Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Outside the Zone

At the weekend, we watched the film, 'Social Network'. I had no expectations of it. None. I put it on, partly expecting to return to reading my book. In fact, I found it very engaging. The story was about the rise and rise of Facebook and its founders and the subsequent law suits brought against the central pillock.
The strength of the film for me was that you could understand every point of view, you could see how they got there, how relationships get shipwrecked. How ideas morph and how people don't see that happening.

I've been mulling over a couple of things. On Monday, one of my friends, and someone whose thoughts I'm normally in line with, said that every woman likes a bad boy. Even leaving aside the sexual aspect of that statement, my first thought was, And upon deeper reflection, I still feel, er....NO. And not even in a dominatrix way. No, no, no. So why do I not feel even vaguely drawn to the bad boys?

I wondered if it were because I have three sons (the eldest pictured above at the front of 'the classroom of the future'). My friend has daughters. But that explanation didn't ring true to me.
So maybe it's because, as a secondary school teacher, everything I had to do and achieve in my job, was continually being sabotaged by bad boys.
The girls who were bad tended to either blow up quickly and so could be dealt with, or not turn up. The boys who were badly behaved had a much more far-reaching impact. Their destruction was like a constant jackhammer thudding away, and a thudding which was rewarded by the girls and women who 'liked the bad boys'.
I just can't be doing with them, just cannot be arsed. Give me the intelligent, thoughtful ones any day.

The other thing on my mind is the edge between comfort zones and standards. In my department at Mayhem, there were people who could not be moved outside of their comfort zones. Now this was quite a feat, to be honest. The government had an entire department monitoring and disseminating all recent research in every area of education. It was like having a large dog standing behind you the whole time, biting your bum if you even started to get complacent. It was challenging, but edifying. And it was that pushing beyond the comfort zone that allowed standards to rise. Ironically, my comfort-zone clinging colleagues, would always claim that they were just trying to keep up standards.
So now why, when I see examples of the dumbing down of the language, do I think that standards are slipping, rather than that I'm scared of stepping out of my comfort zone and embracing them? Here's an example. At the U.S. border, there is a correct sign for 'oversized vehicles'. When we return to Canada, we see an incorrect one for 'oversize vehicles'.
I have heard people describe something as 'cliché' rather than clichéd, the first is a noun, the second an adjective.

My answer is that keeping up standards is really not very comfortable. I have to personally step outside of my comfort zone every time I challenge the dumbing down.

Another film we watched at the weekend, because recommended by Sleepy, was 'The Last Hangman'. Provocative. A film that takes you well out of your comfort zone not just for the subject matter, but because it is so exceptionally well acted. I swear that Juliet Stevenson can sometimes suggest an entire internal conversation by a slight movement of one eyelid. But as with the book, 'The Hangman's Daughter', the hangman does his job as well as he possibly can, never taking the fact that his job is taking lives for granted, and always, always, Timothy Spall shows us a man so far outside of his comfort zone that he has to mentally and emotionally ringfence it and never visit it until the next time. And the next time, and every time, he strives to be the human face of inhumanity.


Sleepy said...

I'm delighted you enjoyed the film!
It stuck with me for a long time.

Schneewittchen said...

It really was thought-provoking, which is something I need in a film. It made hanging seem like much the most humane way of public execution if you are going to have public execution.
Also, so private compared with TV shows where the storyline has an execution in the States, and people all sit in a little room and watch.

Sleepy said...

It caused much discussion in The Mansions and made me totally rethink my views on the death penalty.