Monday, September 24, 2012

The Camden 28


  1. Stephanie did an excellent job of explaining the main theme of the film. I understood it to be a chronicling of the Camden 28, the planning of their crime, and the trial and eventual acquittal of all 28 members. She explained the crime as the destruction of many draft files in a protest against the Vietnam War. Stephanie also emphasized that even though the Camden 28 confessed to their crimes, every single member was acquitted.
    The general pacing of the video was very jumpy and choppy because there were many breaks in the recording of the broadcast. However, the volume was very good and it was easy to understand what Stephanie was saying. Furthermore, she seemed extremely prepared and it was evident that she had done some outside research apart from simply viewing the film. She was very informed about the circumstances surrounding the film and the overall theme. Also, Stephanie seemed very confident throughout the video, especially since she was speaking off the top of her head and not reading from a script.
    Stephanie was very thorough in her explanation of how the film related to what we are studying in class. First, she explained that this was a case of the executive branch overstepping its boundaries and subsequently being checked by the judiciary branch through the system of checks and balances. Also, Stephanie made the connection between the film and the power of people in a democratic government. The Camden 28 used the theory of nullification in their trial because they felt that their crime was justified. They thought the Vietnam War and the laws preventing them from protesting the war were unjust, even though they had been approved through the majoritarian form of democracy. So, the film suggests that substantive democracy prevailed in this particular case.
    One fact from the film that Stephanie mentioned was how Bob Hardy was utilized by the FBI in order to build their case against the Camden 28. In fact, the film states that the FBI went too far by actually facilitating the crime instead of preventing it. Another fact that she provided was how the film parallels the current situation in America today. Many people, including some members of the Camden 28, are protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though these protests are not violent. She noted that it is important to connect history to what is occurring today.
    While the film sounds very interesting, I would be annoyed, like Stephanie was, with having to do outside research in the middle of viewing the film in order to fully understand what was going on in the documentary. Stephanie noted that the film could have done a better job of telling the story if it had given more background on what was going on at the time. She made a good observation that it seemed that the film was targeted at those who had lived through the Vietnam protests and had a good understanding of the situation. Another weakness noted by Stephanie was the film’s insufficient explanation of Bob Hardy’s decision to become an FBI informant. The film vaguely touched on Hardy’s being a conservative and having a respect for law and order, yet it does not give much evidence of why he was originally a conspirator in the plan but then changed allegiances. The film and director also had noticeable biases towards the Camden 28 and the jury that acquitted them. The director believed that they were rightfully acquitted and that their crime was justified, which was evident in the film.

  2. Stephanie has done an excellent job explaining this documentary to me. She did a phenomenal job stating her personal opinions about it. The theme was explained to a great extent. I understood that the main theme of the documentary was that a chronicling of the Camden 28 attempted to protest the Vietnam War by breaking into a government building and destroying files. They had made a plan, a trial occurred, and eventually they were acquitted by the jury. They were acquitted because the jury said that the FBI should have stopped them ahead of time instead of catching them red-handed (Bob Hardy was in the Camden 28 who was a member of the FBI- which is a fact that Stephanie provided). Stephanie explains that the files were destroyed so that people would not be drafted. The general pacing of the broadcast was pretty good. Stephanie was not fast and I could understand what she was trying to say. There were some areas where something she said would be said again which confused me and some breaks in the video. I could hear her voice perfectly but there was some background noise. Her voice was louder than the background noise. Other than that the volume was satisfactory. Overall, Stephanie was prepared but there were times when she looked hesitant. Stephanie was informed and confident. She explains that she did outside research to further understand the documentary. Her connection with the documentary to what we have learned in class is completely relevant and she explained her reasoning behind why it was related also. A fact that Stephanie explained was that the executive branch overstepped its boundaries in this trial and the judicial branch checked the executive branch through checks and balances. She also relates the documentary to the power of the people in a democratic government. The people, using their freedom of speech explained their argument to the jury. They tried to use nullification in their argument. They felt that they were justified because they were fighting against an unjust war. They used nullification to get the jury to acquit them even though they admitted they had committed the crime. They believed that the war was undemocratic which is why had advanced to commit this crime. It is evident that this documentary supports the substantive form of democracy, which Stephanie also states. Stephanie was very informative about the documentary. She stated her personal opinions about the director, Anthony Giacchino, explaining that he was bias, which is a fact. He believes that he Camden 28’s argument was justified. This film does sound really interesting and I would definitely watch it but I would be very annoyed if I had to stop the film multiple times and research the background and meaning of something, which Stephanie had to do. A weakness of the film would be that this film was directed towards people who had lived through the Vietnam War protests and who understood more of what was happening during that time. This would be a weakness for many people who do not know much about the Vietnam War and would be confused about the specifics then people who lived through it. Also, Stephanie explains that the film could have done a better job in explaining why Bob Hardy had gone to the FBI and betrayed the Camden 28. A strength of the film would be that it is explained thoroughly why the Camden 28 did what they did- why they committed the crime. Strength is that the film parallels to what is going on in the world currently with Camden 28 members protesting the wars in Iraq. This film is foreshadowing of what would happen in the future, when it was filmed. A point that should be noted is that Bob Hardy was a conservative who respects law and order who believed that the Camden 28 was not justified in their crime, but he was originally a part of the Camden 28. The film does not explain why he had changed his mind which is also another weakness of the documentary. Stephanie did an excellent job and she even states that it is very important to connect history to the world today.