Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Importance of Visual Literacy

While watching Discovery Channel's pre-Shark Week show, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, I thought, 'This can't be true'. Yet, others watching with me were taken for a ride. It didn't help that the mockumentary claimed that it was showing real footage from Discovery Channel teams working on the project.

For me, the Instagram quality of the colour didn't seem like it was legit. The interviews seemed scripted and designed to set up the characters as heroic. The editing was that of a fictional film: build up, tension, action. As well, the timeline moved way too quickly for real life. You mean, they were able to build that lure humpback whale in just a few days? Also, the reaction of the characters when they were firing the chum over the side of the boat - jokes and laughter - highlight the creation of fictional, carefree heroes. This hooting and a-hollering would not be appropriate in real life: neither to the purported victims of megalodon, nor to the dangerous situation the characters were supposedly in.

Here are a couple of other reactions that were published after the program showed:



But it is possible to create such a movie and have others believe that it is true? It has happened before. Remember The Blair Witch Project? At least in both cases, we quickly learned that these were fictional creations. But could we be fooled again by someone who is unwilling to reveal the truth? The powers of propaganda can bite.

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