The Patriot On-Line: Discussion Network Posts from H-Film and H-War
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 30, Number 2, 2000
- pp. 63-68
- Additional Information
The Patriot On-Line I Sickels The Patriot On-Line: Discussion Network Posts from H-FiIm and H-War Edited by Robert Sickels, Film and History The rise of the internet as a routine part of our everyday lives has forever changed the way academics engage in discussion about contemporary films. In "the old days" (i.e. a scant 3 or 4 years ago!) contemporary criticism was what one read in journals and heard at conferences in the first few years after the release of a film. However, internet discussion networks have revolutionized the nature of the way we present and debate our ideas; while we still publish in and read journals and present at and go to conference sessions, we no longer have to wait months to discuss our ideas about the latest releases with our peers. Instead , we start threads on the discussion networks of our various organizations, some of which produce days or even weeks of spiritedly contentious argument and insightful analysis. This trend is a particularly welcome development for film scholars as we are now able to talk with our colleagues about a film while it is still in release, which gives us the chance to holistically take into account the public and media response as well as that of the academic film community. An excellent example of this phenomenon can be found in the case of the recently released The Patriot, which was met with a firestorm of interest on a number of internet discussion networks. What follows is a chronological selection from the deluge ofresponses to The Patriot posted on two ?-Net discussion networks , H-FiIm and H-War. Their breadth reflects the diverse nature of film criticism and illustrates how discussion list threads can often result in engaged intellectual debates that would have otherwise had to wait on the backburner while we wrote our articles and prepared our conference presentations. Because of its being an historically based film, The Patriot generated a number of posts that questioned its historicity. As we might expect, our British colleagues were particularly quick to point out inaccuracies in the depiction of events and characters. But the debate went much further, covering such topics as the movie's dual role as history teller and money maker, its place in the context of film history and popular culture, concerns about Hollywood's dominance over the world's film markets, and the film's reception by audiences and the media. For those who simply want to get some insights into the film, the responses are particularly helpful, but for those who plan further study, the directions for research suggested in the following posts may well prove invaluable. This series was duplicated with the permission of the list owners involved, both under the aegis of H-NET. Many thanks to Steve Mintz of H-FILM and to Mark Parillo of H-WAR. Their Father and son plan an ambush. list and many others can be found be typing into YAHOO the name H-NET. An entire spectrum of wonderful web sites and discussion groups will then be brought within your ken. Robert C. Sickels, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington sickelrc @whitman, edu H-FiIm The Patriot Thread at H-FiIm: Perhaps anticipating complaints about the Nazification of the British in The Patriot, Mel Gibson had this to say in his interview published at www.boxoffice.com [accessible at ]. He does not cite his sources. GIBSON: I think it's the cinematic things, the things that one would presume are the modifications we make for cinema. For example, if you read about the guys who signed the Constitution or signed the Declaration ofIndependence, all those guys, they had horrible lives! Really horrible things happened to these people! They were tortured and imprisoned and their kids were butchered and all kinds of hideous things. And then they ended Vol. 30.2 (2000) I 63 Sickels I The Patriot On-Line up going crazy and going into lunatic asylums or killing themselves . And you find these things in this story. And sometimes you think, "Whoa! That's a bit hard. They're doing that surely so that they can do revenge now, or they...