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Friday, March 22, 2013

Thank you, Mrs. Landingham

This is a teacher's blog, so it's natural to write about what I teach. In mass media, there's much I've seen and not seen, so it sometimes feels like I live in a foggy watchtower or lighthouse, able to see some but painfully aware of all I cannot see. 

Age and experience makes for high criteria for judging good media. One compares one project to another, sometimes validly, sometimes not. Is a film as heart-breaking as The Wizard of Oz? Does it change the way one thinks like The Smartest Guys in the Room or All The President's Men? Does the play resonate with your own history and experience like La Casa de Bernarda Alba or the film, Callejon de Milagros? 

It is a joy to see new technologies applied to story-telling-- think of Skyfall, the latest 007 film. Yet, story-telling can fall short of its twin-sister, production values and the result is unbalanced work that becomes more common than it should.

West Wing's episode about a pivotal moment in the President's thinking not only met my criterion for a balance between production values and story-telling, it surpassed it.

Like many, I watch TV on Netflix, on my own time and without ads. Like everyone, I watched it the other way for long enough to figure I've seen enough TV with ads, if the business model is crumbling, hell,  I did my part to encourage and save it. Last night's episode made me wince with pain, cringe in sorrow and stand up with a tall spine with my hands in my pockets to face my own challenges. Mrs. Landinham's words should be heard by everyone "having a bit of a day".