I had my class watch Class Dismissed on Wednesday. Boy did their heads spin....
This email is one of many that I (Pepi) have received since the 2006 release of my documentary film Class Dismissed." How TV Frames the Working Class. (1) Sent in by teachers, students, and members of activist organizations, these emails have inspired me to pursue how cultural workers such as writers, producers, and educators can make themselves more available so that if people's "heads spin" around a particular issue, there are places and faces that, in addition to the immediate learning environment, they can turn to in order to help them make sense of the material at hand and voice their insights and concerns.
The following article presents an example of how this kind of interaction can be realized. It illustrates how an alternative media form in the shape of a documentary was generated and why, and offers some creative approaches for exposing students to such resources. It also demonstrates how to create, through new interactive technologies, a more collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to knowledge and critical dialogue that transcends geographical boundaries and inspires solidarity and social activism.
The making of Alternative media
The idea of Class Dismissed was conceived at about three o'clock in the morning when, as an associate professor in the Applied Linguistics Graduate Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, I was struggling to develop a course called Language and the Media. While I was able to find fantastic multimedia materials that take up racism, patriarchy, heterosexism, and other such oppressive practices that any teacher education program like ours should expose students to, there was virtually nothing that addressed social class and representation. So in a moment of desperation I emailed Sut Jhally, the executive director of the Media Education Foundation (MEF), a radical independent film company located in an old firehouse in Northampton, Massachusetts. MEF is well known on the alternative scene for being a superb place to find educational materials that examine the media. (2)
I had been thinking for some time about how television has played a pivotal role in shaping our perceptions of the world and in particular our understanding of social class. In an effort to better understand the romanticized ideas about economic life in the United States that my adult education, English-as-a-second-language students brought with them to school, I turned to folks like Stanley Aronowitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Richard Butch who had done some interesting analysis in this area.
After collecting and analyzing tons of TV data, l was invited to meet with producer Loretta Alper at MEF, and we agreed to join forces in order to bring the project to life. Loretta provided brilliant technical support as the theory came rolling out. MEF funded the efforts and most of the production was done with a digital camera and Final Cut Pro (FCP) software. Software like FCP is not only affordable these days but user friendly. Students and activists should be encouraged to use it to generate their own critical media in the form of satire, news, public service announcements, and such, as we have seen a wealth of recently on YouTube.
The early production discussions were met with the realization that what we had in front of us was actually three films: one on how the news media represent labor, another on how Hollywood film portrays the working class, and a third on entertainment television. The last was chosen as the place to start the trilogy as we figured that this is where most people connect to the media, and it would thus be the most strategic way to engage the public in how corporate-driven images reinforce stereotypes that serve to justify the inequities inherent in capitalism's class structure.
Working together as coproducers and writers of the project, Loretta and l wanted the film to navigate the steady stream of narrow working-class representations from television's beginnings to today's sitcoms, reality shows, police dramas, and daytime talk shows. It was also extremely important for us that the film break new ground in exploring the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality intersect with class, rather than reducing the category to white men in hardhats, as has typically been done in the research on class in the past. But we also wanted the film to be proactive in helping the public work against corporate media's assault on the working class. (3)
Featuring interviews with media analysts and cultural historians, the film aimed to help the audience develop a conceptual framework for understanding a society that denies class stratification and celebrates the myth of meritocracy where hard work and persistence are perceived as the essential ingredients for success. And, of course, this ideology is perpetuated with no mention of any of the critical factors that inhibit upward mobility such as labor, wage, and tax laws that favor the wealthy, a public school system that is largely funded through property tax, or gender discrimination and racism--just to name a few.
It was crucial for us not only to historically trace these images of the working class but also to contextualize them within what is now a postindustrial society in the United States--one that relies primarily on service industries, knowledge production, and information technologies rather than industrial manufacturing to generate capital. Within these current conditions, class mobility in this country is more restricted than ever before, unless of course the direction is downward. Census data show that the gap between the rich and the poor is the widest it has been since the government started collecting information in 1947. The current administration has bragged about creating new jobs for Americans, but it fails to inform the public that these are overwhelmingly part-time, adjunct, minimum-wage positions that provide no pension, union protection, or healthcare benefits. Part-time, temp, or subcontracted jobs currently make up 30% of the workforce and this number is rapidly increasing. It is important to note that, contrary to popular myth, the majority of minimum-wage workers are not teenagers: 71.4% are over the age of 20. Meanwhile, the ratio of average CEO pay in the United States to the average blue-collar pay in the same corporation is 470 to 1.
Largely ignoring these economic conditions, corporate-managed media have constructed their own tales about the lives of everyday people. Class Dismissed is intended to help us look at these stories critically and encourages viewers to ask the question: Whose interests are served by such representations and whose depictions are narrowly circumscribed?
For the most part, students have responded positively to the film: "Before I took this class, I didn't know how much power and ideology are involved in the TV show business and how they can shape the perceptions of the audience." "While I consider myself quite class conscious, I hadn't really considered how the working class is systematically portrayed on TE" "I found it to be an amazing perspective into the American class system as presented through the lens of TV and media." "I realize the urgent need of developing my media literacy." "I really enjoyed the video and found it really informative, powerful and inspiring."
I'm pleased that educators, students, and activists from community organizations have contacted me with kind words about the film and its pedagogical utility. One such email recently arrived form Debra Mollen, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Philosophy at Texas Woman's University (TWU). As always, I emailed her back to thank her, to hear more about how her class was going, and to make myself available to her students if they had any comments or questions. She generously shared with me how she uses the film and how her students have reacted to it.
Using Class Dismissed in Debra's Classroom
I (Debra) teach undergraduate and graduate courses on multicultural counseling and psychology. In these courses, I aspire to stretch the boundaries of students' thinking, help them develop metacognitive awareness, instill in them a passion for activism and social justice, and develop and hone the ability to evaluate media critically and contextually.
The student population at TWU is refreshingly diverse. The institution is rated third in the state and twenty-first in the nation among universities with the most diverse student populations. Although the vast majority of the students are women, we enjoy classrooms characterized by racial and ethnic diversity, including international students, along with a valued presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gendered students. Further, as our university is situated in a conservative part of the United States, students come from a wide array of sociopolitical and religious ideologies, which lends itself to invaluable and invigorating discourse in our classrooms. Lastly, situated in the largest state-supported university primarily for the education of women in the United States, our students represent a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, with a sizeable percentage being the first in their families to attend college.
Course topics for both the undergraduate and graduate cross-cultural courses include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and social class. Of great importance is the development and maintenance of a classroom community so that difficult dialogues can happen in a psychologically and emotionally safe environment. Care is taken from the outset of the semester to build a space for learning in which students do not feel threatened by--but rather learn to value--open discussion of sensitive topics, including identifying, exploring, and challenging their beliefs, faulty assumptions, and previously unexamined biases. Recognizing the myriad of ways that students can and do learn, I employ a variety of teaching methods, including small-group experiential exercises, large-group brainstorming techniques, open and energetic discussions, personal exploration, resistance projects, and exposure to a range of media from music to television to films.
In the past six months, I have taught four sections of the cross-cultural psychology course (three graduate classes with a total enrollment of thirty-five students and one undergraduate class with seventeen students) in which I utilized Class Dismissed." How TV Frames the Working Class as a teaching tool. The topic of socioeconomic class is introduced periodically throughout the semester but is not explored in detail until the latter portion of the course, by which time we have explored with some depth constructs such as blaming the victim and the myth of the meritocracy as mechanisms by which the status quo is created and perpetuated. Having a working vocabulary for these constructs and having identified many exemplars throughout the course by the point the film is shown, the students often have a relatively easier time seeing and appreciating the rich panoply of examples the documentary offers.
At the beginning of each class period, I distribute a daily reaction log in which students record their affective responses and reactions to the class discussion and related materials. This technique enables me to gauge student feedback, ensuring that the goals and objectives of the course are being met, and monitor any particularly strong reactions that might not be spoken in the course of the class meeting. Students are assured that logs are not used to determine grades and that I treat them with confidentiality so that they can more freely express their authentic views and feelings.
In addition to the classroom discussions following the showing of Class Dismissed, I then utilized the logs to help me comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of the film as a teaching technique. Both mechanisms for assessing learning have consistently revealed that the film is powerful and provides significant means to address and critique depictions of class on television. For example, students routinely report that they find the film engaging, startling, and stimulating. They are amazed at how little they have previously noticed the pervasiveness with which television presents people who are working class and are often outraged at the manipulation with which this has occurred. The film's extensive array of powerful examples spanning five decades, commentary from noted scholars from a range of disciplines, and incisive analysis help to add both breadth and depth to the students' understanding and appreciation of issues of class depicted on television. Students often report being confronted by the ways the images marginalize already disenfranchised people and can identify the ways they too have been manipulated into viewing people from working-class backgrounds. As many students come from working-class backgrounds themselves, they gain additional insight, both about the ways they may be viewed by others and the ways they may have inadvertently internalized the incendiary messages from television.
Immediately following the film, students are invited to offer any critique, commentary, and questions that the film prompts in them. The documentary generates substantial discussion about the ways students' lives have been touched by television, oftentimes without their being conscious of the impact. Students have reported a particular appreciation for the inclusiveness of Class Dismissed at it relates to the other course materials and areas of analysis, particularly around gender, race, and sexual orientation. This aspect of the film complements the emphasis in the course of overlapping identities and the ways the effects of oppression multiply.
Some television shows discussed in the film seem to generate a good deal of controversy in the ensuing classroom discussion. Some students have reacted to The George Lopez Show. Students report confusion about which images of Latino/as would be acceptable and healthy; the depiction of a successful Latino family seems to many students to be a significant improvement over the ghetto sitcoms in the 1970s, particularly those that pasteurized the lives of their characters.
The other show to which students react strongly is Roseanne. In all four discussions, students have freely mused about this show and the fact that many were prohibited from watching it while they were growing up. Consistently and interestingly, no student appears to have been given a reason for being disallowed from watching this show. (Other shows have been included in this discussion of prohibition without reason, including The Simpsons and The Jerry Springer Show.) Particularly with regard to the thoughtful analysis in the film of Roseanne and the characterization of the show by one scholar as both feminist and working class, students report feeling cheated by not having seen the show during its original run, and several have remarked that they wanted to ask their parents after class about this omission. The awareness prompted in the film about the depictions of working-class people on talk shows like Jerry Springer is substantial. Most students are very familiar with the era of trash TV but have not previously considered the ways talk shows manipulate viewers to feel disdain for their guests, nor have they been aware of the allowances given to middleclass people who act in similar ways but whose lives are not showcased and parodied on TV.
Most importantly, class discussion ends with students realizing first hand the grave need for media education rather than media censorship by their parents or others. They leave the classroom with a measured appreciation for the vital need for media literacy and an avowed commitment to continue to educate themselves, their partners, and their children.
As two educators now in dialogue, we are working together to develop strategies to better challenge our students to dig deeper into the issues raised in Class Dismissed, and to learn how we can more effectively address common criticisms and occasional dismissals that manifest in our classes.
The film generates a good deal of controversy in both our classrooms when it comes to its critique of The Cosby Show (1984-1992). The popular show is presented in the film as problematic: while the sitcom provided an important non-stereotypical image of a black family that countered the overwhelmingly pejorative representations that preceded it, it nonetheless disregarded the harsh realities faced by poor and working-class people of color. Instead, as Herman Gray argues in the film: "It continues to do the general work of affirming the openness of a kind of middle-class society and an arrival of racial difference into that...." And in doing so, it makes it look as though people have no need for help from the state, that affirmative action is no longer a relevant policy response to discrimination, and that poverty and racism can be eradicated with a good dose of family values and a solid work ethic. The Cosby Show critique seems threatening and even offensive to some students, as the way Bill Cosby chose to depict the Huxtable family can seem beyond reproach.
The two of us brainstormed ideas for better challenging students' understanding of The Cosby Show and the creative force behind it. A comment by one of Pepi's students inspired an additional exploratory task:
I watched the show in the early 90'S on Moroccan TV and I was impressed by how every one in America can have a successful life if they make that choice. I admired also how Cosby got along with white Americans and how both races live in harmony. I was definitely convinced that America is a land of justice and opportunity for all hard working people. Even when I moved to USA, this conviction didn't change until I found myself, after several years, in an endless cycle. Cosby's picture is far from reality. He played representational politics successfully to promote the ideology that all Americans can succeed if they work hard and that social barriers don't exist.
From the student's experience of representation versus reality, we decided that group investigation is once again in order. As such, we have designed an exercise where one group is responsible for getting Bill Cosby's earlier cartoon project Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972-1980) at their local video store or from Netflix, and to analyze the images of ghetto life starting with the show's theme song of "Gonna Have a Good Time."
Another group is responsible for looking into the economic realities that existed during the run of The Cosby Show, which, while still very popular, went off the air the same year as the 1992 L.A. uprisings. The following sites are provided for data mining: U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov/, Center for Popular Economics www.populareeonomies.org, United for a Fair Economy www.ufenet.org, Economic Policy Institute http://www.epinet.org/, Jobs with Justice http:// www.jwj.org/, and Raise the Floor www.ms.foundation.org/wmspage.efm?parm1=175.
A third group is charged with reviewing the transcript of a recent interview with Cosby on The Oprah Winfrey Show. q-heir task is to compare Cosby's comments about how African Americans are responsible for their own predicaments to the economic conditions that racially subordinated communities face (they are offered the same data resources as group 2). For example, Cosby talks a great deal in the interview about poor family values being at fault for the demise of the African-American community; students research the state of the African-American family. They are also asked to explore blog discussions that followed the Cosby interview (http://www.oprah.com/community/thread/4892)--the overwhelming majority of which venerated and affirmed Cosby's position--and to theorize why conservatives like Bill O'Reilly of Fox television and former Massachusetts Governor and republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney openly and wholeheartedly support Cosby's position on these issues.
Each subgroup is responsible for putting together a report and presenting the findings to the class, followed by a general discussion about representation and the ideology of Bill Cosby and the impact that his public work might have on people's perceptions, personal politics, and public policy.
This exercise has been met with great success in both of our classes. Ultimately, most students are able to understand the need for nuanced, realistic images and the problems that arise when television depictions are so discrepant from the lives of the people whose stories they seek to tell. Students note that dialogues about the effects of racism, systemic or otherwise, were virtually absent from these shows. Recently, one student in Debra's class recalled a storyline--one that eventually evolved into the spinoff series A Different World--in which it was revealed that Cliff Huxtable's father attended the same college as Cliff and his daughter Denise without any acknowledgement or discussion about the history of higher education in the United States and the realities of an African-American man attending a U.S. university during the time in history when either Cliff or his father would have likely attended. Others have commented on Cosby's cultural work outside of the shows, finding it troubling, especially in respect to how the white racist establishment effectively uses his rants against the African-American community to push forward policies that actually hurt rather than help.
There are also alternative conclusions that are drawn regardless of the additional exercises. As one student stated:
I do think that in some situations there may be more than one perspective to consider regarding certain shows, "q-he Cosby Show" for one. I must say that I am not especially a fan of the show but I do not see it as a detrimental show either. Certainly, it does not portray the reality of the majority of African Americans in the US. But I don't imagine that that was ever its intent. I think that what it tried to do was portray an image of African Americans, albeit of a minority of African Americans, that, before then, hadn't gotten much attention. It celebrates black culture in the US especially in terms of the visual and performing arts. It portrays a strong family in a time when the "family values" of African Americans has been disparaged. I think it portrays many of the positive sides of black culture in a country which has always tended to focus on the negative. Certainly, the wealth of the Huxtables is not attainable for most African Americans but the pride in one's history, art and family is. I don't think the question should be "Why didn't 'The Cosby Show' portray the realities of working class and poor African Americans?", but "Why aren't there more shows on TV that portray working-class black life?" In terms of the Huxtables' wealth justifying an end to Affirmative Action, I would suggest that anyone who decides their politics based on a sitcom isn't thinking clearly, and that they probably wouldn't think clearly or justly with or without "The Cosby Show".
It is important to note that the purpose of these exercises is not to beat students over the head with our own personal political positions and convictions. Our pedagogy is intended to be one of exposition and working with students to think through their understandings and political tendencies, rather than a pedagogy of imposition. It is also to create an interactive space for educators to learn. For example, a student recently rejected the film's critique of the popular sitcom The King of Queens:
I find the "King of Queens" somewhat redeemable. Certainly Doug is a clown. But there is something that is appealing about the life that he lives, especially to working-class ethics. There is a sense of enjoying life, working in order to live as opposed to the mainstream middle-class, Anglo, work ethic which often seems more like: "live to make money." Some people have chosen NOT to enter the rat race or have chosen to step out of it because it often entails making some real human sacrifices, ones that we are not willing to make. I also think that the character of Deacon is a not-clownish representation of the working-class family man.
As educators engaged in a dialogic pedagogy that includes us as teachers in the act of constructing meaning, there is a great deal to learn from these kinds of thoughtful responses.
It is also not uncommon for there to be students who reject parts or much of the analysis done in the film and present critical questions to the class. For example, one student responded:
The video stated that people in prisons in the U.S. are 70% nonwhite. Should 70% of criminals on TV be non-white? Or will more positive images of non-whites lead to less crime?
These types of comments offer great teaching moments where the class can connect their readings of the images to discussions about the larger social order. Our job as educators is to get everyone involved in the learning and to think more deeply about the issues and to construct narratives of their own that are well-informed and clearly articulated. While the ideological bent of these narratives comes with no guarantees, students are guaranteed in this type of educational environment to explore such issues critically and deeply. An academic in California captures the spirit of the film and the pedagogical intent here when asked if there were negative responses from students after he had screened the film:
I don't think the film is meant to threaten one's sense of the right or wrong way of identifying or examining class, but rather the film does an admirable job of providing a useful framework for understanding the relationship between media and one's operating sense of reality.
We are currently dialoging about ways of approaching additional issues that commonly arise when we screen the film. For example, we are exploring ways to effectively respond to the question: Are the writers and producers of these popular shows aware of what they are doing? It is important to explore the fact that the creative forces behind any text are also the product of representation, and that the writer's sense of humor, for example, is constructed within accepted discourses and circulated through society's institutions. In other words, they have already been called into that ideological space and thus know what will make people laugh or cry. As such, they may not be conscious of the fact that they are reproducing oppressive ideologies. The important point to get across is that, in the end, whether they are conscious of it or not, they play a central role in reproducing discriminatory images. Students should be encouraged to view films like Marion Riggs's Color Adjustment that has a number of interviews with producers and writers like Norman Lear, who are very candid in explaining their thinking and intent when putting together a show, as well as Beth Sanders's Fear and Favor in the Newsroom on how the U.S. media's corporate backing effectively creates a culture of "self censorship." (4)
As for addressing the conspiracy question that always pops up after screening the film, we both agree that as educators we have to engage students in thinking about this process as far more complicated than simply a bunch of media moguls and corporate heads sitting around making these decisions together and watching over the everyday workings of their crew. Writers and producers do not really need Big Brother around to monitor their work. In most cases, as discussed above, they have been properly educated so as to know what is appropriate and what isn't; that's how they made it through the job interview in the first place.
What's really crucial in this respect is working with students to develop an understanding that this isn't a conspiracy; rather, as Noam Chomsky has long argued, these people and organizations are simply protecting what's in their own best interests. What we need as educators are pedagogical tools to help engage students in understanding the relationship between big business and its vested interest in exploiting and denigrating labor. We both embrace what Debra referred to earlier as "a variety of teaching methods, including small-group experiential exercises, large-group brainstorming techniques, open and energetic discussions, personal exploration, and resistance projects." To engage students around this important question we have developed ways to break our classes into groups charged with the responsibility of looking into corporate business practices and the ideology of their leadership. For example, one group will research and compare Walt Disney's International Labor Standards Report (http://corporate.disney.go.com/corporate/intl_labor_standards.html) to what the watchdog organization Corporate Watch: Holding Corporations Accountable has to say about Disney (http://www.googlesyndieatedseareh.com /u/corpwatch?q=Disney&is=corpwatch.org&x=24&y=6.)
(Keep in mind that Disney owns ABC, ESPN, the Disney Channel, The History Channel, A&E, Biography, Military History, Lifetime, E, The Style Network, and Soapnet.)
Another group will look into News Corporation (which owns Fox, National Geographic Channel, Direct TV, FX, and STAR) and compare stories and images of workers on Fox News and discuss them in relationship to what's depicted in the documentary film Out Foxed." Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (http://www.outfoxed.org/), and to the research that examines Murdoch's politics as a conservative capitalist at Source Watch at http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Rupert_Murdoeh#Polities.
Another group will look at General Electric (which owns NBC, Telemundo, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, Sci Fi, Paxon, the USA Network, and Sundance--which is a joint venture with CBS) and examine its labor practices, in particular looking at layoffs, union relations, wage and benefit cuts, and its stock prices since the war in Iraq began. (5)
Each subgroup will be responsible for putting together a report and presenting the findings to the class. This will be followed by a general discussion about big business interests and representation.
Expanding the Boundaries of the Classroom
In order to expand the impact of the aforementioned exercises, we would like, if students agree, to upload the classroom discussion points and the reports as threads in an online chat room developed for the class so that students can continue to interact outside of the classroom and course syllabus. But what we also want to work on is how to use such interactive technologies to link our classes together and have intergroup dialogue where students are communicating with each other across geographical boundaries. We hope then to bring this interactive dynamic to other courses working on the film. For example, Pepi just received the following email:
I am a sophomore minoring in sociology. In my sociology class (Culture and Power) I have recently watched the film Class Dismissed. I found it to be an amazing perspective into the American class system as presented through the lens of TV and media. Presently my professor has assigned the class to write an essay on your film and I was hoping to ask you a few questions that I had in order to better develop my writing.
We would like to be able to work this course into the dialogical mix and hope that this will burgeon into a fantastic collaborative relationship among not only educators from different parts of the country but also students from different classes, institutions, and disciplines. We are currently searching for other courses that are using the film and might be interested in cross-classroom dialogue by locating syllabi, with a Google search, that are posted online.
Educators now have access to a plethora of interactive software, q-here are popular applications like IMs, MMS, or even tools of the trade like MSN messenger, Yahoo mail, and Google groups--we subscribe to the idea of using corporate media in alternative and subversive ways. Blogging could also be used for this purpose. Wilds are another collaborative tool since many students can interact (asynchronously) to create one. There are even more sophisticated interactive tools such as listservs or virtual classrooms like Wimba (http://www.wimba.com/) that allow synchronous communication via audio/video.
This interactive pedagogical strategy could then be expanded to a more global approach to dialogue around media and class issues. One of the most interesting byproducts of the documentary is that as a result of its inclusion last year in the Das Globalisierungskritische Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, and being run on Public Access Community TV--Offener Kanal Berlin, Pepi has been invited to work in collaboration with a group of German media activists who are making their own version of Class Dismissed within the context of labor and representation in their own country, q-he film was also screened and discussed last year at the 3 Screens Film Festival in New Delhi as part of the India Social Forum/World Social Forum. q-his was organized by the Delhi Film Archive. What we as educators would like to do is to open our classrooms up so that such organizations and their membership can join in with our students in discussions and debates around social class, capitalism, and representation. We believe that we can more effectively work in collaboration to enrich the learning environment and act in solidarity to confront the neoliberal version of globalization that relies heavily on exploiting labor and circulating its own image of virtue. We look forward to reporting on all of these efforts in the future.
Teaching with alternative media is incredibly important in this age when media are getting more consolidated via deregulation and thus more ideologically contained; (6) even Public Broadcasting has moved to the right since being forced to rely on corporate support to survive as conservatives have worked tirelessly to cut funding for such public resources. Again, this speaks to the urgency of teaching with alternative media in an effort to raise consciousness, generate public dialogue and debate--especially in schools--and mobilize social action on many fronts.
What's most crucial is that we remain engaged, that we refuse to disconnect politically from these issues because they are "too big and beyond our control." We hope readers are energized regarding how a little idea generated in the middle of the night can snowball into international dialogue and solidarity and play its little part in working towards global change. In this respect, we hope that the pedagogical strategies and interactive approaches offered above are inspiring and contagious.
(1) For access to the film, see http://www.mediaed.org/videos/CommercialismPoliticsAndMedia/ClassDismissed
(2) For more information on MEF go to http://www.mediaed.org/; for additional resources of this sort see California Newsreel at http://www.newsreel.org/, and Icarus Films at http://www.frif.com/.
(3) For the study guide generated for the film, go to http://www.mediaed.org /videos/CommereialismPolitiesAndMedia/ClassDismissed#vidinfo
(4) For information on these two films, see http://www.newsreel.org/nav/title.asp?tc=CN0022, and http://www.fearandfavor.com/
(5) While students are encouraged to explore the Web to their hearts' content when researching these people and corporations, we think it's nonetheless important to provide some sites, given that the internet requires a good deal of experience to navigate.
(6) While Class Dismissed has been screened in five countries and at dozens of public events, conferences, and at film festivals; has been run on alternative television like Free Speech TV; was introduced by actress Sally Field at the Silver Lake Film Festival, in Hollywood, CA; is endorsed by the AFL-CIO; is narrated by actor Ed Asner; and is the 2007 recipient of the Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism, it still can't get airtime on PBS, let alone on network TV.…