Recitation 1/25 11:00-12:30

Brandon Silver

Recitation began with everyone introducing themselves by answering simple questions such as where they are from, why they took the class, and how familiar they are with films and American history since 1960.

After this, Jaap went over the syllabus and blog. We went over how to register for the blog as well as where different things are found within the blog.  We also went over the blog post due this week where we have to find a film that displays a similar theme to the lecture from last week as well as to comment on someone else’s blog post. Jaap also informed us of the recitation summary and reading presentation assignments and we all selected the time that we would like to do these assignments.

After this we watched 2 video clips and tried to connect these clips to the themes that were talked about in the previous lecture. The first clip we watched was from the first televised presidential debate between JFK and Richard Nixon. The second was from a film titled Primary that follows JFK and his opponent Humphries in the buildup to their primary election. The clip we watched that showed the debate reminded me of the theme of brainwashing from lecture because since this was the first televised debate, candidates could no longer just answer questions but they had to look good while answering. This reminded me of the theme of brainwashing because candidates no longer had to answer questions well because now they only had to look good in order to get a positive response from the public. This is obviously not brainwashing such as in The Manchurian Candidate but it allows candidates to send a different message to the viewer and it can easily make the debates into who looks better rather than who has the best ideas for the nation.

After watching the clips many other students also commented on what they thought of the video.   Many students felt that throughout the debate each candidate used communism as a way to play on the fear of the public. Also, another student pointed out that similarly to Manchurian Candidate, JFK used many comparisons to Abe Lincoln. This was interesting because Manchurian Candidate used this comparison as a satire of American politics because the most dishonest people were compared to Lincoln in the film but during the debate JFK used the comparison in order for the public to view him as an honest candidate.

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