The Power of Words

Check out this short film, “Historia de un letrero,” which is arguably about the power of the written word:

I think this video has all sorts of potential uses in a composition course. One thing I’m planning to do in the fall is show this video to my class, but pause it before you see what the guy wrote on the back of the sign. Then I’ll ask “so, what did he write?” Students could brainstorm possibilities, and then we could vote on which candidates are most powerful. Then we’ll watch the end of the video.

What I like about this is that it could help build a sort of rhetorical simulation. The context and audience are built into the narrative: a blind man, apathetic passersby, a beautiful day, a tin cup, a sign. The problem? How to build identification (in a kind of Burkean sense) between the blind man and those around him. That is, at the heart of the film is a concern with persuasion.

From social media to games…

To segue the class from last week into this week here is something I found pretty interesting. It is a flash video, using the technique of machinima, posted on Vimeo (a website arguably similar to Youtube), that is a critique (the author calls it “reverse propaganda”) of U.S. military practices. Oh, and it just happens to be made by one of the guys that made the McDonalds game that was mentioned in this week’s reading.

So we’ve got a video, made with a video game, on a socially networked video sharing site, talking about a social issue, made by a video game designer.

It’s almost more meta than I can handle. Anyways, here it is:

Welcome to the desert of the real

Quick edit: I forgot to mention a key point: The video game used to make the machinima is America’s Army, which just happens to be the first person shooter that the Department of Defense commissioned in 2002, which was also talked about in the Bogost reading for this week.

Ownership, Copyrights, and “YouTube’s Original Sin”

Hi all — I hope everyone is having a great time off!

Since a lot of our in-class and out-of-class discussions have been around ownership, copyrighted materials, etc., I thought you’d find this article interesting: “YouTube’s Original Sin: The video site danced with the devil to get a massive traffic boost. Now it might pay the price.”

Enjoy.