From: IN%"email@example.com" 24-MAY-1995 06:01:15.33
One of the values of exchanges like the one taking place about "truth" in film and text is that it illustrates the very issues being discussed. There is a record that can be referred to, and judgements can be made based on an assessment of what has been said. From Herodotus through Hayden White, historians have at least sought reference to "events" and their products, "facts." Events, it would seem to most observers, happen; facts are derived from events and subsumed under a web of description. The movie "Forrest Gump" has occurred - the fact that a particular quote from the movie has significance for an argument is something else. Rosenstone has been concerned to address the problem that comes from the task of translating written discourse in imagistic discourse. He, I think rightly, asks questions about this issue, or "problem", because he recognized that most people are increasingly influenced by images, and as Neil Postman has perceptively argued, we need new tools to help us navigate the discourse of images. Hayden White, someone who has led a movement in history toward analysis of its narrative components, has written that "sequences of shots and the use of montage or closeups can be made to predicate quite as effectively as phrases." He obviously believes that the syntax of film construction mirrors the lexical, grammatical, and syntactical dimensions of spoken or written language. It is certainly something worth exploring. It would seem that recent circumstances in which images have been misused to "portray reality" (i.e., CBS news re-creation of exploding ford pick-ups, depicting the "truth" of their mis-design) should call this issue into heightened relief for further discussion. Perhaps the "truthfulness" of film sequences are found, not at the level of concrete connections to "reality", but rather at the level of what White has called "typification" or representation.
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