Feb. 7th, 2010 08:23 pm
muchabstracted: (trickster)
I enjoyed Avatar. The world, Pandora, was beautiful, and watching it in IMAX 3D was worth the price of admission all by itself. It doesn't hurt that the religion on Pandora was the sort I love to bask in: everything living has energy and is sacred, taken seriously, and seen with wonder. (Which is to say those of you do not share those tendencies towards that kind of thinking will probably roll your eyes a lot at those aspects of the movie; but it is very very pretty to watch while they are espousing these beliefs, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.)

Wherein there are many spoilers )

I spent the entire movie waiting for the Evil Technology Money People to destroy the lives of the Noble Savage Forest People. When that conflict actually happened, instead of cringing with annoyance at the trope or with anger at the villains, I found myself thinking about my clients' often antagonistic relationships with classmates or partners. We grow up hearing, "It takes two to fight." But, you know? That's not always the case. Sometimes, if one side is sufficiently determined or powerful, the other side doesn't have a choice. They can only capitulate or fight back.
muchabstracted: (trickster)
As promised (months ago), notes from Maria Tatar's talk from Harvard Book Store.

Notes behind the cut. Be warned, I kept copious notes. )


Maria also spent time answering questions. This was my favorite:

Q: With the kind of immigration we have now, are there children's stories around migration, displacement, immigration, or refugees? [The man asking the question tells us he is an Indian (not Native American) who grew up on stories of colonialism.]
A: “Literature makes immigrants of us all. A child setting out in stories is often imperialist, master of all they survey.”
Q [greatly paraphrased]: No, really. Are there stories SPECIFICALLY for immigrants?
A [even more paraphrased]: Oh. Um. Not that I know of. But there’s always a shock effect; they can still use these stories to think about how to navigate the real world.

I can write out my notes from the rest of the question/answer session as well, if anyone is interested; but I found it less interesting than the talk, and I feel this is as much of an information dump as one LJ entry can handle.
muchabstracted: (Default)
I'm reading Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Video Games by Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson, a book about the ongoing controversy over violent video games. I'm enjoying it; they're actually dealing with the issue sensibly and thoughtfully, and are taking the concerns seriously without falling prey to the sloppy thinking of most of my colleagues. (You can guess what most of my colleagues think. I admit I am, personally, a little leery of my young clients playing Grand Theft Auto, for the same reasons.)

My current favorite quote, which is discussing The Great Train Robbery, a 1903 landmark movie:

The brief plot contains multiple murders, including throwing a body off a train; shooting a fleeing passenger in the back; several robberies; an attack on a telegraph operator and the subsequent discovery of his tied and beaten body by his young daughter; the dynamiting of a safe; and a square-dancing posse that sneaks up on and kills the thieves. (The square-dancing scene, which is interrupted by the injured telegrapher who'd been untied by his daughter, is apparently the writer's way of letting us know that the vigilantes who will eventually hunt down and mercilessly shoot the killer are just ordinary folk.)

FYI, if you are interested, Current Magazine is putting out a special inauguration issue. It has the inauguration speeches of a number of important past presidents and photos of them. There are also contemporary articles about them, written around the time each president became inaugurated. It is currently 20% off, or $8. Comment if you want me to e-mail you the order form.


muchabstracted: (Default)

September 2010



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