Maui 2011 042 by M I K E M O R R I S
I have taken a lot of time to write on collective memory in film and society over the years. I have written, for example on the Holocaust and on the presentation of memory in Germany and commemorations and/or memorials in other lands. I have written about memories of WWII on three continents. Finally, I have written about the Vietnam era and post-Vietnam war education--and memories surround the movie Forrest Gump and the film's relationship to images used in other films, i.e. its relationship to the reality on the ground of which it represents.
Recently, I came across an older--but trailblazing--article on the topic of
The authors go further, though, and indicating that media is also overwhelming possible family practices in educating our youth about
I personally find that the Cold War-Era with its own particular narrations have, however, continued to fuel American memory even as the period of Global Terrorism has supposedly overtaken our current new conceptualizations of reality and memory.
The article by Weinburg et. al. begins  as follows: " HISTORICAL NARRATIVES envelop us everywhere--at home, at church, at the movies; in the buildings we inhabit, the parks we visit, the stamps we lick; in the days we take off from work, the newspapers we read, and the six-o'clock news we receive from Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather. By the time young people reach their eighteenth birthday in our culture, they possess a rich narrative of origins--how the United States came into being, the roots of the race issue that divides American society, something about Pilgrims, colonists, and settlers. In terms of impact and influence, no algebra or French teacher can compete with such famous history teachers as Steven Spielberg or Oliver Stone, whose devoted students number in multiples of millions.
Each of us grows up in a home with a distinct history and a distinct perspective on the meaning of larger historical events. Our parents' stories shape our historical consciousness, as do the stories of the ethnic, racial, and religious groups that number us as members. We attend churches, dubs, and neighborhood associations that further mold our collective and individual historical selves. We visit museums. We travel to national landmarks in the summer. We camp out in front of the TV and absorb, often unknowingly, an unending barrage of historical images. By the time children have celebrated a decade of Thanksgivings and Martin Luther King Days, they are already seasoned students of American culture and history.
But, the notion that all these sources form a coherent whole mocks the complexity of social life. Historical consciousness does not emanate like neat concentric circles from the individual to the family to the nation and to the world. Lessons learned at home contravene those learned at school. What we hear at school conflicts with what we hear at church or synagogue--if not in the pews then certainly in the bathrooms. If we pay attention to the lyrics of rap music or tune our dials to Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern, we confront more disjunctures. To make historical sense, we must navigate the shoals of the competing narratives that vie for our allegiance.[ p. 55]"
Collective Occlusion In writing their piece for a social education journal, Weinburg et. al. have decided to use the wording "collective occlusion" to describe what concerns them the most in the wake of their research on cohort generations  of America, their media, and their education in history, specifically Vietnam War Era social education. The researchers and authors explain that they prefer the term "collective occlusion" to a term, such as "collective amnesia" for several different reasons.
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