Review of the Bullies Playground – 4 Corners

April 23, 2010 — 1 Comment

In terms of structure and mode the documentary generally fits into the primary and reflexive. Primary for its voice-of-god led narration, which comes hand in hand with the journalistic aspect of broadcast TV, and reflexive for its use of recreations and expressive film making techniques. For instance, images of teenagers sitting in the dark, consumed by the screen and ruled by cyberspace relationships, is purely a poetic representation of the reports attitude. Errol Morris’ The Thin Blue Line is a great example of these techniques employed in a cinematic context.

In this case however, especially as we are communications students, there are many flaws to point out in the perspective of the documentary and its use of emotion to reinforce inbuilt, pre-existing prejudices with regards to technology. Not in any way to downplay the issue or debate the existence of cyberbullying, the use of the technology through which it happens and for what social reasons are the real issues that need to be discussed and explored by the characters. There needs to be more to the issue than simply the perspective that the internet can be a dangerous place. For instance, to hear more about the social groups entire use of Myspace and their attitudes towards it, especially ion the lead up to the tragic event, may start discussion that leads to a more educative approach to social software. The only wisdom imparted by the report is that bullying is bad, cyberspace is bad and schools don’t seem to have any method for dealing with it.

The characters within the piece have so much potential to impart wider and different perspectives on the problem, but it seems that they are drowned out, or edited out, by sensationalism and a very binary approach. Good and bad, heroes and villains are set up so the audience can feel content that the issue is clear cut.

Danica in her blog makes clear the point that the representation of the teenager, sitting alone in the dark and engaged with cyberspace does not at all even skim the surface of the reasons and functions behind the persons fascination for and relationship to the internet.


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  1. a need for more viewpoints « danica r - April 23, 2010

    […] need for more viewpoints In James’ blog post he argues […]

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