Week 1: Update Info & Share Reactions

Your first week’s mission has been updated:

Part 1: Email your photo
Part 1: Update your Student Information Sheets
(Deadline: Next Week)

Some your submitted photos ended up in my enormous Gmail spam bin. Please assist me by taking your Student Information Sheet and doing the following :

  1. Glue a passport-size photo of yourself to the sheet’s top right corner.
  2. Indicate the classes you’re in with me (i.e. COM125a, COM125b, and/or COM242).
  3. Add your new COM125 blog address (if any).

Part 2: Share your reaction to the videos shown in class
(Deadline: 19th Jan, Friday, 5pm)

  1. Share what you’ve learnt from the in-class videos (shown in-class on 17th Jan) via the comments here (in about 100 words). Use your full student name so for now until I learn who you are.

Part 3: Facebook.com (Optional)

  1. Set up your profile on facebook.com (if you haven’t done so)
  2. Join the COM242 facebook group which I’ve setup.


Filed under Assignment

66 responses to “Week 1: Update Info & Share Reactions

  1. While the video on witches did not afford a distinct significance in communication due to the lack of a storyline, a deeper view, particularly in the exchange in words, gave me a better picture overall.

    “I’m not a witch.” But you are dressed like one, says Bedevere. This statement sounds absurd and infact, it is. In technical terms, the notions of generalization, fallacy and illogical reasoning come into play.

    Nevertheless, these types of deductions do happen so often in everyday life. People perceive and decide what is right or wrong almost instantly. Of course, I am not spared from these mistakes either. Therefore, we should learn take a step back before sizing people up in within split seconds, or perhaps minutes.

  2. First! Wahahaha! (I really wonder what’s so special about being the first to comment for people to totally gloat about it on forums and comments).

    Regarding the Monty Python clip, I noted something related to what Kevin talked about. Bedevere’s reasoning as we know is technically logical – wood floats, so do ducks. But we all know with the power of hindsight and knowledge that its ridiculously wrong. Herein lies the concern: that seemingly logical reasoning can, for all we know, be grossly off-track. Fundamental science could well be the polar opposite of the truth.

    Should we worry if we’re getting it all wrong? Or should we be excited that there just may be far greater possibilities to discover? You decide whether the cup is half-empty or half-full.

  3. … ok this is what I get for being long winded… thanks Weng 😛

  4. Goh Li Rong

    Initially, I thought the video was just some nonsensical comedy merely for entertainment purposes. However, when Mr Lim drew the parallel of our reasoning, deductions, inductions etc. and scientific theories in the real world to how Bedevere did so, I found that really interesting. It did not strike me that many times we use such flawed reasoning and how quickly we make our assumptions and judgments as well. As ridiculous as the show was, it was kind of a reality check for me. Those villagers may have seemed really ignorant for having followed Bedevere’s reasoning and deductions, thereby assumed that the girl was a witch, but I feel like we ourselves are guilty of that so many times as well. We tend to judge so quickly and easily. Probably simplifies life just so we can understand it better, but in the process of doing so, do we end up making life or death decisions as well?

  5. Monty Python:What struck me first was the way the people hit their heads on the bible. I think there is an element of following the crowd. Nobody wants to be the odd one not condemning the witch, so everybody blends in shouting. They do not care about reason or civilised thinking here, given this was the ancient times where most people were uneducated. Deductive and inductive reasoning were done by the authority, the man in front of the crowd. The king knighting the kneeling man reinforces ultimate authority. Kings are commonly known as the Son of Heaven.

    The radio clip: the media effects used are amazing for the 1970s period. The way the music was played made the clip engaging to listen to. It succeeded in stirring the empathies and fear of invasion by aliens. I did not read War of the worlds, but another novel of HG Wells. Music and voice casting have to be convincing for a sound- only file to be effective.

  6. Liaw Wan Ting

    Monty Python :
    This is the first time that I watch this clip, and my initial thought was that this might be some silly video about snakes or violence of some sort. muahhaa.. Anyways, after watching it I find that it has brought out a very interesting point (as highlighted by Mr Lim) – the way people deduce or reason things. (girl is a witch because she looks like one; duck floats wood floats so duck is wood?) It happens ever so often in our daily lives that it has become rather inconspicuous. Perhaps it’s high time that we do take a step back and think before we make any judgements on anything- what are our evidence? Are the evidences well substantiated?

    Radio Clip:
    I thought that this clip was a rather interesting way to show how reliant we are on the media, and also the immense and insidious impact that the media has on us. By airing bits and pieces of recorded sounds (police sirens, ambulance sirens, etc), the people are so easily conned into thinking that aliens are coming to attack us; Likewise, through other media such as the telephone and television, the people are appeased by knowing that it was actually a false alarm. I wonder, if we’re now slaves to our own technology or are we still in control?

    tee hee hee.. sorry.. I talk too much. ;p

  7. While the villagers in the witch clip might be of ancient times, clueless and uneducated, I am pretty certain that educated people of today are in fact not very much better. Stereotyping, the fruit of ignorance as well as ego/ethnocentrism, is a common trait possessed by modern people. A person with a mohawk must be a punk, a person with tattoo must be a gangster, a person with whatever on him must be something. People are constantly judged by their book. No one really bothers to look deeper and find out the truth.

    As to the radio case, what we have just witnessed is an evidence of how human’s ignorance, if manipulated, can lead to something big. Even in this example, where nothing is distorted, where disclaimers have been put to tell people it’s fiction, people still take it as truth. Hitler was one person who knew about this very well.

  8. Monty Python:
    The video shown in class was rather entertaining, and elicited a few laughs from the class 🙂 However, it also provided insights into the way people stereotype, and assign a category to people just based on their outer appearance alone.

    The crowd was depicted as a brainless bunch of fools – only capable of thinking simplistically, and echoing each others thoughts when in doubt. They were easily swayed and convinced by Bedevere’s words, and probably regarded those words to be the absolute truth. It shows the “herd-like mentality” those villagers possessed – they had no solid opinions of their owns, and needed someone to tell them what to believe in.

    Whilst this clip demonstrates how damaging false perceptions and judgements can be, it also shows how the media can fan the fires of stereotypes. Seeing Bedevere as a rough representation of the media, he tells the clueless villagers what to think, albeit reasoning in a rather illogical manner.

    I think it is no different from what the media does to the masses these days. They do not directly dictate what we have to think; instead, messages (logical, or illogical) are constantly drummed into our heads, and we start to adopt them without realising it.

    Radio Clip:
    For this, I didn’t quite catch much of it. However, I think it demonstrates how powerful the media is in transmitting messages, and how great its effects are in our lives.

    Something like that can be seen as a “prank”. We live in a blockbuster age, nothing can surprise us anymore. If aliens really did take over the earth one day, I wonder, would we really be as panicky and agitated? Just how long will it take for our disbelief to be replaced by fear?

  9. Wong Renhao

    Apologies for not leaving my full name earlier…

  10. William Siew Jing Wen

    Monty Python:
    The video was instigate some hilarious points and brought in ideas of induction and deduction on the way the people describe the ‘witch’.

    It seems that simplicity in the way the villages comment and convict the victim brought out similar interest to how people judge things on the surface or by the book (ie. literally). It also enhances the message to bring across the idea of reasoning clearly through false perceptions and provocative justification. Hence manipulating the crowd (other villagers) to agree with it – Appeal to beliefs or appeal to crowd.

    Radio Clip
    The clip illustrates how the lack of visuals and the superficial knowledge of people about media effects and influence can generate wrong impressions and arouse curiosity. In contrast, it also shows that the power of media can permeate people’s anxiety and fear.

  11. Monty Python:

    When Bedevere said that the girl was a witch simply because she looked like one, it reminded me of what Dr Sachs said in our previous semester in Persuasion : “It’s got feathers, wings and flies – therefore it must be a duck!” This statement elicited many laughs last semester and the same applies here. An enytheme (incomplete syllogism) is used here.

    A: Witches float like wood (or ducks in this case)
    B: (Since she weighed the same as the silly duckie) Therefore, she is a witch.

    This make no sense at all! This example uses inductive reasoning and draws final conclusion from specific examples. Yet, we do make such fallacious reasoning in our daily observations based on Social Proof – we blindly follow similar people in unfamiliar situations.

    War of the Worlds:

    I recall this section coming out in my PETS course book when I was in primary school! This only shows that we need to listen to everything from the beginning – or risk being misled into something that appears deceivingly realistic.

  12. I’m quite impressed by what I’m reading so far. I’m glad that most of you sense that this train of reasoning exists even till today, as I demonstrated with the “global warming” issue.

    While Al Gore produced an amazing presentation in “An Inconvenient Truth” to illustrate how man could have contributed to the global warming, my argument is whether mankind was solely to blame. It’s “convenient” to miss out other factors that he might not have presented.

    Researchers at Duke University (2005) have found that 10–30% of the warming over the last two decades may be due to increased solar output.

    As such, the controversy I’m trying to highlight here is whether we should see “mankind’s irresponsibility” or the “Sun’s rising temperature” as the true cause of Earth’s dramatic climate change.

  13. Maria Paul

    Honestly in the beginning I thought that I was jsut going to watch some comedy. However, as the scenes progressed I began to realize that there is actually substance to what I am viewing. What struck me the most was the village peoples’ confidence and adamant belief that the woman is a witch. Is this ignorance or naiveness?

    They do not seem to convinced by anything else, except that the ‘Witch’ must be burnt. Isn’t this a picture of us at times when we are overtaken by our beliefs and we refuse to buge? Well some may say that we do not behave ridiculously as those in the video. However

  14. In the beginning of the movie, I thought we gonna watched some serious movie. Something about religion. But when it reached until the ‘witch’ part, I begin to understand what the movie is about.

    When they are discussing about the girl, whether or not she is a witch, they are using somekind of syllogism. As Daphne mention above, they are using syllogism by comparing the girl=duck.

    In our daily life, we are infected, aware or not, by the media using a syllogism. for example, an advertising by David Becham promoting a Police specs. David Bechkam is cool and using a Police, then, if we are using the Police specs we will be as cool as David Beckham.

    And beside that, I do learn something in you class yesterday is we cannot trust everything we heard or see from media as it wont always show the fact.

  15. Maria Paul


    However, in my opinion I feel that most of the time, we all want to be right and that can be a factor that blinds us from seeing the truth.

  16. Monty Python:

    When I first watched the Monty Python video clip, I thought that it was a nonsensical piece of visual, that cracked me up. I was basically wondering what were we doing, watching such a video in a communication class. As the video progressed, I could not see how a girl could possibly weigh the same as a duck, and people were deciding if that girl was a witch based on it! Another hard to digest fact was that the people banging their heads against the bible. I mean who in their right frame of mind woukd do that. Apart from the hitting that was going on, commoners were seen minding their own business. They seemed hardly bothered by what was going on around them. Basically, the people in the video were portrayed as a mindless and stupid bunch, who could not distinguish whats logical from whats not. They simply go along with the suggestions given to them, which also suggests that they are uneducated and fail to think for themselves. This is something that happens to us also. When we see an advertisement about a product that interests us, we get swayed towards it, does not matter if the product is good or bad. We just want to get associated with it.

    Audio Clip:

    I felt that the audio clip was rather misleading to those who did not have a clue about what was going on. It was harder to grasp the content because unlike the Monty Phython clip, there wasn any visuals. Hence, what you hear is based on your own imagination and understanding. In this sort of cases, you tend to believe everything you hear and that is where people will start manipulating you and your thoughts and ideas.

  17. Sangheetha

    Having never watched Monty Python before, I had no idea what to expect. Initially, I thought that the clip was going to be about religion. However, the clip was funny and insightful. While watching the clip, I was reminded about Aurthur Miller’s “The Crucible”, which was also about a trial of a witch.
    It is certainly interesting how people underestimate the power of reasoning. The reason not neccessarily has to be good as long as there is a reason. In this case, the reasoning was illogical and faulty. However, according to the villagers, there was “proof” that backed up the accusation.
    In the case of the radio clip, I was fascinated about how there was no need for visuals to formulate panic. Media, no matter what form it is in, is the most powerful source to reach the public. It is just the matter of using it wisely or not.

  18. jiayi

    Well,i have to admit that my first impression of the video clip was boring. It seems to look like another boring religious and heavy content movie.However as the show proceeds, it turned out to be quite funny. Their concept of a witch is quite ridiculous. I don’t quite get the the part why witches float on water,don’t think it make any sense. I guess there are times that we do make funny accusations on people too in our daily lives like more english educated people are proud. But, that is defintely not the case. I guess we should not sometimes judge a book by its cover. I have friends that i do not have a good first impression in the beginning but in the end we became best pals.

    Anyway back to the lesson,i thought the radio clip was a clever tactic to catch everyone’s attention and is a good advertisement for the movie. While listening to the clip, i was thinking that i will most probably be those peope who will blindly thought is true and freaked out until someone told me that the ailens are not invading the earth.

    anyway, i enjoyed the lesson on wednesaday.Hope we can enjoy more of these interesting videos and clips.

  19. One obvious lesson that struck me from the clip on the Monty Python witch hunt was that of faulty logic and reasoning. As learnt in our previous COM 231 Persuasion class, the arguments made in this clip are syllogisms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllogism). For example, “witches burn, wood burns, therefore witches are made of wood”!!?? Faulty logic and reasoning at its best.

    Also, in my opinion, the mass hysteria brought about by the airing of the radio clip “The War of The Worlds”, demonstrates to me the power of ignorance and the media. If we are ignorant to whatever messages that bombard us through whatever form of media, and choose not to authenticate them through research or verification with other people, then we can be sure that silly reactions or choices will be made. Thus, active communication keeps us grounded to the facts and inaccurate information at bay

  20. I’ve never doubt the power of the mass media, much less question it. This lesson makes me realize the need to. Not only that, the poison of it. As the quote goes:

    There are some people who create what will happen;
    There are some who knows what happens;
    And they are some who will always wonder what happened.

    Although this quote is roughly recalled from a study guide by Anthony W H Lee, I find that it pretty much sums up the attitudes of the people towards the mass media.

    In the Monty Python video, let’s assume the villagers have read in the news or heard from the radio how a witch looks like. When they found one that fits the description, they burn her. If they realize they have burnt the wrong person, they then only realize they had access to wrong information. They have access to certain axioms or truths but have no way of proving them. They will probably wonder what made them think a witch weighs as much as a duck. The newspapers? The radio?

    And the scary part? They made use of science, which is supposed to be objective, falsifiable and logical. Of which the opposite would bea pseudo-science.

    The people who have had seen a real witch will probably see that the ignorant villages have been misguided by information that is incorrect. They may try to stop them. They may try to educate their ways or they may look at social causes or see it as a social change. They are the ones who know what is really going on. Ultimately the people on top of the food chain are the ones who create what are happening and they probably had the results (burning of the wrong witch) planned that way. They may have grudges against a certain race or group and made use of the society’s taboos and point it to them. So they may get rid of this certain race or group.

    After seeing how poisonous mass media may become, harnessed by the rich and the powerful with the tools of “objective” science, I can only suggest greater media awareness and critical reasoning for the sights and sounds you hear.
    However, it is hard to scrutinize every information we receive, especially in the face of no direct opposite information; and plus; in this fast-changing and complex city we’re living in, cues and shortcuts allow us to keep up. (Recall “Persuasion” class)

  21. Shelwyn Neo

    First, the Monty Python clip made good use of humor to grab attention. As the video went on, it became apparent how it was trying to illustrate how “blind” people can be when it comes to judging something. In fact, it made fun of people, giving us a peek at the foolishness humans display at times, albeit via an exaggerated scenario.

    As we watch the video, we may think to ourselves how ridiculously stupid those people are. Yet, many people often unknowingly behave in a similar fashion. People make wrong assumptions all the time. People are also regular victims to fallacies.

    Bedevere, on the surface, was giving suggestions to the people on the ways to identify a witch. In actual fact, he was misleading them. To a certain extent, Bedevere is like a metaphor for the media today. The media sends messages that seem to aid the public in making decisions. However, the hidden agenda may be to coerce the public into making one particular decision.

  22. Right, video and radio comments time! At the beginning of the Monty Python clip, what those guys in black coats were doing really catch my attention. It kind of reminds me of Harry Potter, hahaha. The clip was one of a kind, it was entertaining but the meaning hidden behind it was pretty deep. It suddenly struck me that human beings could be so superstitious and vulnerable to what they see or what they heard. I read somewhere that back in those days, people really did drown girls whom they thought were witches. It was very ridiculous as they’d tie a metal ball or something to the girls’ legs, and threw them into the water. If they did not float, the people THEN realised that those girls were not witches. So many innocent lives were lost that way. It is quite intriguing that how ignorance could cost a precious life.

    As for the radio clip, well, I did watch the movie, sorry about it Tom Cruise but it really sucks! The aliens were quite not up to the “oh it scares me” expectation. I think the radio clip was more interesting and it provides me with more room of imagination to what to expect. It brought out the anxiety of the audience and I would be fooled too if I didn’t know it was a play.

    Doesn’t this kind of tells us never to completely believe what we see or hear because things might not be true? Most of us tend to believe what we see or what we hear from media or from sources of information, but are those information really true and completely reliable? I think we have a lot more to find out and learn in this class!

  23. Monty Python. That was my first time hearing that 2 words. When Mr. Kevin talked about it, my mind was full of questions marks. Upon watching the video, it reminded me of Lord of the Rings, the setting etc, and oh… i hated Lord of the Rings. I felt it was quite entertaining in the beginning with them hitting the bible on their heads, i suppose so. But hey, after the video, i realised what the video was all about. Like what Mr. Kevin says, CORRELATION. A witch floats on water. Ducks float on water. So if the duck is of equivalent weight to as of the gal that was captured, she would be a witch. When the person who found the witch was knighted, i felt some injustice for the gal. Some people will go all out to get what they want. The gal was maligned in order for that guy to be knighted. So unfair!

    And about the audio clip, i felt media plays a very important role in our lives. Especially the radio. Because we do not watch, we hear it, we cannot see the seriousness of the issue. For the faint hearted, upon hearing such drastic information from the radio, he or she might just panick and thinks of that as the end of the world. Thus, we perceive what we see or hear. We choose whether we want to believe or not. The media can choose whether they want to broadcast the information as drastic as they want.
    One livid example is the Sept 11 bombings, when i first saw the news clip, i still thought it was part of the movie. And upon watching the Sept 11 movie where Nicholes Cage starred in it, when news of the first air plane crashed into the Twin Towers, the Americans didn’t really take the news seriously. So what do you think?

  24. I used to think that The Monty Python was some strip show! Haha. That’s because The Full Monty means stripping naked right? I got them both confused.=D

    The Monty Python was an apt example of how people tend to jump to conclusions when presented with “facts”; “facts” that very possibly are taken as the undeniable truth just because every one thinks that they are true. Social proof, any one?

    It also points out how misleading but sometimes convincing correlation can be. The video clip highlights the importance of finding out any similarities and differences between things before making any decision on how they relate to one another.

    Lastly, Bedevere, to me, was a caricature of the role the media plays in society today. Notice that he does not directly tell his audience that the girl is a witch/wood/duck; he merely implies as such and allows his unthinking audience to further convince themselves (through their “scientific” experiments) that she is a witch.

    I have watched the latest War of the Worlds movie, and it hardly impressed me in the least. Having read about the radio broadcast incident, I am terrified at the impact the media has on us. Furthermore, I can only be thankful that we have numerous resources to double check whatever information we receive.

    This incident not only proved the presence of a media influence, it also highlights the importance of information from numerous sources.

  25. The first part of Monty Python with the hooded guys chanting and slamming their heads with the strangely long bibles really caught my attention.

    Frankly speaking, I didn’t know that Monty Python was a comedy, in fact, I thought it was some spooky movie like The Exorcist(Well, I tend to get spooked by chanting and hooded people). It was only when the witch part came on that I realised the film was actually a comedy.

    The entire idea of the people dressing the girl up as a witch and insisting that she really is one seemed absolutely absurd. The logic and reasoning behind their reason for deeming her as a witch was even more out of this world! I was frowning in bewilderment and got increasingly amused as the “justification” went on. It occurred to me that their reasonings were all mere fallacies and were driven by ignorance as well as a herd mentality. I felt that although the scene appeared to be ridiculous and silly, it was actually a satire of society…in the real world.

    People are often clueless or unsure of themselves and their surroundings, and tend to look to others for answers or acceptable behaviors. Thus, people are often swayed by the majority or the people who appear to be of a higher status.

    That brings me to ponder on the whole Al Gore global warming issue. It is true that many people thought what Al Gore presented was the complete truth because his statistics were from scientists and people relevant to the field of global warming. I on the other hand, feel that the more important factor involved was ‘authority’. Al Gore is a figure of authority and people took the “authority must be right” short cut and believed every single word he said without really thinking. However, what people didn’t realise was that Al Gore may be a figure of authority (in politics) but definitely not one in the field of global warming! So, should we really believe every word he said in that documentary?

    Although mental short cuts seem to be the easy way to reason and rationalize, we should always take a step back to think deeper and more critically to prevent ourselves from being exploited.

    Hmm…I’m really hoping my ideas/verbal vomit make sense.

  26. First off, I would like to say that the Monty Python video was really hilarious. However, on a more serious note, it also serves to illustrate how frightening the consequences can be if one does not question what one is presented with and when one does not think critically. This is very relevant to our course of study because the media is constantly presenting us with information. Hence, the video is instructive in teaching us the power of media, but more importantly, the value of critical thinking and viewing things with an inquisitive mind.

    The radio broadcast of ‘War of the Worlds’ shows how media can blur the line between reality and fiction. The mass hysteria caused by the broadcast of ‘War of the Worlds’ reminds of a similar incident back in 1999 when the movie ‘The Blair Witch Project’ was released. Clever marketing techniques along with the unique way in which the movie was filmed and presented, successfully convinced many people that the movie was in fact a real event. From this, we can see that media is so influential that it has the power to turn fiction into fact.

    I think both the video and radio clips clearly demonstrate the power that the media has over us.

  27. The beginning part with the hooded pasty-faced monks bashing their foreheads with bibles didn’t quite get to me. Maybe I was thick, but I couldn’t really see the significance leading to the next scene of the villagers dragging along the witch with them. Honestly, I didn’t quite appreciate the humor. Don’t get me wrong here; I love humor. We all laughed but after the humor went off the absurdity of the logic came through. It didn’t make any sense in the correlation from the duck to the witch. All it took was Arthur to make a point and she was condemned. This portrays the respect and fear they had of a slightly higher person in status and authority. They didn’t think twice of the ridiculous deduction; they just agreed. In reality, unfortunately, humans are prone to acting in the same manner, even myself.

    Then it could be just me but I felt mildy concerned that the film made women look derogatory. There could be no such intended notion but at the time the film was produced women were perhaps still an inferior gender where certain situations were not tolerated. Did any lady who had a wart, a pointed nose and dressed like a witch deserve to be labelled one? This reminds me of Joan of Arc where she was also accused. You see more cases of women always being portrayed as witches; but hardly the men as evil wizards.

  28. With regards to the Monty Python video, it appears to me that anyone out there could just do anything to bring someone down. Once the mind is set, there will be no changes. Here in this clip, the villages admitted that they dressed the girl up to look like a witch, yet insisted on burning her. The thought of the clip just makes me want to laugh. In fact, we’re just laughing at ourselves. Believe it or not, we too behave in such a “comical” manner.

    For the topic on global warming, i’ve always felt that we humans were the ones that triggered it off. We cared more about having war with other countries, upgrading our lives with the newest technology and getting rid of nature just to live in bigger landed properties. We pay so much for this “branded” painting but pay nothing for the view of nature. There is no way for us to negotiate with nature to not harm us. This is just my point of view, till then please enlighten me for new views.

  29. The video caught my attention when it came to the part where people accepted the solution: weighing the poor girl by a duck.
    People without knowledge tend to accept whatever explanation as long as it is in their acceptable value. And to me, this is where the power of media comes from.
    The villagers and people who doubting about Global Warming are somehow relating to each other. They both don’t know what happened and how to find the truth. Hence, they need a credible advice. Here came King Arthur and Scientists( Al Gore). A sounded right answer is all what people, the mass need to hear from media. And I believe, that’s how people being exploited by media( or us, students of communication)

  30. After watching the video, I realized that education plays a major role in human civilization. Knowledge about certain things is sometimes both good and bad. Good, meaning that if we have the correct knowledge, it is of course advantageous but if otherwise, the presumed knowledge may cause others much trouble. The scene whereby the woman was said to be a witch, then dragged up to weigh with the duck and ultimately brought to burn, explains exactly what I meant by “bad” knowledge.
    Linking the video and audio clip, I conclude that both are related to social proof. That is, under uncertain situations, we tend to look at others and follow what they are doing or think the same way as them. The evidence to support from the video is the scene where the villagers believed that the woman is a witch as she has a long nose and wears like one. While for the audio clip, when listeners heard the radio report, some were uncertain and some believed it to be true and were afraid. This is because they had never gone through things like that before and were unsure as to how to react. In addition, this also illustrates the point that media is a powerful and influential form of medium to reach out to the public.

  31. Amanda Kee

    Monty Python & the Holy Grail

    When I was told that we were going to watch a video clip, I was expecting something towards the serious side. The start of the clip, where the hooded men were chanting, made me prepare myself for something spooky. However, I was wrong!

    This clip helped me recall many terms I learned from last semester’s classes taught by Dr. Andrew Sachs. The way the villagers behaved was silly yet comical! Although there were many of them, there seemed to be only one mind as everyone shared the same thoughts. (They probably followed one another’s thoughts blindly.)

    The way they searched for a reason to prove that the woman was a witch was so out of this world. Their reasoning–witches burn, wood burns, wood also floats, and ducks float, so if she weighed the same as a duck, she’s a witch. Last semester, I learned a term Modus Pollens which followed this very concept. It goes: if A is C, and B is A, therefore B is C. This method of reasoning can make sense, but can also be flawed reasoning.

    In this case, their flawed reasoning resulted in the killing of a woman. She was put to death based on such illogical reasons (although I really have no idea how she could be the same weight as a duck).

    I guess what I learned from this clip was to be careful when reasoning. Art mimics life, not the other way around. This clip is just a representation of our reality. It may seem so absurd and extreme in the video but I believe that in real life, we do actually make similar illogical reasoning by mistake.

  32. Monty Python first. It amazes me, how you can see beyond the jokes and notice an issue of great importance being discussed in the comedy. Throughout the video, all i was thinking is “this is a stupid film”. Guess i still have a lot to learn from this class, particularly not to trivalize both the content of any media product and the influence that the product has over its audience. Joke or no joke, every piece of information portrayed by the mass media has direct impact on each and every one of the audience. In the case of Monty Python, once i label the villagers as ignorant and uneducated, the chances of me realizing that i, myself, has the potential to commit such fallacy in reasoning become dangerously low. Perceiving myself to be of higher intelligence as compared to the villagers would, in turn, prevent me from employing critical thinking skills against the massive amount of information portrayed by the media each day. Now, that wouldn’t make me a very smart consumer of the mass media, would it?

    I would like to think that this is what made people believe in an alien invasion in the War of the Worlds radio screenplay. Consumers of the mass media underestimate the influence of mass media far too much, such that we switch off our thinking ability when we watch television, listen to the radio broadcast, read a book, etcetra. Mindless receiving, and accepting, of the media messages can result in pretty scary situations, like the mass hysteria that the War of the Worlds radio screenplay caused.

    So how can we ensure that we don’t give our critical analysis skills a break when we receive media messages? I think the key lies in what you perceive the function of mass media to be. Television, radio, newspapers, books, music – these don’t exist simply to entertain. These are powerful means of influence. Every piece of information portrayed by the media has to be viewed critically. Its a must.

  33. Monty Python: The starting of the video clip left a deep impression in me. In that scene, the 6 men in black chanted and hit themselves with a bible each. There is always someone who will start the ball rolling. I suppose that scene has portrayed what we call social proof. A guy starts and the others get influenced.

    Moving on, the part where we got to know that the witch’s dressing is the result of the villagers’ doing further makes me feel that people(in the show) are indeed ignorant. They think she is a witch, so they dress her up as one. They are creating what they believed is true. Silly. This is what we have learnt before, the self-fulfilling prophecy.

    War of the Worlds: Media does play a great role in the communication world. Clearly illustrated in the audio clip, the radio successfully ‘tricked’ the listeners into believing that danger is here. If the media can be successful in turning a hoax into something real in the minds of the people, i am sure they can do anything they want. Anything… The power of media is such that it scares me.

  34. Thinking through after watching the Monty Python video, the event taking place, though meant to be totally ridiculous, can actually make sense.

    Besides the biased mentality against the “witch” being a reason why the crowd was so convinced, another reason could be due to the time period. The movie is set in the medieval period, which is way before the scientific revolution. Hence, most facts of life then were proven by arguments and logical reasoning, rather than by hard evidence. Unlike now, where every fact of life needs to be backed up by evidence, a simple seemingly logical argument in medieval times might be enough. Therefore, though their form of reasoning might seem totally ridiculous to us, to the extent that it is comical, it would seem logical to people of their era. This would probably explain why the supposedly “wiser” Bedevere and King Arthur used the same false reasoning, or fallacies, as well.

    Another point I wish to note from wednesday’s class is about the global warming issue. What Kevin said was true, global warming is not a result of man’s action. Global warming is actually a natural trend or process. I learnt about this when studying geography for my A lvls. The earth’s temperature fluctuates in cycles, a cycle taking abt 110,000 years to complete. Currently, temperatures are still at the “rising” stage and hence, temperatures are expected to increase with or without Man’s interference. So it is wrong to claim that Man is responsible for global warming, we are not that great. All we are doing is contributing to it. (Not that it is a good thing…)

  35. Com 242 lesson- 180107
    Monty Python and Holy Grail

    With regards to the video clip shown in class by Mr Kevin Lim, I found it rather interesting because, although we in the ‘real’ world regarded the villagers’ reasoning to be absurd, we too can be found guilty of illogical reasoning, unknowingly.

    According to the reasonings made by the villagers, the lady was found guilty of being a witch simply because she weighed the same as the duck. Firstly, how is it that a fully grown women weigh the same as a bird which is half the size? Secondly, how did they derive their reasonings from Witch burning to wood floating on water and finally comparing her to a duck.

    As i have mentioned earlier, we are all guilty of this. Take social proof and scarcity.(principles we learned last semester) Many of us decide to purchase products based on illogical reasoning. Examples: the product is expensive therefore its good; People buy it therefore it is good; if we do not buy it now, we would not be able to buy it in the future.

    Although this film was made a long time ago and on another continent, I felt that it’s producers and directors clearly protrayed the foundations of Kiasuism very well.

  36. Monty Python Clip: At the beginning, I did not really have any idea what the clip was about and how it was related to the course. The hooded monks slamming long bibles onto their forehead, the accusation of the woman being a witch and the logical but yet riduculus way of reasoning just did not make any connection to me at all. It left me slightly confused. It was till the link between them was being brought up and explained, that I finally got the gist of it. It’s funny how people relate things together. The relations are made in the way that they do sound sensible but at the same time illogical. Regardless of how illogical their ideas, the villages were convinced that the woman was a witch. Everyone was just going with the flow and insist that she was a witch. None of them bothered to question or go against the crowd. To a certain extent, such behaviors still exist in the modern world. People tend to follow the crowd and not create problems. Even when the resonings are not logical, they would rather follow than to go against. It scares to know that despite the reasonings being illogical, there are people who still choose to go with the flow.

  37. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the scriptwriters and creators made a parody of the King Arthur legend. There are various ways of creating humor. One way is to over dramatize situations. Back in those days, situations as such may be true. Their reasons for justification may seem extremely absurd now, but back then, there was almost absolutely no form of technology or much education for that matter. People were simply ill-informed and had to rely on little to make decisions and judgments. In this case, they resorted to social proof and authority for their reasoning. Though Bedevere’s logic made almost no sense to us, but in the movie, he was a figure of authority and because of that, it made his bizarre logic more convincing than it should have been. A person perceived to have authoritative status has better convincing abilities compared to one without that status. As mentioned in other comments by the other students, the bandwagon fallacy is pretty dominant in the show too.

    We may think that Monty Python’s satire of the King Arthur legend is extremely hilarious and the behavior of the characters, extremely primitive. Yet, till today with all the advancement in technology and education, people still commit the same silly mistakes and illogical reasoning. One fine example is “profiling”. “Profiling” is set of characteristics or qualities that identify a type or category of person or thing: a profile of a terrorist, a profile of a hobo, etc.

  38. Monty phyton: The beginning grasped my attention. When i saw those men hitting their heads with their bibles,i thought, “What the…”. It got my attention and i wanted to know what the next scene was,because the beginning looked serious and mysterious.
    The villagers came up next and what was thought as a mysterious video turned out to be humorous. As i listened to the villagers’ reasonings,’social proof’ came to my mind.When one villager agreed to burn the ‘witch’, the rest agreed too,no matter how illogical the reasonings were.Obviously,the villagers aren’t educated.

    War of the Worlds: I remembered Mr Lim’s explanation on what had happened when War of the Worlds went on air via radio- the casts did not mention that it was a skit etc,and how the listeners were left in a state of shock and panic.
    I realized that even then,mass media played a very important role. Back then,only the rich had television and I’m sure they were the only ones who could confirm whether the ‘invasion’ was true or not. Those without the luxury to own a television set were in a panic.
    Mass media is important in this case as they allow people to confirm certain news, to re-assure them that certain things are happening or vice versa. Generally, mass media help us decide on our actions – what we should or should not do next. First we confirm the information, then we decide on our next action.
    Coming back to this audio clip,if radio was the only mass medium back then, I’m sure ALL listeners would have freaked out!..and for no reason at all..

  39. Monthy Python:

    This is probably just me but I was getting a couple of vibes during the video clip in class. Chanting faceless fellas in hooded robes bring alot of medieval movies to mind but somehow The Da Vinci Code popped out in my head. Then about a minute into the clip, I began to get a whole Little Britain feel to it. The accent, the dead panned humour, the ridiculous costumes. Yeaa but nooo but yeaaaah.
    But as we delved into the induction/deduction reasoning, I realized the philosiphical side to it. Everybody is simply guilty of illogical reasoning. From scientists to our very own selves, we initially come with up with our own conclusion & then hunt endlessly for facts to prove it. Even at the expense of tweaking details here & there.

    War of the Worlds:

    The radio clip demonstrated the prowess of the media. We feed automatically on this information churning vehicle that sadly, we do not always question them. Furthermore, the clip went on to show that those with greater means to the media would be able seek credibility to the news since television were a luxurious comodity during that period.

  40. Jasmine

    After watching the video clip, I realized the importance of education. For the reason being that without education, we would not have the knowledge required for us to make reasonable or sound judgments about things/situations that are happening or are going to happen. Other than that, I could also see that we tend to base our judgments on the situation according to the reactions of the people around us. In other words, social proof is very strong in both the scene illustrated in the video clip and our daily life. Therefore, this video clip is able to illustrate that the media is a powerful source that is constantly changing their strategy/methods to reach out to the minds of the public through appealing to the crowd.

  41. Monty Python Clip: At the beginning, I did not really have any idea what the clip was about and how it was related to the course. The hooded monks slamming long bibles onto their forehead, the accusation of the woman being a witch and the logical but yet ridiculous way of reasoning just did not make any connection to me at all. It left me slightly confused. It was till the link between them was being brought up and explained, that I finally got the gist of it. It’s funny how people relate things together. The relations are made in the way that they do sound sensible but at the same time illogical. Regardless of how illogical their ideas, the villages were convinced that the woman was a witch. Everyone was just going with the flow and insist that she was a witch. None of them bothered to question or go against the crowd. To a certain extent, such behaviors still exist in the modern world. People tend to follow the crowd and not create problems. Even when the reasonings are not logical, they would rather follow than to go against. It scares to know that despite the reasonings being illogical, there are people who still choose to go with the flow.

  42. Nashrin Banu

    This is the first time that I am watching any Monty Python scenes. I would say that it is pretty funny, but despite it shown for humour, it tells us something important about the human nature. People are merely followers. It is the classic bandwagon reasoning that if other people think that the situation is true, it must be true as well, even though the proof that they use is not logical at all. In the video, the villagers would even go to the extent of putting false evidence on the girl to make sure that their reasonings are more grounded than just a mere suspicion.

    This kind of reasoning is rampant in today’s media from humorous clips such as this one to the advertisements used by companies today, to make people change their mindsets and believes, demonstrating how powerful the media could be, in terms of using the power of the bandwagon fallacy to change the mindsets and attitudes of people.

  43. The interesting bit I find about the Monty Python clip was how readily the peasants reach to their conclusion that the woman is a witch. “She looks like one!” they screamed. I find it silly when they were comparing the supposed ‘witch’ with a duck and wood. I guess, the power of association is strong since she did weigh as much as the wood. Of course it’s an exaggeration. It’s Monty Python! Hah.

    As for the H.G. Wells radio broadcast, I remember reading about it a couple of years ago. I was so amazed by what happened that I actually googled for the audio. It’s amazing how people can be easily affected by someone reading an excerpt from a book. Perhaps it was misunderstanding. I personally think, Orson Welles did play a part in creating that moment of hysteria.

  44. Monty Python Clip: The first few seconds of the clip where it showed monks banging their heads against the bible was appalling to see. In my mind, I was wondering why anyone would do such an absurd thing. The later scenes evolving the villages, the so called “witch” and the bedevere were ridiculously funny.

    Well, I am sure Mr Kevin’s purpose of showing us the clip is not just for the sake of fun and laughter but rather the important lesson or message that we should be able to point out. From the clip, I feel that the main theme is regarding the use of logical reasoning. The clip had obviously made use of deductive reasoning that is illogical. The villagers had made absurd comparisons, false generalizations and had reacted in an automatic mindless fashion as they just agreed to what one says.

    We may say that we are unlikely to engage ourselves in such situations but hey think again. Do we always make logical reasoning? Well, maybe most of the time we do but sometimes we may not. We also have the tendency to explain something or a situation as simply based on our common sense. However, haven’t we learnt in sociology that relying on common sense alone does not provide us the actual fact or truth? Thus, we should always bear in mind that logical reasoning takes much more effort by providing accurate explanation, clear understanding and control over the whole situation.

  45. I guess the monty python clip just showed how we can be fallacious in our reasoning. Obviously the one in the video was totally silly but in reality we do make fallacies – just not that silly…On the surface it seems to make sense..witch=wood=float=duck…so if girl=duck then she’s a witch. Ha..i wish reasoning is as simple as that..but like what we have learnt in critical thinking..we need to analyze the situation before arriving to a conclusion. However, fallacies are inevitable, but we have to be more aware and critical when a piece of infromation is given to us.

  46. Siti Hamimah Aminuddin

    So the whole main of the last class was about What is Mass Media. I actually didn’t think the scene from Monty Python made any sense even though the show is hilarious. But I guess that’s how I have always find media and its effects on people -most of the phenomenons we hear about need not necessary make sense. I am refering to the reasoning behind those phenomenons.

    Most people welcome shortcuts. That message was apparent in the Monty Python clip. Though, their reasoning for burning the girl was weak, they had already made up their minds to burn her.

    I find it fascinating that a simple radio broadcasting of War of The Worlds could create such hysteria. How can a mere script broadcasted on radio make people react as they did? And I agree with what was said in the last class -different people react differently to ‘news’.

    All in all, it was the radio broadcasting example that caught my interest the most because you can see lots of example of the Monty Python clip till today but you seldom hear about accidental hysteria due to the media. Or wasn’t it accidental? Most of the hysteria we hear about is supposed to be intentional anyway, orchestrated even.

  47. I was so much impressed by the “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” clip. The scene was projected in such an funny and easy way that people would enjoy the show and understand the meaning behind the scene.

    There were few things from the previous semester that came to my mind when i was watching the clip:

    First Finding: Syllogism (from COM 337)
    Bedevere used this technique to lead the crowd’s way of thinking about the lady as a witch. If we follow his logical statement through the conversation, it sounds a bit dumb:

    First statement: Modus Ponens (Affirming the antecedent)
    a) Everything that can be burnt is made of wood
    b) The lady witch can be burnt
    Therefore, the lady witch is made of wood.
    (Conclusion: Witch = wood)

    Second statement:
    a) Wood floats
    b) Duck ALSO floats
    Therefore, wood weighs the same as duck.

    Third statement: The combination of the first two statements
    a) If the lady weighs the same as duck, she’s made of wood
    b) If she’s made of wood, she can be burnt
    c) If she can be burnt, she’s a witch

    And as we know, it came to the part when the lady weigh more than the duck, therefore she wasn’t made of wood, she couldn’t be burnt, and the conclusion is SHE WASN’T A WITCH!

    Second Finding: Authority (From COM 231)

    It’s a way where people tend to believe everything that’s coming from the experts. In this scene, i saw Bedevere as someone who’s respected by the crowd. In my point of view, he might be a judge or something like that, as we can see how people dragged the lady witch to him and requested to him to do the execution. The crowd listened to every statement that he mentioned, they believed it, and their way of thinking were nicely led by Bedevere’s statements.

    These things make me realize the way how media affects us as the market. People might not realize this when they first see an advertisement, or movie, or anything else in the media. All these messages are delivered explicitly to the audience. Therefore, the next thing we know is that we tend to believe in what the media says, and do things that they want us to do. For me, it’s kinda scary because the media has the POWER to control us.

    Sorry for the too-long comment =)

  48. Ruzaidah Binte Md Rasid

    Logic affects our lives everyday as we use it both subconsciously and consciously in making decisions – both significant or otherwise. In contrast, others’ bad logic aid us in learning to refrain from making our own bad decisions. Exemplified in the Monty Python clip, the use of deductive reasoning is exaggerated to conclude that the woman is a witch (just because wood burns like a witch and floats like a duck). However, as Kenny Felder mentioned in his ‘Induction Fable’, wrong theories (which are grounded by bad logical reasoning) are still useful as they aid in developing into the next, bigger theory which could be beneficial. For example, Physics has been known to be fundamentally wrong for almost a century before it is utilised in making our very essentials now, like computers and cars. In that, ultimately the video has shown, at least for me, how media theories come to be from its ancient magic bullet haydey that got people to strongly believe on its powerful prowess to subsequent theories or models in this 21st century.

    War of the Worlds, the radio broadcast in 1938, is interesting in the sense that it confirms idea that the media has a powerful, direct effect on us. However, I note that such an occurance happened at the time when technology was new and trusted (alike how we employ the Internet now), and when media practitioners are more sophisticated than the audience. In this era of rapid information exchanges, I’m unlikely sure if such mass hysteria could be replicated through sheer radio drama – but then again, the Y2K bug did cause a significant alarm for us, the Gen-Y people. Ultimately, one could not condone the fact that the mass media do influence and affect the way we live which is the reason why as future media communicators, I find it imperative for us to learn about and understand more of its effect.

  49. Monty Python: I’d never seen the movie before, so upon noticing the era it was set in, I wasn’t expecting a comedy.
    It was an excellent albeit ridiculous example of fallacy.
    To think that someone could come up with such out-of-the- world judgements, and have others buy them too!

    Nevertheless, the witch scene does not reflect too differently about us, consumers today. As the cliche goes, “when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    I was also very impressed by the impact that “War of the Worlds” achieved. It was made so real that those who had no idea it was a show, believed everything that happened on it. That was brilliant!

    Thank you for reminding me of the power of media, Kevin.

  50. Shamala Devi

    Monthy Python:The opening scene of the movie made me assume that it was going to be serious.However,the scene with the ‘witch’ proved otherwise.The comedy reminded me of Shakespeare plays on Rome. The plebeians are often swayed easily by those in power.Their herd mentality is further depicted when Bedevere asks them if they dressed her up like a witch.We have to make sure we do not end up being like the ignorant villagers by jumping in to conclusions without thibnking through first.

    Audio Clip:The drama and sound effects are indeed powerful.The power of the media is portrayed through this as many people actually thought the earth was being invaded by ailens.

  51. Although I was unable to watch the video, after reading the script and the reactions to the clip by my colleagues, I got a basic idea of the video.
    I could jump to a conclusion and say that it seems absurd that the villagers stereotype a person to the extent of death without hardcore evidence. One could also say that in that time period people made many false judgements like this with deduction, incomplete arguments and reasoning. However, if we think about it there are instances where we also intentionally or untintentionally make not-so-intelligent reasoning which we believe is logically unbiased and clear. The Monty Python clip is an example of different peoples’ reactions (what they believe is logical) to different situations in different time zones throughout history.

    We all know for a fact that the media has the ability to influence the masses regardless of the time, be it the past or the present. We feel that most oftenly the media knows more then we do and most of the time we blindly follow them. However, I believe that people have learnt to now pick and choose intelligently what the media offers to us. But if we were to be bombarded by a particular totally alien phenomenon that we had no idea about, we would give ear to what the media says and this in turn would cause us to react accordingly : for example like the war of the worlds did.

  52. Shamala Devi

    Continuation…Both the audio and video shows the effect of the media on common people who choose to follow blindly.
    Reasoning has to be made based on common sense(maybe) and facts.During the time period in Monthy Python,the commoners were uneducated and chose to rely on figures of authority to make an ‘informed’ decision.However,during the period when the audio cliop was aired,people were definitely more educated.These people still choose to rely on figures of authority ,the radio and the scientists mentioned in the drama, to make a ‘informed’ decision.
    In conclusion,it does not matter if one is educated.It matters whether one chooses to use that knowledge wisely to make decisons especially those pertaining to the media.

  53. Monty Python was hilarious!!!

    And as much as most of us did laugh at the incredulity and stupidity of the villagers and their logic, i came to realise that this is actually what we do in today’s world.

    We jump to conclusions and ‘judge books by their covers’. Often than not, we do not give people a chance and tend to compartmentalised people into the kinds of person we might think they are. And because we already have a predisposed conception of them, it becomes hard for us to put down our pride and accept that we might be wrong and that they might not be as we deem them to be. Hence, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We go to extreme measures to prove that we are right about so-and-so.

    This is clearly shown in the way the villagers searched for a reason to prove that the girl was a witch!
    Witches–>Burn, Wood–>Burns,
    Wood–>Floats, Ducks–>Float,
    so therefore if she weighed the same as a duck, she’s a witch. what kind of logic is this man?!?!?!

    But it sorta reminded me of the Modus Pollen concept I learned last year under Dr Andrew Sachs, where if A is C, and B is A, therefore B is C. This kind of reasoning may make sense, but it can be seriously flawed if used inappropriately. Like how the girl was put to death because she weighs the same as a duck. (I seriously have no idea how she can POSSIBLY weigh the same as a duck! Its hilariously incredulous.)

    I think monty python shows us just how flawed our reasoning can be especially when we are ignorant of facts and is presented with facts and figures by someone whom you would consider to be an expert.

    Just like the Al Gore global warming example you was talking about.
    Why did we have any reason to doubt Al Gore?
    He presented facts and figures, graphs and pictures; evidence that backed up his claim! We considered him an expert presenting a seriously dangerous phenomenon to Mother Earth!

    I guess this teaches us to be more discerning when it comes to information we are presented with. Try not to take them in wholesale but to slowly digest it and always ask Why?

  54. The Monty Python video, made me realise how alike we are to the situation in the video. Everyone has used the form of reasoning to help support their claims and to make choices. I feel we often reason to make the right choices. The RIGHT choices stated by society, we merely reinforce them. In this video, the made really silly claims as to how the girl could be a witch, honestly, it was some really stupid relations between the duck and the witch, but hey, we sometimes make stupid claims to support something we strongly feel we are correct despite how silly it may sound. Sometimes we make flawed reasoning without realising it, and sometimes we simply accept such reasoning without thinking twice.

    It’s also amazing how much the media can influence the way we act. a simple radio clip, can trigger all kinds of emotions within us.

  55. The video from Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a good example of how people can misuse a logical process, and arrive at a completely ridiculous conclusion. Looking at the context in which it was presented however, I see nothing wrong with it; after all Monty Python is famous for that kind of humour. But it does bring up concerns about the risks people bring unto themselves by relaying on a single source of information; as we saw when the villagers consulted the knight. The best kinds of people are an informed people. Those who have access to multiple sources of information, and explore them to gain new knowledge and perspectives take a significant step in protecting themselves from exploitation; be it by a government, corporation, or other institutions and individuals.

  56. Felicia Lam

    I’ve never seen or heard of Monty Python but I guess I have now.
    Needless to say, these people had the silliest of reasonings that we laugh at and can openly tell you how ignorant they were. That is because we are seeing it from out of the box, as an outsider.
    A good excuse would be to say that its the era that affects their lack of judgement but if you look clearly in a present day context, we are guilty of such ignorance too.
    Mass media provides us with a lot of information, both true and false ones. However, like the people in the video clip, we often blindly believe what the mass media says without much questioning, nodding our heads to it when we can the draw the weakest correlation which does not nescessarily have to be rational. It just have to be enough for our minds to recognise it.
    Why do we do that?
    In the case of the video clip, the people did not question the reasonings at a greater depth because they assume if someone is confident enough to offer the reasoning in public in front of so many people, it must be true, they must have researched it so they blindly believe.
    Similarly, in our case, we believe what we hear or see from the mass media because we think if the information is to be presented to the masses, some research must have be done, otherwise they wouldn’t “dare” to broadcast it. And we assume if its incorrect, someone else would go correct it.

    People make assumptions.

  57. Monty Python: I first watched the clip in the wee hours of the morning when it was first posted up in the blog, I was freaked out by the opening Gregorian chants. Imagine hearing that at 2am, no clue that was coming, really scared the hell out of me, it was so Da-Vinci code. But as the video continued, it turned out to something more lighted hearted and rather silly. As nonsensical as it seemed, it reflected something in everyday social behavior: herd behavior. In the video, the villages displayed a collective behavior and shared the same sentiments about the girl being a witched and she ought to be burnt. Taking this into modern day scenarios, we see the herd behavior in protests, riots, demonstrations and persecution. The herd mentality often pays little attention to logical reasoning, causing people to act recklessly and absurdly, kinda like the little boys in Lord of the Flies.

    Radio clip: An orchestrated coax that resulted in mass hysteria, an incredible experiment. It only proves that the power of the media has great impact on people, psychologically.It is interesting to know how our mind plays tricks on us, triggered by what we see and hear through the media. The people who heard the War of the World radio broadcast back then,were all thrown into frenzy, fooled by what they heard over the radio. We are not far from then, as we are all victims of the mass media.

  58. 1) This scene from Monty Python starts of on a spooky, serious note where we see hooded men hitting themselves with a bible! But once the villagers appear, and they bring the apparently discovered witch, this serious scene turns into a entertaining comedy.
    I think we see quite a few fallacies in this video. To name a few; like, ad hominen (or attacking the person) y constantly calling the lady a witch. Or the fallacy of social proof (following what everyone says and use the behavior of others) as seen that when once says burn the witch, all of them agree and shout the same. There is also the use of modus ponens, where we see just because she floats like wood and weighs like a duck we can conclude that she is a witch. Monty here is demonstrating how deductive reasoning is not always right. Just because wood burns like a witch and floats like a duck does not mean she is a witch. The conclusion that “if she weighs as much as a duck, she is a witch, therefore, is entirely false. Hence we see that the situation back then and now is not much different. It is also sad to see that the use of these fallacies still exists in today’s societies.
    2) The second was a radio broadcast of the war of the worlds. This was an enactment, a dramatization of the actual war of the worlds and what was weird, is that it was mentioned only once about the dramatization of the broadcast. It shows the impact and power of media and its immediate effect on people. It is this media, which can make or break a society and as seen here…even though it wasn’t a real event, it caused panic and anxiety among people.

  59. The video clip we saw illustrated how to misuse common logical sense. We can come to conclusions pretty easily, but the step by step process of it must be studied thoroughly in order to make sure we dont deviate from the issue. Its similar to a mathematical problem because in algebric equations there is a process which we can use repeatedly to arrive at the correct answer. However, if you miss one number somewhere, your answer would be completely different. There fore i feel that while they were on the right path they were using all the wrong numbers.

    The radio clip would have worried me as well had i been around at the time. This reflects the power of the media, and its complete control over us, especailly today. The war agaisnt terrorism is similar to the problem people faced when they tuned into the radio show. They were blindly believing what they heard. The media today paints a different picture to what is a horrifying reality to human kind around the globe. CNN could create hysteria this second by fabricating a story , but because it comes from a credible source we will beleive it.

  60. First, the good things about the video. It was interesting in that the video showed how people used deductive reasoning to figure out whether or not the woman was a witch. For example, when the peasants were being asked questions by Berevond.

    However, even though the logic of the people seemed right to them, it is not right to me. To judge a person based on the weight of a duck is simply ridiculous. From the beginning of the video, the peasants were already sure that she was a witch. By asking them questions, the process of killing her was only prolonged. Although the questions were asked to try and prove that she may not be a witch, in the end, the lady was still killed.

    In short, although the measurement used was wrong, the result was still what the peasants wanted. In my opinion, it is obvious that the peasants had already judged her and their method was just to justify the ends – a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

  61. in the case of the Monty Python clip, through the various comments on misleaded logic, syllogisms and what nots, people fail to see that it is simple FEAR that drives us into believing what we see and hear.

    people fear what they don’t know enough about. anything that fits the description of, say in this case a witch, it is immediately singled out.

    it is fear that drives us to identify things that we don’t know to the things we see and here through, in this case, the media. so as to better defend ourselves against it.

    on the topic of the radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds”. i do agree with our over-reliance on the media. with the emergence of the various forms of media, people have looked to them for answers. this links me back to what i was saying previously, if the media says its true, it has to be true.

    as i’m writing this, the reason behind showing the 2 clips is becoming clearer. the link between the 2 more evident.

    ending note: do we really know how ghosts look like? in the begining it was supposed to look like a spectre of someone who has passed and recently, ghosts are supposed to look like “orbs” that have been captured on film in our violent search for proof.

    more realistically, the media in the US wants people to believe that third world Iraq has somehow gotten their hands on Weapons of Mass Destruction. whether its true we don’t really know, but it is true enough to give people a reason to support the US against Iraq.

    in sum, we believe what the media wants us to believe.

  62. Oops, a little late but none the less.

    Firstly, I don’t quite understand the beginning of this clip. Perhaps, it was the way the show was edited to be uploaded on youtube? I was so distracted by the beginning that i had to rewatch the clip. Thank you for the transcript though. Anyway, i don’t quite understand the chanting part. Was it to add more spookiness towards the plot-witches?

    The purpose of this clip was show how illogical reasoning can be. Most people have commented on how ignorant the crowds were and i agree with that. However, i believe Bedevere was one of the main reason why this reasoning became illogical. His role in this clip was to try and play a fair judge. Besides showing the link “And what do you burn apart from witches?”, he also accepted their points “wood”. Next, he stated, “So, why do witches burn?” If he was a logical judge, he wouldn’t have ask that question-all humans burn. Moreover, when the crowd provided a stupid answer such as “B–… ’cause they’re made of… wood?”. He actually praised them! “Good! heh heh” Which led the crowd to think that their reasoning was right. “Oh, yeah. Oh” Notice the first oh-they were surprised when he praised them and later believed that their answer was correct.

    Ignorance is a powerful tool, but perhaps the tool here is authority. The villages looked up to the knight-even so that they brought a witch forward to burn. They could have burned her at their own accord, instead they brought her forward. They listened to Bedevere’s “reasoning” and experiment before burning her. Imgaine…. if kevin was Bedevere. His authority as our lecturer, he could carry out the same illogical reasoning and we could end up burning a witch. Just imagine…

    kevin: what is a computer?
    class: microsoft
    kevin: how do we tell if microsoft is a computer?
    class: word
    kevin: ah, but doesn’t Mac have Word as well? What makes a Mac any less of a computer?
    class: steve jobs
    class: lesser users
    class: virus free
    class: niche market
    class:arty farties
    kevin: so viruses makes a computer a computer and Mac isn’t?

    Haha, that doesn’t make sense. But that’s the point, the power of authority can make logical people think illogically.

    Moving on, the radio clip. I’ve watched War of the worlds, therefore i was trying to imagine myself stuck in such a situation. If i was living at that time, i believe i would have thought it was the end of the world. The dark sky, lighting flashes, chaos, the roads opening up to reveal an ipod(oops sorry, wrong movie)-to reveal an alien. I would have believed it. As you mentioned, there were no other sources to check if the war of worlds was indeed happening, word of mouth was by far (and still is) the most powerful tool.

    The radio station should be blamed for causing such chaos as well, they could have started each segment of the story but informing listeners that this was part 3 of the story “War of the Worlds”. This way, listeners would not be misled. Perhaps, this was their strategy to get more listenership(if there’s such a word). I believe radio is almost similar to television, they try and gather more viewership. Their strategy was to make it sound like a real disaster. People would believe a big lie, they would not believe that someone has the audacity to create such a big lie. Maybe this was the strategy and it worked.

    You would have thought that people become smarter over the years, being able to judge the lies and the big big lies. Sadly, we still fall for it, the spams and scams. Even with multiple sources available, people are still going to believe. Perhaps, it is not just the effects that mass media has on us but also our own psychology.

  63. awfully late, but here goes.

    For all its shenanigans, Monty Python is a film of great humour and epic insanity. Sheer brilliance in its very own form; much like Borat in many ways. Classic.

    The clip is an unequaled example of how gullible we are and how influential the media is especially in our decision making process. It is undeniable the media is indubitably powerful, almost influencing every decision we make and possibly even messing with our judgements especially when presented with ‘facts’. In the video, it depicted how an authoritative figure could have just as much power as the media over its audience. It certainly reminds of Marxist rhetoric to scientific observations to religious doctrines.

    The character Bedevere plays is a mimicry of the role of media presented to us in today’s context. Last but not least, it also shows how someone or something who is of higher authority is able to have a greater influence on those of lower authority just like in Monty Python–The Witch Scene. As such, the media has unfortunately become very successful in making us believe what they wanted us to.

    And that’s the media for you.

  64. Tharavathi Sithi

    The video clip on Monty Python and the radio broadcast of the “War of the Worlds” illustrate one simple point-that the whole process of thinking takes time and effort, and, time is something we lack and the effort put into thinking has become more of a chore than a necessity.

    The characters in Monty Python who were accusing the girl of being a witch seemed very agitated when Bedevere started to question their thinking process which they had used to come to such a conclusion. As the scene progresses, you are able to see how simplistic and basic the thinking of the accusers were. Very much like in real life, people hate to question and hate to be questioned.

    This very weakness has enabled many perpetrators to make money and become influential in society, through the many channels of media. For years now, we have developed a very bad habit of leaving the “thinking” to others. When we consume information from media, we let people like researchers and boards like the censorship boards to do the thinking for us and let them tell us what is good information and what is not. This could have very serious consequences on our thought process which in turn causes to react the ways that we do.

  65. Think about making life changes immediately should you ever hope to see complete improvement without the use of medication.

  66. Hey everyone! Checking in from the deep blue sea 🙂 Home tomorrow! Anyone miss me? lol

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