Up Front by Emma Hart

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

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  • B Jones,

    Any prole can pick up a book and read it - it takes socialisation among the better sorts to hear a name pronounced correctly :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    there were 5 extra stanzas from the Fairy Queen that I hadn't considered in my answer & which changed the context considerably.

    Andrew, do we have exactly the same degree?

    it turned out that she was the only person in the room who'd actually read him

    Ah, but did she read him in the original Pretentious Wanker?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    I miss essays..I got an A+ for one on South Park's Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo, on the condition the lecturer was allowed to keep a copy for entertainment purposes.

    And I got an A for one on American Psycho, because the lecturer was too squeamish to read the book and had to take my word for it that my analysis was sound.

    In the course of my BA and MA, I think I wrote about 6-8 exam answers on The Piano, and the same on Heavenly Creatures. The ideal source of default answers to all your exam question needs...

    Lecturers. So much more fun than clients...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    about a woman snubbed at a party for not knowing how to pronounce "Camus"

    That must have made her feel like an outsider or even a stranger. (lolz!!!!)

    Speaking of books called The Outsider/s, when I was in the 4th form we had a choice of two books and film adaptions to review: SE Hinton's "The Outsiders" or Barry Hines' "A Kestrel for a Knave" (filmed as "Kes"). All the cool kids were reading The Outsiders, so I picked that but found it to be dull and vapid, so I switched to Kes and was much happier with the tales of grim northernness.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Andrew, do we have exactly the same degree?

    Did you get that Fairy Queen question too? English 101 probably hasn't changed since... thinks what was the most contemporary piece... 1929 (The Man WHo Died - DH Lawrence)

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    That must have made her feel like an outsider or even a stranger. (lolz!!!!)

    I have to confess here that all I know about Camus is how to pronounce his name. Oh, and that he was one of the Watchmen.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Are they studying Clueless at university yet? I'd forgotten how cool some of the lines are.

    <quote>Cher: Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there's no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value.

    Murray: Woman, lend me fi' dollas.
    Dionne: Murray, I have asked you repeatedly not to call me "woman".
    Murray: Excuse me, "Ms. Dionne."
    Dionne: Thank you.
    Murray: Okay, but, street slang is an increasingly valid form of expression. Most of the feminine pronouns do have mocking, but not necessarily in misogynistic undertones.

    Cher: Daddy's a litigator. Those are the scariest kind of lawyer. Even Lucy, our maid, is terrified of him. And daddy's so good he gets $500 an hour to fight with people. But he fights with me for free because I'm his daughter.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Oh... last one.

    Cher: It's like that book I read in the 9th grade that said "'tis a far far better thing doing stuff for other people."

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Anyone worried about teenagers studying "dark" texts hasn't hung around that many teenagers lately

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I ended up presenting my Camus essay at one of the Philosophy Department MA student meetings. My talk was entitled "A Cow Camus, Can You?"

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Things I wrote about in my English scholarship exam included*:

    I got there to discover that the kids from Boys' High had boned up on five different books for the exam and seemed to have been in a dedicated scholarship class for half the year.

    So I wrote about Catch 22, which I'd read for my own enjoyment, and several books that I hadn't read at all, including, as I recall, The Naked and the Dead.

    It didn't matter so much (I'd just been offered my start in journalism), but I pulled a 49, which was quite pleasing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    I don't recall English Scholarship (46 was the score.. and I think Bleak House featured)

    But I do recall the mock-School Cert English exam when I answered the movie question referencing the Goonies*. We had watched some show about young guys cycling (don't remember what it was called, but it definitely wasn't dark).

    My teacher's exasperated written comment "Do a film we have studied!"

    My response, then as now "Why?"

    Surely the point of learning English is so that we can apply it to other texts, beyond those set. How do the examiners know that students have studied them in class, rather than taking their learning to the wider world?

    *That said, to this day I have not seen Goonies, and answered the question based on the incomplete set of bubblegum cards my sister had been given by someone.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    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.

    Indeed, and I'd already studied it at the tender age of fifteen. The lack of scarring for life among my classmates was just astounding, let me tell you.

    In fact, the most complaints I ever heard along that score were about Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar", which I lucked out of but various classmates didn't. The general opinion was that it was just really bloody depressing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Did you get that Fairy Queen question too? English 101 probably hasn't changed since... thinks what was the most contemporary piece... 1929 (The Man WHo Died - DH Lawrence)

    Ah, Faerie Queen was ENGL 2-whatever Ren Drama was. 101 I can't remember the poetry but the novels were Heart of Darkness and Margaret Atwood's Surfacing. The ENGL unifems said this was sexist.

    The weirdest uni essay question I ever got was at 300 level, and resulted in me writing an essay comparing the symbollic roles of the crema al mascarpone in Amadeus and the fan in Lady Windermere's Fan.

    and several books that I hadn't read at all

    Hmph, I thought that was uni-only as well. I was a bit slow to realise you didn't have to read all the books.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    In fact, the most complaints I ever heard along that score were about Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar"

    Really! It has been a long while since I read that but I remember being pretty disturbed by it. In fact, I think it is actually the most disturbing thing I have ever read. I survived Cioran only to get floored by Sylvia Plath, maybe it is a girl thing.....

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Belt,

    My 6th form required reading included A Long Hot Summer... nothing prepares you for life and a decent tertiary education like NZ small town necrophilia at age 16.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    Why is the Bell Jar disturbing but Hamlet isn't? Or is it? When you get to my age you forget what being disturbed is. I DO remember finding Faust disturbing when I did German.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

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

    And soon it will be a movie. So all those who can’t be bothered reading all those pesky words in the comic book can just watch it instead.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Cher: Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there's no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value.

    That's a pretty awesome line, I must say.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    When you get to my age you forget what being disturbed is.

    I thought I might have become disturb-proof in my thirties, having written some pretty squicky things. So I reread The Wasp Factory. You can tell people who've read that by how they react to the phrase 'the bit with the baby'.

    Which is still well disturbing.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I read The Wasp Factory once. That was enough.

    The photo of him (Iain Banks) on the cover shows an angst-ridden young man, very intense. By the time you get to later books, like Whit, there's a much more relaxed shot of a genial, laughing man.

    I still think his best book is The Crow Road, mostly because the lead character is a dead ringer for my younger brother. Or possibly Dr Tibby.

    And I could never get into Iain M Banks' work.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    various parts of Moulin Rouge made me want to stab someone with Nicole Kidman's clavicle.

    Please do elaborate, Danielle..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    I'd be hard pressed to choose between Wasp Factory and Crow Road. I feel Walking on Glass was under rated. (By 'under rated' I mostly mean my friends didn't like it, even if they like other Bank's books, while I quite liked it.)

    The Wasp Factory would make a great movie, if done right. I recall Iain Banks said he thought it may be too dated now, as a film version has been held up by rights issues or somesuch, but I don't know... given its setting and themes (isolation etc) I don't see being past it use by date for cinema.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    When I did ENGL 101 they taught Surfacing as an anti-abortion text (with apparently no other themes in the entire work). It took me several years before I was able to pick up anything by Ms Atwood without wincing a little.

    In fifth form we studied Bub Bridger who never did a thing for me so I did Hone Tuwhare for the exam.

    Also does anyone know what the point of making kids write short stories under exam conditions was? I can remember several tests (and I think there was a section in school c) where you had to sit and write creatively on a given topic which seemed to be completely the opposite of how the creative process usually works really.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Please do elaborate, Danielle...

    Oh Sacha. Are you sure you want to start me down this road? ;)

    I wish to stress that I *love* musicals. There is nothing more delightful to me than someone on a soundstage bursting into a tune or doing some nifty dance. (Tap shoes are a bonus.) However, I can't abide too many cuts in musical numbers. I hate not being able to see what's going on - I am of the Fred Astaire school and I am *not* ready for a closeup, Mr DeMille. MR was cutcutcutcutcut and it pissed me off. I felt as though Luhrmann was artificially manufacturing the excitement generated by wonderful musical numbers where none really existed.

    Plus I think Nicole Kidman's character was poorly written, weirdly acted, and she generally made me uncomfortable (maybe she was meant to?). Even within the confines of that TB-courtesan-absinthe-drinking world, I didn't believe in her.

    Generally, the whole film seemed totally overwrought, but I remained utterly unmoved. It was pretty-looking, melodramatic... and empty. And I liked the first two in the trilogy quite a lot, and there was all that 'he's revitalised the musical!' talk, and I was rather looking forward to it. So... meh.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

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