In chapter 4 of the book, Bill Nichols writes:
“Put differently, documentary films usually contain a tension between the specific and the general, between historically unique moments and generalizations. Without generalizing, documentaries would be little more than records of specific events and experiences. Were they nothing but generalizations, documentaries would be little more than abstract treatises. It is the combination of the two, the individual shots and scenes that locate us in a particular time and place and the organization of these elements into a larger whole, that gives the documentary tradition its power and fascination.”
We have seen this a lot this semester, the thin line between the general and the specific; but nowhere close to as much as it is presented in The Thin Blue Line. As you know by now, it is a film that uses a mission in its motivation–the mission of getting to the truth of a crime by uncovering evidence that might not have been there before in a way to let the public know that, generally and specifically, the filmmaker thought that justice had not been served. I want you to Google “results of The Thin Blue Line” or something similar in an attempt to get an idea what the film did after its release (it did A LOT). And I would LOVE for you watch The Jinx (you can rent it on Amazon, it’s super cheap) and compare it to The Thin Blue Line. It is FASCINATING, and much of it happened around these parts (Galveston especially, but also Houston). Then I want you address the following in a 3 page paper (at least), double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt font, 1″ margins all around).
What role does media serve in the search for different forms of justice? Be very specific, and use the book to help make your argument. There has been a TON of stuff that has happened recently about this (Ferguson, school shootings, etc); and while I don’t want you to get overly political here, I want you to talk about how the media has tried to bring a different form/forms of justice to these events. I don’t want you to voice your opinion in overt terms, but rather I want you to discuss the media specifically in how they search for ways to find justice according to the media’s terms (different forms of media like TV, documentary film, newspapers, websites, etc). Not how they present it, but how they act as justice makers/finders. In The Jinx (without revealing too much), the filmmakers DID SOMETHING that the cops/FBI did not do/could not do, and as a result the filmmaker became a part of the story–which is exactly what happened in The Thin Blue Line. So discuss this however you want, but keep it focused on how and why (specifically) the media thinks of itself as a part of the justice system in (particularly America).
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