I remember being in elementary school and praying for the teacher to be out sick or too tired to deal with us – anything that might result in a sacred hour and a half of staring at that small fuzzy TV they’d roll in from class room to class room on such occasions.
It was the very same TV that illustrated a journey through your digestive system on the “Magic School Bus” back in fourth grade, and then two years later solicited giggles and “Ews” from the the long awaited “You’re becoming a Woman!” video. “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” with Kevin Kline and Christian Bale, Civil War documentaries, Awkward Spanish videos from the 80’s that followed along with your outdated textbook.
The same thing happened in CCD, videos of bible stories or illustrated tales of modern day morality where all of a sudden at the point of decision making we get a freeze framed: “What should Johnny do now? …What would Jesus do?!”
The CPR class I took last weekend was predominantly taught by a television.
When Fuller discussed alternative viewing styles and filmic modification of the early part of the 20th century, I found the concept strange, for alternative uses for film are both abundant and widely accepted in today’s society. What is different however, is that alternative film no longer seeks to usurp mainstream cinema in either value or prominence, and has settled nicely into it’s various niches, both educational and moral.
When I was younger, the in class movie was a chance to turn off my head, a chance to draw hearts on my Lisa Frank notebook and daydream about more important things, like what being a teenager felt like. Now, with weekly screenings filling up my Tuesday and Thursday nights for the past four years, I take a far different and more active approach. These are not the teachers of fifth grade looking to quiet a rowdy group of East Coast hoodlums, nor is it the rigid CCD teacher I disagreed with on nearly every modern day social political issue – with choice came better alternative viewing, an active participation with film that I’d never had before.