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I student taught at the height of the Jurassic Park craze. The book was
making the rounds in the 5th grade classroom I was assigned to. I
particularly was impress by the detailed conversations I overheard comparing
the “real book”, the movie, and a kids novel (the real book won hands down
even with the kids who hated to read). I decided to capitalize on this when
I did the writers workshop. I brought in boxes of books (mine, some checked
out of the public library, others from the school library) on a variety of
subjects including dinosaurs.
One of the smartest kids and most well read (the difficulty with him was
finding books that did not insult his intelligence but were age appropriate
in content) brought a book to me complaining that it was wrong. A dinosaur
was listed as being in X period not Jurassic but it was in Jurassic park it
took about 30 minutes of the group of boys and I talking and looking at
books for them to understand the many parts of Jurassic park were made up or
facts changed to be more interesting (Plus some of the kids had been taught
that dinosaurs were on earth at the same time as humans so they were arguing
that point and that was more delicate, after all you can’t tell them their
parents and ministers are going against all scientific evidence ).
Another piece misinformation that drives me crazy is the “fact” Thomas
Jefferson wrote the constitution. (He was ambassador to France at the time
and an anti-federalist)
From: Michelle H. Harrell [michelle_h_harrell]
Sent: Monday, July 10, 2000 10:40 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Interesting lies- Was CBS Sunday Morning
Glenn mentioned the fact that we can't always believe what we see on TV.
There is more of a danger of 'misinformation' now than ever before because
of TV, movies, and of course the Net. A lot of web-sites I visit about
famous artists don't include the information about the author or any of the
references used to find the information. It could be an informed expert on
art history or a fourth-grader who wants to write something on their
Last Tuesday (the 4th), I went to a re-enactment of the Revolutionary War at
a nearby historic home. Several of the soldiers were extras in The Patriot.
They were furious about how inaccurate the movie was and how the directors
ignored all the information they gave them (Example: the Tories would have
worn green coats but the directors were afraid the American audience
wouldn't recognize the green coats as British soldiers). Now, I know the
director's excuse is that the movie was more about the relationship of the
people in the movie rather than a historic depiction of the war. But, I
still think they owe a certain responsibility to tell the truth as much as
possible because people believe what they see.
There's a lot of stretching the truth for the sake of the story in art
history, too. Even the art textbooks are wrong at times. What is better:
Misinformation or no information at all? Do you ever find yourself having to
re-teach the truth?
Michelle H. Harrell
Southeast Raleigh High School
Center for Accelerated Studies
Raleigh, North Carolina
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