Sunday, September 24, 2006

Home is for self expression, not good impressions.

"Home is for self expression, not good impressions."

So says the mother in the 2006 re-make of the film "Yours, Mine and Ours."

I like this comment. Home is where we get to be and to explore - we don't have to try to make a good impression on others. We are ourselves - learning and growing, yes, but ourselves.

Anthony's current exploration at home has been triggered by the movie "Troy."

{ Aside - it is too funny to see how much of our learning is inspired by movies! }

"Troy" is not super movie and it is not historically correct and you may have to FF through some scenes. It, was, however interesting to watch.

Anthony , since watchng "Troy", has been reading re-tellings of "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" by Barbara Leonie Pickard. We have all been discussing Greek myths and legends.

All learning, all tastes of learning and of life, all our expressions and explorations at home are valid learning experiences.

It all counts.

This is not, by the way, a postmodern view that "anything goes" or that all perspectives are societal constructions or even "only" culturally relative.

It is a view of learning as one thing leading to another. It is a support of both pop culture and "high" culture.

I have seen this one thing leading to another in my own home - my sons can read Garfield comics and Shakespeare stories in one day. Can enjoy Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Good Charlotte.

James Paul Gee, in "What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy", discusses a canonical list of books which one must read . He discusses learning and video games and "high" and "low" culture.

Gee writes - Right wingers and left wingers who argue over the canon ( of books) tend to act as if people...will read books realizing and accepting their "inferior station" and either want to emulate their "betters"..or passively accept their inferiority as dupes of the elites in the society.... The Mary Smiths of this world need do no such thing. They already know that they are thinking, worthy beings. They sometimes see in canonical literature examples of who and what they could be ....

But schools have, by and large, tamed the canon ( of books). They have made it into the stuff of tests, of multiple-choice answers, and standardized responses. Everyone, now, finally has access to the canon at a time when schools have rendered it toothless and the left applauds ignoring it as a historical vestige of old, dead, western, aristocratic elites......

I am not pleading for the canon here, least of all, as a list...I am claiming that elites can use anything - canonical literature, the Bible, biology or any other sort of text - to attempt to dupe people by trying to force them to read it in the elite's way. I am claiming, as well, that there are plenty of Mary Smiths who are more than capable of saying 'No, thank you' and reading it both their way and intelligently.

Video games are a new form of art. They will not repace books; they will sit beside them, interact with them, and change them and their role in society in various ways , as, indeed, they are already doing strongly with movies...We have no idea yet how people 'read' video games or what meaning they make from them. Still less do we know how they will 'read' them in the future. It won't do to start this investigation by assuming they are dupes of capitalist marketers - though, of course, some of them very likely will be. But there will always be Mary Smiths out there who use cultural products, whether 'high' or 'low', for good purposes.

The self expression and exploration of learning in our house tends to be such a mix of high or low cultural products. An eclectic mix . A learning mix. Hopefully for good purposes.

From "Troy" to "The Illiad".

No comments: