Sunday, August 14, 2016
There are days when it can take us two hours to watch an hour long television program. We use it to talk about history, politics, science and so many other subjects. Some of our very best home education moments have come from programs like "Belle," "The Book Of Negros," and "Dancing On the Edge. "
Even programs like "Leverage" warrant extensive conversations, for example, "that is such an implausible plot device because it is technically impossible!” We get into the physics and mechanics of how a diamond can actually cut glass. We often stop and look it up in the internet. We come away from the program even more enriched.
Recently, we watched "Hair." It was awesome to cover an aspect of modern history we don't usually discuss. Vietnam, The Cold War, McCarthyism. We went all over the late 20th Century historical map. Then we took “Hair” and we contrasted it with “Across The Universe.” We examined rugs and drug culture and Reaganism. And somehow, we spiraled back to the Black Panther Party, self-determination, addiction as the oppressor’s tool …and a whole lot more than I can type up here.
The same happened when we watched "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." We talked about the evolution of gay rights. We discussed how the historically lovable Frankenfurter was problematic in the modern era because, essentially, he is a villian. We discussed how dated the movie is in regards to evolving consciousness about bodily autonomy, sexual assault and societal norms which promote dishonesty in sexual communication and how that contributes to rape. We talked about a lot more...but...I can't even begin to type it up.
We enjoy watching television this way. We enjoy taking in media critically and consciously. We find ourselves in the most fascinating discussions about race, gender, class and sexuality stereotypes. We identify the tropes of oppression. We get deep. It entertains us, yes, but, it also a tool we use.
Watching "The Get Down" on Netflix, I became very sad. Why is it that every damn good movie with Black people is rated TV MA? Seriously, they would have had a much better product without the graphic violence. Shoot...if they switched out violence for sex, I'd have let The Win watch it. I don't have a problem with sex. I do have a problem with violence.
In this household, sex is an opportunity for honesty. It is communicated as spiritual, physical and emotional experience. In our world, sexual experiences are often compromised by Patriarchy, White Supremacy and Homophobia and Classism. A majority of consensual sexual mistakes can be corrected with medicine. But, a majority of violent actions have no remedies.
This is why I am sad to not be able to include The Win in watching The Get Down. This could have been one of the most exciting and dynamic additions to recent conversations we've been having which examine the late 20th Century. Lately, so much of our history has been focused upon "Within my lifetime, son" or "You share breath with people who can still tell you more about that first hand.” The elders used to sing, "the children are our future teach them well and let them lead the way.
Yes, sometimes the grown folks need some time by themselves. But, never at the expense of of children.
Regardless, this is incredible television. Hide your sons, hide your daughters and get down with the grown folks.