Assignment 2: American Voices, American Views
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of
America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air
forces of the Empire of Japan."
-- President RooseveltLet’s begin by trying to relive the immediate reaction to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor through first-hand news reports and the official government response and reaction:
"What we ought to do in this country to chase every damn skunk, German, Russian, the Japanese where they come from and never bring them back in this country. I wish I was the president for about one year, there'd be not a goddamned skunk left here in this country."
-- man on the street, Washington, D. C.
- listen to some of the radio broadcasts by the news networks on December 7, 1941
- listen to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Address to Congress on December 8, 1941 (this site contains a written transcript of the speech as well)
Now return to the Library of Congress “After the Day of Infamy” archive, where, as you noted last assignment, the complete listing of eighty-four recordings for "Man-on-the-Street" (done December 8, 1941) and "Dear Mr. President" (done in January and February of 1942) interviews can best be found by clicking on “Search” and browse by “Audio Titles”.
Listen long and thoughtfully to the men and women on the street, recording your responses in a blog. (Remember the Working with the Recordings document if you need it.)
Spend the full rest of today's time listening to interviews and making notes for use in your final project in this unit.
What do you hear?
What kinds of questions are being asked?
- Are there any surprises?
- Did you find that some of the responses were exactly what you expected?
- Take note of any patterns you see developing in the responses.
- What comments or reactions do you hear repeatedly?
- Are there differences in people’s reactions depending on what state they’re from or their ethnicity or race?
- How about women’s replies versus men's?
- Many of the respondents indicate their professions and level of education. Does that make any difference in what they tell the reporters?
What kind of impact do these voices have on you?
- Do the reporters “lead” the witnesses?
- Are there questions that aren’t asked that you feel would be more appropriate or useful?
- Are the people being interviewed given opportunities to express themselves genuinely?
Post whenever you have a chunk of information to share. Though you could make one massive post, it would make more sense to break your observations down into several user friendly blog-chunks (as replies to your first post) to capture the immediacy of your reactions while they are fresh.
- Do you notice any accents or dialects?
- Do certain voices sound more “intelligent” or “accurate”? Why?
- Can you sense fear, anger, resolve, patriotism, concern, hatred, or pragmatism in the rhetoric used by those being interviewed?
Posting blog-chunks will also give you an opportunity to pause to check out your classmates’ blogs while you’re working in the archive and to benefit from their responses.
"I think our secretary of state must have been asleep if we were betrayed. Clearly, we need somebody in the Naval Intelligence Corps to kind of find out what's going on. If we didn't know what was going on prior to the attacks."
-- man on the street, Bloomington, Indiana