Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: A Word From the Ministry for Learning People Things

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  • Lucy Stewart,

    Things I wrote about in my English scholarship exam included*: the Baz Luhrman Red Curtains trilogy, and a defence of fanfiction citing the Aeneid and Terry Pratchett. And somehow, I still passed. Funny, contradictory people, those markers.

    However, I really couldn't help boggling at the assertion that showing an R16 movie to sixth and seventh-formers was inappropriate. Do the people making these comments even understand a) how old sixth and seventh-formers generally are and b) what the ratings system *means*?

    *and a whole lot of Shakespeare, admittedly, but only because I like Shakespeare.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I've seen Mission Impossible credibly described in terms of the Oedipus myth (Cruise scores Jim Phelps' (his father surrogate) wife).

    You could possibly do justice to the Matrix films if you related it to advertising sunglasses...

    And I spurned the Grapes of Wrath & wrote about The Saint in Miami in a 5th form exam (mock). I got an A & threats of violence should I try a stunt like that in the real one. I finished the Grapes of Wrath.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    However, I really couldn't help boggling at the assertion that showing an R16 movie to sixth and seventh-formers was inappropriate.

    Indeed. And then they fretted about students watching R18 movies for NCEA, but couldn't cite one. Okay, there might be some 15 year olds doing NCEA level one who also did the Shawshank Redemption (R16), and didn't have parental permission. But to object to the nasty? When we used to describe high school English set texts as 'literature to slit your wrists to'?

    And no mention that they don't have a rating system for books. If I were doing NCEA this year, looking back on my personality at 16/17, I'd be tempted to write on Toy Story and The Wasp Factory.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    First strip show I ever saw was Othello and the dear Desdemona changing infront of us, greasy youth.

    Nothing quite like quoting Homer in an essay at Uni, Homer Simpson that is. Pure joy.

    Andrew there were never threats of violence at my school. Canning might have been outlawed but tennis balls were always handy - not Dunedin either.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Nothing quite like quoting Homer in an essay at Uni, Homer Simpson that is. Pure joy.

    And I quoted Groucho in an exam (2nd stage english lit) that wanted Timon of Athens described in terms of Marx. "Love flies out the door when money comes innuendo".

    Passed too, somehow.

    Andrew there were never threats of violence at my school. Canning might have been outlawed but tennis balls were always handy - not Dunedin either.

    This was more the (what's the female equivalent of "avuncular?") friendly warning from the well meaning teacher sort of thing. Although she wasn't to be messed with.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Yeah, I managed to get a Simpsons quote into most of my essays. Not that that's much of a feat -- like the Bible, there's a Simpsons quote for everything.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And I quoted Groucho in an exam (2nd stage english lit) that wanted Timon of Athens described in terms of Marx. "Love flies out the door when money comes innuendo".

    Anything less than an A+ for that would have been an insult.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And I quoted Groucho in an exam (2nd stage english lit) that wanted Timon of Athens described in terms of Marx.

    Good grief. What's next, Titus Andronicus in terms of the Mad Butcher?

    On reading my first draft essay on Julius Caeser for Honours, my lecturer asked me if I had a 'thing' for Marlon Brando. I did some rewrites.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    what's the female equivalent of "avuncular?"

    Avauntular? Or would that be too literal?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3665 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Avauntular?

    Priceless.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Anything less than an A+ for that would have been an insult.

    Consider me very insulted then. But hey, a pass is a pass, especially when I had sat up all night reading 3 of the 5 shakespearian plays that were going to be examined...

    Good grief. What's next, Titus Andronicus in terms of the Mad Butcher?

    Well the question was "Marx called "Timon of Athens" a searing indictment of capitalism. Discuss".

    Luckily Groucho's quip fit the play perfectly.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Things I wrote about in my English scholarship exam included*: the Baz Luhrman Red Curtains trilogy

    Including, one presumes, that glorification of guns, getting stoned while in really bad drag, statutory rape and teen suicide known as... Romeo and Juliet? William Shakespeare is such an emo pervert, but thankfully "too difficult" for the poor lambs.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12073 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Nothing quite like quoting Homer in an essay at Uni, Homer Simpson that is. Pure joy.

    Very, very sadly, the Simpsons did not exist when I was actually studying Homer... or perhaps it's just as well, classics tutors are probably well over Homer Simpson quotations in essays on the Iliad.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Now I have The Seige of Troy McClure in my mind.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    the Baz Luhrman Red Curtains trilogy

    Oooh! Oooh! I've got an essay title for that one: 'How to Make the Same Film Over and Over Again: A Study in the Law of Diminishing Returns'. </snerk>

    (I'm a bit mean to Baz Luhrmann, admittedly. He is talented, but various parts of Moulin Rouge made me want to stab someone with Nicole Kidman's clavicle.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3665 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Good grief alright. When I sat School C (which I think is now NCEA level one), I turned 15 that year. Our texts were an SE Hinton's That Was Then, This Is Now, which I mainly remember as being about bad trips on LSD, a Witi Ihimaera short story Big Brother, Little Sister about some kids that ran away from their violent home in Newtown with the intent of catching the train to their Nan's, and another called On the Sidewalk Bleeding about a guy dying from stab wounds. The film was The Makutu on Mrs Jones, ie witchcraft. I also remember some off-curriculum conversations about the book Once Were Warriors.

    Of course it's heady stuff, that's how you get people's attention. If you're lucky you can squeeze in a few ideas about imagery and themes and character development at the same time.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 819 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    As a (soon to retire oh joy) English teacher I was speechless when I read the SST article on texts. It's from an examiner's report that came out ages ago. I've been an examiner and I know where they're coming from but honestly, what's NOT dark about Lord of the Flies and Othello and Macbeth - the texts they like!!?? Macbeth's head is on a stake at the end, for goodness sake. I don't think that happens in Shawshank.

    One of the short stories we do in year 11 was on the naughty list so I did a big long rationale for studying it and told my kids today how they had to go out there and prove the examiners wrong.

    We discussed the epiphany at the end. They're not terribly academic kids but one of them said there was an epiphany in the Simpsons so I'm off to Google that for tomorrow.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Homer Simpson: Okay, epiphany, epiphany... oh I know! Bananas are an excellent source of potassium!
    [gets slapped]
    Homer Simpson: Ow! Uh, America will never embrace soccer.
    [gets slapped]
    Homer Simpson: More than two shakes and it's playing with yourself?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Billy Elliot? WTF? I'm pleased we got to see a better class of movie than that (Cuckoo's nest, Zefirelli's R&J -- both only after studying the other version mind).

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 691 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I also got an A+ for my 20th Century French Philosophy essay that extensively referenced Alan Moore's "Watchmen". Now "Watchmen" - there's literature.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I also got an A+ for my 20th Century French Philosophy essay that extensively referenced Alan Moore's "Watchmen". Now "Watchmen" - there's literature.

    I'm intrigued - how do you work The Watchmen into French Philosophy?

    And somehow this exchange from Clueless came to mind during this thread:

    Heather: It's just like Hamlet said, "To thine own self be true."
    Cher: Hamlet didn't say that.
    Heather: I think I remember Hamlet accurately.
    Cher: Well, I remember Mel Gibson accurately, and he didn't say that. That Polonius guy did.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Hah, I see the two short stories we studied were on the "less successful answers" list. Must have fluked that A1, then.

    I remember struggling with the literature questions in the mock English exams, until someone pointed out to me that "write paragraphs on x in your short story" meant at least 200 words. It was an epiphany.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 819 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    It was an epiphany.

    Kind of like (not) when with 5 minutes to go I confidently looked back over my questions & answers & discovered that one page was duplex printed & there were 5 extra stanzas from the Fairy Queen that I hadn't considered in my answer & which changed the context considerably.

    Actually, that was a nearly crap myself moment.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I'm intrigued - how do you work The Watchmen into French Philosophy?

    The essay was on Camus' notion of the Absurd - the sequence where Rorshach's psychiatrist contemplates his own inkblot test and comes to the realisation that it's just a blob of ink with no meaning other than what we give it is a textbook example of someone confronting the Absurd. Made for a great example.

    For a snake-worshipping, bearded madman, Mr. Moore certainly knows his shit.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    The essay was on Camus' notion of the Absurd

    Actually, that reminds me of another Clueless-like non-sequitur, probably something I read in the Listener years ago - about a woman snubbed at a party for not knowing how to pronounce "Camus", but it turned out that she was the only person in the room who'd actually read him (even if the others did know how to pronounce it).

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

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