Friday, February 22, 2013

One size fits all, doesn't it?

...the idea that documentary filmmakers only present their version of history is generally acknowledged (Toplin 1988; Eitzen 2005); filmmakers do not necessarily think they are presenting completely accurate history. The problem is that, whereas academic historians are armed with tools for presenting opposing interpretations of evidence, such as footnotes and peer review, the limitations of video as a medium (most importantly, time limits) means that the audience of a documentary film is often left unaware of alternative interpretations. The lack of competing historical interpretations in most popular documentary films leaves the audience with the false impression that "history is a tidy operation, that it involves little more than laying out the chronology and ‘getting the story straight’” (Toplin 1986: 1216).—Archaeology, Bible, Politics, and the Media, pages 97-98

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