditated' on the dialogue, etc...

   Think about if your opinion changes based on the 'reveal' at the end. It is OKAY if it you find the words of less or more importance afterwards. This is only a small though experiment and I'd love to hear your results!

   [ If you already know who is speaking because you recognize the dialogue  imagine it from other sources and think on if it is more/less important that way ... ]

 "Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.
This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree besides the river of truth, and tell the whole world ---- No. You move."

1 comment:

Kat said...

This was a very interesting blog, Michael! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I liked the quote at the end, and though the author did surprise me, it was a good surprise.

I think that we as individuals take advantage of the fact that we have such instantaneous access to information far too often. Having this information has altered the way that we perceive certain things. For example, if you had told us the author of that quote before hand, many people would probably laugh or not consider for themselves whether they believe it to be valid.

So yeah, those are my thoughts. I hope y'all are doing well! :)

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