History in the making.

Recently, in my War and Peace class, we’ve been discussing the importance of storytelling in times of war and how that has changed over time. “Since You Went Away,” a compilation of letters written during WWII by army wives and loved ones, shared the story of those at home during WWII that might not have been shared otherwise. Now that we are living in this technological era, not as much precedence is placed on the writing of letters. In class, we had a discussion/debate about if we thought these stories could still be told in years to come if we don’t have these letters to document it. Instead of writing letters, soldiers are now blogging, e-mailing, or even video chatting with their loved ones. And it’s possible that all of these could be lost at any given moment unless the emails are being printed out and saved or all chats are recorded. There’s no way of knowing if these are going to be preserved and could possibly be used in the future to tell the story of those involved in the war. Storytelling has played a huge part in our class. We’ve read other memoirs and autobiographies such as “Maus” by Art Spiegelmen, “Testament of Youth”, by Vera Brittain, and “Survival in Auschwitz”, by Primo Levi. All of the texts we’ve read and compared have all shared two themes, war and storytelling.
So this got me thinking, originally in class when we were debating about the chances of storytelling continuing even with the lack of letters, I said I still thought things would be documented and our children would still have original e-mails and other memories from the Iraq War. But after realizing this major theme and how these were compiled, I began to question if this could or would actually happen. Than I came across a heading when I was looking through my news feed on my googlereader account. “Are you a Military Blogger with Storytelling Skills? Interested in pitching Film ideas? A Hollywood Filmmaker Thinks He can Help” Film Producer Larry Meistrich is on the search for milbloggers who think that their story could be a film. He claims, “Military bloggers are natural storytellers.” I wondered, how many troops would be honored by this post and how many would be offended. At first it seemed kind of intrusive but then when I really started to think about it, it brought me back to that discussion we had in class. There is hope for stories to continue being told. As long as we don’t run out of Larry Meistrich’s we will hopefully still have a solid historical reference for the Iraq War one hundred years after. I’ll be interested to see how many movies made from milblogging make it to the big screen. I’d definitely want to go see one.

Full Blog Entry

30, May. 2009

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3 Responses to “History in the making.”

  1. Ream Says:

    It will be very interesting to see what will happen with the stories of war veterans in the future. We have never had technology like this before in other wars. With technology evolving at the rate it is, it will also be interesting to see if there are new ways to tell stories of wars. Maybe in 50 years from now, stories will not even be told in e-mails and blogs. I’m sure 60 years ago; no one would have ever thought that the popularity of letters would die out. Who can say that e-mails and blogs will not do this either? I personally like reading the letters of war veterans in World War II. There is a certain feel you get when reading them compared to a soldiers blog. Maybe it is because more people read the blogs and the soldier is conscious of it. I believe that what will probably happen is that there will possible be a book of personal e-mails sent between families and people in service. I would think there are more e-mails sent today that that of letters when they were popular. It is easier to send e-mails and much quicker. This would mean that there is more variety of different kinds of messages sent back and forth. Another thing is the language as well. People do write different than 60 years ago. The writings will be read differently than years ago. I think there will be more value put on the letters that were written 60 years ago.

  2. niemanr Says:

    This is a great post. When I was reading it, I was thinking, “in years to come is anyone going to see this post and see that we were contemplating if our words would be read for years to come.” Just a thought. Once it is online it seems that it exists everywhere and never goes away, like it can be tracked down, for better or worse. Maybe this is the way we can make sure accounts of war are not lost forever. I think we, or at least someone, will always value literature and the stories from times of war. We covet/rely on technology so highly, hopefully it is not the death of this tradition and in turn pieces of history. We utilize it to make our lives easier, more entertaining, and as a helping tool, hopefully it does not do the opposite in years to come. Blogs, email, and online chatting are awesome ways in which to instantly let someone know your thoughts. We get a new feel for what is going on with the men and women who are far, far from home. We get immediate access to their daily doings and thoughts. Where, perhaps eloquence of a letter is lost, other things are gained.

  3. olsonre Says:

    I think that it is dangerous to support the making of film that may or may not honor the true story. Every movie that is out there on war with the exception of “Saving Private Ryan” is not historically accurate. They add in a romance that takes place between “hot” actors and they fluff over the important part of the film. If I were going to watch a war film I would like to know that the story is true rather than having to wonder at the end how much of it was embellished for Hollywood. I think that the biggest concern needs to be for historians and how they are going to compile the data that was easier to come by during the world wars. These wars that we are in right now are going to pose a problem for history books because people do not see that what they are a part of is a major historical event. It is not like when the twin towers fell and people were saving the newspapers because they would be worth something someday. People are disinterested with war and simply want it to be over. There is no concern for what this means for the future.

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