06 October 2009 @ 08:45 am
The -Psychological Science- article  
Thanks to [ profile] kayloulee for noticing the article on absorbing historical inaccuracies from films has already been published! I'm mirroring the link she provided; change xx to tt [here].

eta: and let's debunk another common myth while we're here. Reading about a given subject - doing research into the historical authenticity of a film - is fairly easy for everyone reading this, by virtue of the fact that you're . . . reading. Not everyone is similarly equipped to find the relevant information in books or other textual sources. In the U.S., for example, the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (the most recent comprehensive study of adult literacy at the national level) found that at least seven million people, whose first language was English, were completely illiterate. (4 million more couldn't take the test because English was not their first language - while those people may be able to analyze texts in another language, it's not guaranteed that they would have access to texts in their first language here in the U.S.) 30 million Americans had 'below basic' literary skills (meaning they could handle "simple and concrete" texts); 63 million Americans had 'basic' skills (meaning they could "perform simple and everyday literacy activities.") That's an awful lot of people for whom reading is not a remedy for what they've seen in a film.

Results of the literacy study are [here]
05 October 2009 @ 09:37 am
"it's just a TV show!" . . . um, no  
From [ profile] deadbrowalking - A study out of Washington University in St Louis has found that students who watch historical movies in history classes will remember the inaccuracies in those movies as fact, unless they are warned about specific inaccuracies before the movie begins. [There's an overview of the study here] - the full report will be published in Psychological Science later this year.

Let's think about that - for the majority of people to understand that what they're seeing in a fictionalized, historical movie is not fact, they need someone to stand in front of them before the movie and explain, instance by instance, what is untrue, exaggerated, or muddied.

Forget the classroom - how many people have that person standing in front of them before they see Dances with Wolves, or Glory, or Saving Private Ryan, or The Patriot? And how many folks have that person standing in front of them before they see any of the hundreds of television shows that rely on old, gnarly tropes about gender, sexuality, disability, race, and religion?

The next time anyone says anything's "just a TV show!" or "just a movie!" I'm going to bean them in the head with a copy of Psychological Science.