Ginger Pop: Victory Begins at Home

This post first appeared last March. As I am burned out after a weekend of workshops, I’m a lazy reposter today. My apologies, folks. I’ll be back with something sparkly and fresh in two weeks. XO, Amber

One of the major themes I find in writings and workshops geared toward teachers these days revolves around interfacing with the current technology coddled generation. Certainly this could be a worthwhile topic (in moderation), but one of the problems is that these approaches are usually intended for a specific audience: Boomers. (If I had a day off each time one of these things reminds me that the current generation wasn’t alive for the Kennedy assassination, I’d be due a five-year sabbatical.) Last year I attended something similar, although that speaker was a bit broader in his presumptions; he assumed that everyone in the crowd was either a Boomer or Xer. Being neither myself, I was thankful someone managed to ask: What about those of us who are too young to be Xers and too old to be Millennial?

We are, apparently, so forgotten that we are simply Unlabled. Disheartening, no? The speaker did, however, make some interesting points for us nameless mutts who have been left to raise ourselves.

We actually have more in common with the Greatest Generation—we expect our students to show up, do their work, and not make excuses. Frequently we use phrases like “When I was in school,” which is apparently the equivalent of “When I was a kid.” The unlabeled student may not have had to walk to school uphill in the snow both ways, but we had to turn in an essay with malaria and leprosy in a monsoon.

Another element I share with the Greatest Generation is that I am suspicious and reluctant when it comes to technology. I am the seemingly last to buy a new phone, camera, or computer. Gadgets, particularly those that are not linked to survival and necessity, repel me. My lovely husband bought me a Nook and I was like, “Where is my book, you Witch Box?” People frequently argue that I need a GPS because I am so directionally challenged; I stick with my maps and hand-scrawled guides to the point of folly. So it is not surprising that even though I teach most of my coursework through technology, I am decidedly old school when it comes to two topics: literature and film. I like pages and I love the silver screen. (No, I don’t want to know where I can download/view/pirate the latest releases.)

In that vein, I live to see movies in the theater. From the previews (not the stupid commercials) to the credits (someone’s kid worked really hard to be in that list), I am in, 100%. There is something about the darkened world movie theater provides that calls to me. Perhaps it is because for two hours, no matter our thoughts on anything else in the world, I can share a human experience with strangers where we laugh and cry for the same cause.

However, being an Unlabeled Generation member, I am suspicious and annoyed by technology. In this case, I am specifically referring to 3D. When I heard James Cameron was doing a 3D movie, I am pretty sure I rolled my eyes. It seemed like a gimmick to me. Roughly four years later, it still does.

Movies in 3D belong in theme parks and 1950s movies. To quote Christian Bale, It’s hot, dark and sweaty and it gives me a headache.” He, of course, was referring to the bat suit, but the same thing applies. The hot and sweaty might just be because I live in Texas, but more likely it is because they jack the already ridiculous prices up even more. For some glasses. That they make you return. (I keep mine out of principle.) And it most certainly gives me a headache. It might be because I already have to wear glasses and wearing another pair on top of those is like wearing goggles over my glasses to drive.

The thing is, this would all be worth it if the movies were that mind-blowing in 3D. Unfortunately, they just aren’t. I have yet to see one that is really worth all this 3D hype. Moreover, I resent the supposition that suddenly I want to see everything in 3D. I actually groan when a trailer ends with “in 3D!” Kids movies, by the way, are the biggest waste. My daughter takes her glasses off about 10 minutes into the movie.

So here’s an idea: how about we make good movies that rely on strong acting, beautiful cinematography, and good old-fashioned story telling rather than theme park novelty? By all means dazzle me with the visuals, but keep in mind that many of the most aesthetically captivating films of all time use creativity and limited special effects to augment not replace storytelling. These movies still exist out there today, lots of them. And I can promise no one needs glasses for those.