Friday, June 13, 2014
Statement Analysis: Documentary: "Chosin"
What are the odds of finding living veterans of World War II who could speak of the war for a televised documentary?
The 70th anniversary of D Day was just marked. This means that the very youngest D Day vet would be no younger than 87 years old, with the average being 93 years old.
Now that the documentary film makers have actually found a living vet, they now must ask him about "combat" even though 70 percent or more did not see actual combat, depending upon the battle. What will they do if the vet was in supply? Kitchen? Secretary? Clerk?
Given the difficulty of the past 10 years in speaking to actual WWII vets, do the documentary film makers go ahead and interview him and splice the film, and show it anyway?
Statement Analysis sometimes can 'spoil' things for television watchers, but if you watch enough of these documentaries and follow the pronouns, you will eventually come upon some veterans who are being interviewed who are not giving reliable testimony.
I recently saw the former "Military Channel" (now called "American Hero Channel" which shows lots of Mafia stories) documentary "Chosin", about the marine battle of the Chosin Reservoir in Korea in which the Americans battled the Chinese, though "Washington" denied that any Chinese military were there.
The show was well publicized this Spring and I recorded it in anticipation of hearing some moving stories.
I heard some of them connect themselves to the combat experience with the pronoun "I" and past tense verbs.
They told some painful and touching stories of what they experienced. Those who especially used "me" and "I" used sensory description and the emotional impact was obvious.
It's now common on many of these documentaries to hear at least one vet interviewed who you might include is "unreliable" regarding their testimony in some areas. They used the second person mostly, even when the topic appeared to be unique and personal to one man. There are many reasons why the pronoun "you" can be used, especially when the topic explained is happening to others, or the event is something expected if "you" had been there. We hear second person often in the language of athletes who fail as they distance themselves with, "you prepare yourself and do your best but..."
There was one, in particular, of whom I concluded: Deception indicated.
This doesn't mean that everything he said was untruthful, but it is more than just distancing language in some of his descriptions: there is no connection between him and reality.
Can you spot which of the vets interviewed I concluded was deceptive?
Listen for passivity.
He uses "either or"language to allow himself room to change his story...
Very weak pronoun usage.
His sentence structure is not like the others.
Listen to what he says in the negative, that is, what he does not know. He expresses this in open sentences.
The documentary does not "beep" out curses, but apparently it beeps out slang for Chinese soldiers. In this and in others, some of the elderly men clearly are pained in their memories, while others appear well pleased with the attention of the camera. The temptation to embellish while being told you are "the greatest generation" must be strong.
I still enjoy the documentaries, but always listen with discernment. It is something that I am not able to switch off.