A Essay - Christopher Webb CMCL 392: Media Genres Professor...

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Christopher Webb CMCL 392: Media Genres Professor Segal October 2, 2011 Dear America, Who Am I? Bill Couturie's documentary " Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam " (1987), gives a voice to the America soldiers through the use of their letters but it seemed dramatized. The documentary’s use of actors to speak for those soldiers through their letters demonstrates Ruby’s concept of “speaking for” and “speaking about” rather than “speaking with”. Couturie seem want to be honest yet fell short on his promise to make this documentary sincere. Couturie didn’t honor the fallen American soldiers correctly and his perception was too “Hollywood” in a sense. In regards to Earle’s concepts of “realism”, was Couturies perception of what he feels the soldiers felt was addressed in correct manner by the actors? Is “speaking with” a realistic experience or not? The film started off boasting it’s Hollywood star power in the introductory credits with some well- known and established actors and actresses. The documentary seem to force the credibility of these well-known actors and actresses on the viewers. The first couple of scenes I just kept wondering about the merit behind these letters. The letters seem to “reak” of so much dissonance, that it was so hard to take the documentary as sincere as my peers. The disconnect between Americans soldiers and actors, just couldn’t leave my side, as I was looking for someone who actually knew those fallen soldiers. Then there was the question of whether the letters were edited, was it tweaked to sound more conscious and concise. Couturie, yes, grasped the Ruby’s concept of “speaking for” and “speaking about” but that is it. The A to B list actors and actresses represented the soldiers yet I felt the emotional connection wasn’t
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there. Although, the actors/actresses dramatized the letters like midday Soap Opera sitcoms, they were still “speaking for” the soldiers, and giving the dead a living voice. The concepts of “speaking about” were being featured throughout the film, with
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A Essay - Christopher Webb CMCL 392: Media Genres Professor...

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