Monday, September 24, 2012

So Goes the Nation-Morgan Hellwig


  1. So Goes the Nation is about the presidential race between George Bush and John Kerry, specifically in the swing state Ohio. I think that Morgan did a very good job of explaining the main point of the film and making it very clear to me, the viewer. The documentary talks about how Ohio was the deciding factor in this specific election and what went wrong with the Kerry campaign that caused him to lose. It discusses the greater effectiveness of the Bush campaign and what helped him to ultimately win the election. Morgan’s pacing and the volume of her voice were very satisfactory and her video was easy to listen to. The lighting could have been a bit better, but I had a similar problem. I think it’s just difficult to make a very high quality video on our tablets. She seemed like she knew a lot about her documentary and had prepared ahead of time for her vlog. She wasn’t looking at the camera for a lot of the video and seemed rather to be reading from her notes, but she still seemed informed about her film. She didn’t excessively stutter or trip over her words, only somewhat, which leads me to believe that she was rather prepared. She quoted the film at several different points as well. She provided the fact that it should have been relatively easy for Senator Kerry to win but alas, he did not. Bush had led the nation into an unpopular war and his approval ratings were not high, but Kerry didn’t take any of the measures that he really could have. Bush’s campaign was overall more advanced and impressive. He used similar tactics to Reagan and tried to drive home the idea that he was an “honest man”. Morgan’s analysis of the film she watched seemed logical and well thought out. She related So Goes the Nation to the election project we are doing in class. The way she organized her vlog was effective. She started with a summary and then explained what she learned and focused on the things she found most interesting. One thing I found interesting was that Bush specifically focused his campaign strategy on the voters that Kerry overlooked, making sure to get these voters on his side. I liked how she said that even though it goes against her own beliefs and opinions, she gained more respect for the Bush/Cheney campaign. The film seemed interesting and I would be intrigued to watch it. Getting an inside look at a presidential election seems like it would be very interesting. Like Morgan, I didn’t realize just how important swing states are. I was surprised to learn that just one state could make such a large difference in a whole national election. She explained that there seemed to be some right winged bias throughout the film, which is a minor weakness. This is unsurprising to me because it seems like all documentaries have at least a little bit of bias one way or another. Nonetheless, it seems like the documentary is factual, interesting, and worthwhile.

  2. Morgan’s documentary review was about the film So Goes the Nation, which was bout the race between Democrat candidate John Kerry and incumbent president George Bush to become the president in 2004. It specifically focused on the swing state Ohio. The theme of the film seemed to be that having a strategic, clear, organized and advanced campaign is something that will be a great asset in a presidential campaign. The theme was explained pretty clearly by Morgan. She did not explicitly say “the theme is..” but it was easily deduced from her vlog.
    The pacing of the broadcast was good. Morgan did not speak too fast so I could not keep up with her, or that she excessively tripped over her own tongue, or too slow that you were waiting for her to continue. The pace was right in the middle and I could easily take notes and follow her reasoning and thoughts. The volume was also good. She spoke loud enough so I could hear clearly what she was saying and not too loud that her voice was blasting your eardrums. She seemed well prepared and seemed to have a script to read from, which is a sign of preparedness.
    She seemed informed and confident about her topic. It was obvious to me that she had paid close and careful attention to her documentary. She knew everything about the documentary and provided several examples of her knowledge. She knew what she was talking about and her voice was pretty strong. The only issue about this part of the vlog was that she seemed to stumble over words more than a few times. It was not excessively distracting and you could still tell she was prepared, but maybe not as comfortable with her script.
    Morgan provided more than enough facts about her documentary. One I found interesting was that, historically no incumbent president with an approval rating lower than fifty percent has ever been re-elected, so the Democrats were sure they would beat Bush, because he had such a low approval rating. This was amusing to me because it seems like the Democrats were counting their chickens before they hatched, and in a political race I would never advise anyone to do that. In my mind I guess I had thought those running campaigns and such were very professional and knew what was what, but if a certain party thinks they have an election “in the bag” then clearly they need to reevaluate. This was probably a major reason why the Democratic campaign was not as effective and well organized as the Republican’s that year. Another fact I learned from this review was the importance of swing states and provisional voters. If the provisional votes had not been tossed, the election could have gone a different way entirely. The swing states really enforce the mantra “every vote counts” which until now I had not really believed in.
    This film seems really interesting. One strength seems to be the honesty of the film, which is always good. When viewing a true story documentary, one does not like to be lied to, or have facts omitted. A weakness seems to be a right wing bias. Which is to be expected, almost all films have a bias one way or another. At least, as Morgan says, the film gave credit where credit was due. Which makes the documentary more credible, I would not want to watch a video that was so bias it distorted the facts or made gave credit to only one side.

    Overall the review was enjoyable and the topic was very intriguing. It must have been interesting to get a “behind the scenes” look at presidential campaigns and the reason for one candidate winning. The documentary seemed pretty credible and something I would want to watch to learn more about this topic.