Word of Mouth (DOG EAR)

Word of Mouth (DOG EAR)

aybe this is one of the reasons the world is so fucked up.

Oral histories.

And their demise.

It used to be, well before the 1920s, that people would get their opinions and world views from two places; books and word of mouth. If they knew anything about, say, World War One, they’d either read it (such as All Quiet on the Western Front) or directly hear it (possibly from Uncle Frank, who’d served with the American Expeditionary Force). They would get their insights either from an author (backed by his editor and publisher) or an uncle. Stories and accounts were generated from a small number of people.

Now, with TV (and movies, and later the internet), people’s access to media and stories and myths and fables have blossomed. Now a book is produced by a team of publishers “capturing market share”. Shows and movies are even worse – here departments of “producers and media specialists” ween and enhance their products to be the most intense (and sought after) experience possible. Anything that slows down the narrative is removed. It isn’t about what happened. You aren’t going to hear about how Uncle Frank never got near the front lines but one day in the motor pool he ended up talking to a German POW and learned that he was a person, too. No, in today’s movies you’re going to see Sergent  York killing tons of Germans for them killing his friend, concluding with him walking away from the German bunker, not even looking back when it blows up in a massive fireball.

As the director of a movie in The Great Waldo Pepper put it, “Historians provide accuracy. Artists provide truth.”

Blade Runner was like this – it was a very deliberate movie that dealt with mortality. In the end, the main character decides to throw everything away to live with someone who will die very shortly. But after the producers ran it by test audiences, they decided to tack on a happy ending. Suddenly she wasn’t going to die any day now. Suddenly everything was peaches and cream. Of course, the entire grim message of the movie was thrown away but hey, at least nineteen year olds on dates left the theater jabbering about the cool flying cars.

So there you go. And now, with hyper-media promoting untruths and changing our very government with lies and falsehoods, you end up with what you have, a civic body more concerned about cool CGI than ethical questions and deep answers.