Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Do The Right Thing, Again

I was disappointed to find that when I start teaching something my love for it tends to wane.

Of Mice and Men didn't seem as heartwarming once I had to read 30 papers about it's heartwarmingness.

Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice wasn't as caustic once I had to hear daily class debates about how caustic he was.

It's not a complaint about students, just about my failure to elicit complex responses.

So I was worried when I decided to teach film study through Do the Right Thing. I didn't really want to ruin my love of that movie.

Another 30 papers will come in tomorrow with analyses regarding how cinematic devices reflect the philosophies of Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr. And I'm loving Do The Right Thing more with each passing class period.

The angles used on Radio Raheem and Da Mayor subtle support the struggle for power by force rather than through mindless oration.

The color coded costuming of the violent Pino in White and the peaceful Vito in Black enhances non-violent philosophies while turning older stereotypes of "wearing the black hat" on it's ear.

The diagetic laughter while the camera zooms in on Italian Wall of Fame pictures enflames the dormant white philosophy of superiority on the black masses.

The five close-ups of hate followed by Senor Love Daddy's close-up tirade for love uses a change in motion to accentuate the merits of action and peaceful action at that for positive social change.

The vague conclusion of Radio Raheem's LOVE V. HATE soliloquy foreshadows the eventual conclusion of the film, but the lighting on each knuckle continues the long running device of Hate in darkness and love in light.

These are all impressively logical interpretations of this film. And they are all developed by 17 year old kids who had never thought about these philosophies or cinematic devices until three weeks ago.

I've never thought of half of these things, and I'm geeking out over the movie even more.

I love my job.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Upsets and Blowouts

Gunhhhuh? What...uh...I, wait, what?

Why's my beard so long? What's that nasty odor? Why am I writing stream of consciousness on a blog?

Is that the last time this site was updated? July 1st...well...oh, today's the second...oh...of September you say?

Well that would explain the beard and odor at least.

I'm sorry, I just woke up from a two month long nap, and I'm just trying to get readjusted.

I suppose it's worth looking at the news of life in the sporting world since I've been asleep.
Oh, cripes, the Tour De France sucks again.
Oh, well, Barry Bonds did what we all knew he was going to do.

Oh, hell, the Yankees are winning again. Vick does what?!?!?

This is awful, this is disgusting, this whole thing just makes me want to remove ESPN from my favorites and wash my hands of all the cheating, sadistic, multi-millionaires and their petty problems.

Oh...wait...Appalachian State did what?


In Ann Arbor?


I love sports.

A team that, granted, is probably the Ohio State of Division IAA football, just beat Michigan, which is the Michigan of Division IA football. I know that the Mountaineers are responsible for a great deal of moaning and groaning in Montana, particularly around Missoula where the moans and groans are bested only by the sounds of the String Cheese Incident being blared from dorm rooms day and night.

But still.

Appalachian State beat Michigan.

That's pretty friggin sweet.

And what's this I see? Oh, of course Man U's back in business, and Beckham's injured again, but if you look closely you'll see something far cooler. That Iraq won the Asian Football Cup. That qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, the one that everyone in the soccer world adn their mom dismissed, have started up and are going swimmingly. Or as swimmingly as they can when it involves Vanuatu and American Samoa (For the record, American Samoa, 15:0? The U.s. finally starts to get it's soccer act together and you lose 15:0 to Tonga? Bush is going to invade you...or he would if he could find you on a map...or if I could find you on a map...I'm sorry American Samoa, you can come back now).

There's something special about this. Not so much the gambling or the steroids or the puppy pulverizing, not even the fact that two countries 99% of the world couldn't find on a map are playing for the right to have the right to play for half of a right to play for a spot in the World Cup. But the fact that far from the glare that most people care about, from the popping flashbulbs that chronicle how Barry's head grows each day, or how Michael's goatee seems flecked with spittle, or how Alex's wife wears her t-shirts, there are people playing because that's what they do. They just play. Not because they have a whole lot of chance to make millions professionally, not because they have any real hope of playing in the most prestigious tournament on the planet, but just because, it's a game, and it's fun.

So here's to you Julian Rauch, you and your wobbly 24 yard kick.

And here's to you Armanti Edwards, you and your 3 Touchdown catches.

And here's to you Corey Lynch, not as cooly named, but just as vital to the field goal blocking glory that is yours.

And here's to you Roy Krishna and your Fijian side that's looking to share half a column with ijay Singh.

And here's to Viliamu Seifiku of Tuvalu, who's 87th minute goal earned the team that isn't even recognized by FIFA a draw with comparative heavyweights Tahiti, more or less knocking the Tahitians and Axel Williams (who, you've got to admit, would probably be cooler to hang out with than Axel Rose: Dissolute 80's hair rocker V.s. Tahitian football player...go with the Tahitian). To you Viliamu! To you for taking the 16:0 drubbing from Roy Krishna and coming back with your side's only goal of qualifying!

I'm going back to sleep for two months...and despite all the inanities that are doubtless to follow, I'll keep coming back to meet the new Julians, Armantis, Coreys Roys and Viliamus Seifikus...hell I'll even come back for the Axels, they're far more worth cheering than the multimillionaires.

They are me.

They are you.

They just play.

And they play well.


Okay, maybe they aren't quite me.