Last week’s episode of Community featured an epic documentary a la Ken Burns’ Civil War that documented the colossal pillow fight between Abed Nadir’s Pillowstown and ex-best friend Troy Barnes’ Blanketsburg. The episode utilized an impressive array of sources that should be of interest to digital public historians, especially those creating their own Burnsian mini-documentaries this week in Loyola HIST 479.
There are people who say, ‘I don’t get it. So it was a pillow fight.’ To which I say, you weren’t there.
-Shirley “Big Cheddar” Bennett
Britta Perry attempts to capture the war’s sublime indignities on film. Unfortunately for Britta and millions of photographers like her, just because something is in black and white, doesn’t mean it’s good.
Digital Sources (Text Messages, Emails, Cell Phone Footage)
Okay, you caught me. I prefer war to homework. How do you do that little thumb icon? I can’t find it on my phone.
-Jeff WingerJeff,You are disgusting. Troy and Abed’s friendship is at stake! You can buy special icons in packages at the app store. [Piece of sushi] [Birthday cake] [Stop sign] [Snowman] [Umbrella]
The North Cafeteria, named after Admiral William North, is located in the western portion of East Hall, gateway to the to the western half of North Hall, which is named, not after William North, but for its position north of the South Wall. It is the most contested and confusing battlefield on Greendale’s campus.
Apart from the impressive array of primary sources, the episode’s crucial lesson for the historian is to be aware of the constructedness of sources. Britta’s photos reminds us that photography is inherently limited by the subject position, skills, and interest of the photographer. And at the conclusion of the episode we cautioned against trusting seemingly transparent sources when central character Jeff Winger writes a diary entry that he immediately hands to the cameraman, adding, “If you want I can read it in the documentary.”