Monday, November 12, 2007

Medium Cool

In the lecture today, two ideas came up which are discussed in one movie, how convenient? The first being the idea of the good and the bad 1960's and the second the power of television. The movie Medium Cool (1969) by writer and director Haskell Wexler tells the story of a television reporter during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. It focuses on the racial tensions in the "ghettos" and the brutality of the police towards the political protesters. The film looks at closely at the power and uses of the news media (relating to our question of how TV swayed the American public during the Vietnam War). The reporter quits his job when he finds out that his network is letting the FBI use his unedited film to look for "radical" suspects in the primarily African American "ghettos." After quitting he goes to film the convention where he witnesses the police brutality towards the protesters. The movie is edited beautifully with real clips of the convention and also of the protest and riot outside. It shows the police using dogs, tanks and many other methods to stop the protesters. Through these devices it provides the viewer with images of the "bad" 1960's and also the power and morality of television. It is a very interesting movie to watch since it discusses both of these themes which we heard about in class and also shows clips of what was actually happening.

-Peter Lubershane

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